In the past, obtaining a copyright registration for architectural works was a long and annoying process. Designers would have to submit physical plans and paper applications to secure the rights to their design. In the digital age, these requirements became even more of a burden.
Fortunately, the US Copyright Office has adjusted its requirements to make filing for architectural works a lot easier. The new rules went into effect on May 23, 2019.
What Is Now Accepted by the US Copyright Office?
The US Copyright Office no longer prefers drawings or physical photographs of architectural works. Digital depictions of the work are just fine. In fact, any paper applications submitted after May 23 will not be accepted.
As long as architects or designers abide by the following rules, their digital submissions will be accepted:
The submission must be a drawing or blueprint.
- The submission must show every aspect that will have a copyright.
- The examiners should be able to “access, perceive, and examine” the work.
The US Copyright Office also prefers that the “deposit disclose the name(s) of the architect(s) and draftsperson(s) and the building site.”
Clarifications on the Date of Construction Requirement
Do you need to put the date of construction on your application?
- The work was “embodied in unpublished plans or drawings on or before December 1, 1990” or
- construction was completed before January 1, 2003.
Otherwise, you do not have to add the date of construction to the application.
If the building has not been built yet, you simply need to mention this fact in the application.