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

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926 Architectural Works

926 Architectural Works

The Copyright Act protects “architectural works.” 17 U.S.C. § 102 (A) (8). As discussed in Section 903.2, the statute defines an architectural work as “the design of a building as embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings.” 17 U.S.C. § 101. An architectural work “includes the overall form as well as the arrangement and composition of spaces and elements in the design, but does not include individual standard features.” Id. Architectural works do not have to be constructed to be eligible for copyright protection.

The U.S. Copyright Office will register an architectural work if it is sufficiently original and if it has been embodied in a tangible medium of expression, such as a constructed building or architectural plans or drawings. 37 C.F.R. § 202.11 (C).

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