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

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926.3 Application Tips for Architectural Works

926.3 Application Tips for Architectural Works

To register an architectural work, the applicant must use the Standard Application. If an applicant attempts to register an architectural work using the Single Application or a paper application, the U.S. Copyright Office will refuse registration and instruct the applicant to resubmit the claim using the appropriate form. 37 C.F.R. § 202.11 (D) (4) (I).

An application may cover only one architectural work, regardless of whether the work is published or unpublished. The Office will not register multiple architectural works as a group of related works. If the applicant intends to register variations on a single plan, such as a plan for tract housing, the applicant must submit a separate application for each house model with all accompanying floor plan options, elevations, and styles that are applicable to that particular model. 37 C.F.R. § 202.11 (C) (3).

When completing the Standard Application, applicants should select “Work of the Visual Arts” from the drop down menu on the Type of Work screen. If the work has been published, the applicant should provide the date and nation of first publication in the Publication field/space. An architectural work is deemed published “when underlying plans or drawings of the building or other copies of the building design are distributed or made available to the general public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. Construction of a building does not itself constitute publication for purposes of registration, unless multiple copies are constructed.” Id. § 202.11 (C) (5).

If the work was embodied in unpublished plans or drawings on December 1, 1990, and if the architectural work was constructed before January 1, 2003, the applicant should provide the date that construction was completed in the Note to Copyright Office field. Id. § 202.11 (C) (4) (I).

To register an architectural work, applicants should check the box marked “architectural work” in the Author Created field. If an applicant submits an architectural drawing or blueprint and checks the box for “technical drawing,” the registration will cover the diagrams, illustrations, and accompanying text contained within that drawing, but it will not cover the building or other structure depicted in that drawing. For additional information concerning this issue, see Section 926.1.

For information concerning the deposit requirements for architectural works, see Chapter 1500, Section 1509.3 (D).

NOTE: In exceptional cases, the Office may waive the online filing requirement, subject to such conditions that the Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of the Office of Registration Policy and Practice may impose on the applicant. An applicant may submit a request to waive this requirement in writing. It should explain why the applicant is unable to use the Standard Application, and it should be sent to the following address:

Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Registration Policy & Practice

Registration Program

U.S. Copyright Office

101 Independence Avenue SE Washington, DC 20559

See 37 C.F.R. § 202.11 (C) (4)(ii); Simplifying Copyright Registration for Architectural Works, 83 Fed. Reg. 66,182 (Dec. 26, 2018); Architectural Works, 84 Fed. Reg. 16,784

(Apr. 23, 2019).

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