Architectural Work Of Architecture Despite Receiving Copyright Protection

1235 Words Apr 27th, 2015 null Page
For much of the late 1800’s and 1900’s, Architects in the United States have designed some of the most celebrated work of architecture despite receiving copyright protection far more limited than their “finer” art counterparts. Neither the Copyright Act of 1909 (“1909 Act”), nor the Copyright Act of 1975 (“1975 Act”), mentioned architectural works. Despite this silence, over time, blueprints and models were considered copyrightable under recognized categories of copyright protection (i.e. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works). Nevertheless, there was no formal recognition of architectural works and no protection for a constructed building due to the useful article exception. Effectively, this protection only prevented actual copying of the blueprints or models; it did little to protect the unauthorized use of the blueprints to construct a building. Only ornamental aspects that were conceptually distinct and separate from a building would be protected by circumventing the useful article exception. Thus, an architectural work that was completely ornamental, such as a the acclaimed Gateway Arch in St. Louis, may be afforded full copyright protection, whereas Max Abramovitz’s Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Building, despite being similarly acclaimed for its artistic merit and the originality as the first two-sided building, would receive little, if any, protection under the 1909 Act or 1975 Act.
All of this changed in 1990 when Congress formally recognized…

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