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Architecture

Architecture

“Pictorial Representations Permitted. — The copyright in an architectural work that has been constructed does not include the right to prevent the making, distributing, or public display of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the work, if the building in which the work is embodied is located in or ordinarily visible from a public place.”
17 USC, §120(a)

“Copyright protection subsists … in original works of authorship … [which] include … architectural works.”
17 USC, §102(a)(8)

“An ‘architectural work’ is the design of a building as embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings. The 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.”
17 USC, §101

“Some monuments and landmarks are not in the public domain and cannot be uploaded here, depending on their location, the artist, age, and any relevant restrictions. Check our Technical Wiki first, and then do some research online to find out if a particular landmark or monument has restrictions regarding commercial photography. When you do upload an image of a landmark or monument, include as much background information as possible.”
iStockphotos, Legal Requirements.

Does copyright protect architecture?

“Yes. Architectural works became subject to copyright protection on December 1, 1990. The copyright law defines “architectural work” as “the design of a building embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings.” Copyright protection extends to any architectural work created on or after December 1, 1990. Architectural designs embodied in buildings constructed prior to December 1, 1990, are not eligible for copyright protection.”
U.S. Copyright Office, FAQ

“Cityscapes and close-ups of generic-looking structures may be okay, depending on the situation. Unique or identifiable buildings/structures may not be acceptable as the main focus of an image, regardless of context. Museums, sporting and entertainment venues (both interior and exterior) are not acceptable without a release. As a general rule, places that charge admission fees usually require special permission and fees for commercial photography, which makes them problematic for RF licensing.”
iStockphotos, Legal Requirements.

Part 1: Copyright
1.6 Ownership:
Architecture

“An original design of a building .. is subject to copyright protection as an “architectural work” under section 102 of the Copyright Act (title 17 of the United States Code), as amended on December 1, 1990. Protection extends to the overall form as well as the arrangement and composition of spaces and elements in the design but does not include individual standard features or design elements that are functionally required.”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 41

“The term “building” means structures that are habitable by humans and intended to be both permanent and stationary, such as houses and office buildings and other permanent and stationary structures designed for human occupancy, including, but not limited to, churches, museums, gazebos, and garden pavilions.”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 41

Next: Artwork »

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