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Architectural Copyright Infringement

Do you feel your architectural product has been stolen or copied?

In 1976 that Congress expressly stated its intent to include "an architect's plans and drawings" in copyright laws. In 1989, the United States joined the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which required that its signatories protect completed architectural works from infringement. As a result of both this convention and a recognition by Congress that "architecture is an art form that performs a very public, societal purpose, deserving of protection under the Copyright Act", Congress passed the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act (AWCPA), which amended the Copyright Act to specifically include "architectural works" among the list of protected works in 17 U.S.C. § 102.

Copyright protection can extend to general drawings and blueprints, preliminary plans, sections, elevations, floor plans, construction plans, rough models, models of internal support, models of external appearance, photomontages of the building against backdrops, computer-generated images of a design, and constructed buildings. The designs embodied in any of these types of works need not be capable of construction to be protected.

  • CONSTRUCTING A SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR BUILDING WITHOUT PERMISSION MAY INFRINGE THE COPYRIGHT OWNER'S RIGHTS.
  • MAKING MINOR CHANGES MAY BE A COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.
  • INNOCENT INFRINGEMENT IS NOT A DEFENSE TO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.
  • THE LACK OF A COPYRIGHT NOTICE MAY NOT PREVENT A SUCCESSFUL SUIT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.
  • COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CARRIES THE RISK OF ENHANCED DAMAGES, ATTORNEYS’ FEES, AND COURT COSTS.

Should you feel this has happened to you and your work contact the McDougall LawFirm today for legal representation.

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