Browse Previous | Browse Next

Title 37: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
Subchapter A—Copyright Office and Procedures

§202.11   Architectural works.

(a) General. This section prescribes rules pertaining to the registration of architectural works.

(b) Definitions.

(1) For the purposes of this section, the term building means humanly habitable structures that are 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.

(2) Unless otherwise specified, all other terms have the meanings set forth in §§202.3 and 202.20.

(c) Registration

(1) Original design. In general, an original design of a building embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings, may be registered as an architectural work.

(2) Publication. Publication of an architectural work occurs when underlying plans or drawings of the building or other copies of the building design are distributed or made available to the general public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. Construction of a building does not itself constitute publication for purposes of registration, unless multiple copies are constructed.

(3) Registration limited to one architectural work. For published and unpublished architectural works, an application may cover only one architectural work. Multiple architectural works may not be registered using one application. For works such as tract housing, one house model constitutes one work, including all accompanying floor plan options, elevations, and styles that are applicable to that particular model. Where dual copyright claims exist in technical drawings and the architectural work depicted in the drawings, any claims with respect to the technical drawings and architectural work must be registered separately.

(4) Online application.

(i) The applicant must complete and submit the Standard Application. The application should identify the title of the building. If the architectural work was embodied in unpublished plans or drawings on or before December 1, 1990, and if the building was constructed before January 1, 2003, the application should also provide the date that the construction was completed.

(ii) In an exceptional case, the Copyright Office may waive the online filing requirement set forth in paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section, subject to such conditions as the Associate Register and Director of the Office of Registration Policy and Practice may impose on the applicant.

(5) Deposit requirements.

(i) For designs of constructed or unconstructed buildings, the applicant must submit one complete copy in visually perceptible form of the most finished form of an architectural drawing showing the overall form of the building (i.e., exterior elevations of the building when viewed from the front, rear, and sides), and any interior arrangements of spaces and/or design elements in which copyright is claimed (i.e., walls or other permanent structures that divide the interior into separate rooms and spaces). The deposit should disclose the name(s) of the architect(s) and draftsperson(s) and the building site, if known. For designs of constructed buildings, the applicant also must submit identifying material in the form of photographs complying with §202.21, which clearly show several exterior and interior views of the architectural work being registered.

(ii) The deposit may be submitted in any form that allows the Copyright Office to access, perceive, and examine the entire copyrightable content of the work being registered, including by uploading the complete copy and identifying material in an acceptable file format to the Office's electronic registration system. Deposits uploaded to the electronic registration system will be considered solely for the purpose of registration under section 408 of title 17 of the United States Code, and will not satisfy the mandatory deposit requirement under section 407 of title 17 of the United States Code.

(d) Works excluded. The following structures, features, or works cannot be registered:

(1) Structures other than buildings. Structures other than buildings, such as bridges, cloverleafs, dams, walkways, tents, recreational vehicles, mobile homes, and boats.

(2) Standard features. Standard configurations of spaces, and individual standard features, such as windows, doors, and other staple building components.

(3) Pre-December 1, 1990 building designs

(i) Published building designs. The designs of buildings where the plans or drawings of the building were published before December 1, 1990, or the buildings were constructed or otherwise published before December 1, 1990.

(ii) Unpublished building designs. The designs of buildings that were unconstructed and embodied in unpublished plans or drawings on December 1, 1990, and remained unconstructed on December 31, 2002.

[57 FR 45310, Oct. 1, 1992, as amended at 68 FR 38630, June 30, 2003; 84 FR 16785, Apr. 23, 2019]

Source: GPO Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) (
Data current as of May 6, 2021