Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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918 Installation Art


918 Installation Art


The U.S. Copyright Office generally discourages applicants from using the term “installation art” in applications to register visual art works. Applicants use this term for a wide variety of artistic endeavors and it has many broad, ambiguous meanings. Because this term is unclear, the registration specialist may communicate with applicants if they describe a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work as “installation art.”


Instead, applicants should identify any copyrightable content in the work and should describe that content using terms such as “sculpture,” “painting,” “photographs,” or the like. This is true even if the overall installation itself is a registrable work of authorship. In such cases the applicant should use accepted terms to describe the work, such as “a series of sequentially and thematically related photographs interspersed with drawn and painted images to create a larger work of authorship.”


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