Experienced Michigan Attorneys
Toll Free

Architectural Works and Copyright Protection Act of 1990

Architectural Works Protected by Copyright Law

Copyright protection can extend to drawings, sketches and blueprints, preliminary plans, elevations, floor plans, construction plans, models in rough stage, support models, pictorials or digital-generated images of a design, and constructed buildings. Designs need not be capable of construction to be protected.

For protection as an "architectural work" under 17 U.S.C. 102(a)(8) (and not a "pictorial, graphic or sculptural work" found under 17 U.S.C. 102(a)(5)), the work must be a building design. Copyright office defines buildings as "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." Items without protection are "structures other than buildings such as bridges, cloverleafs, dams, walkways, tents, recreational vehicles, mobile homes and boats."

Copyright Protection Requirements in an Architectural Design

Protection is available only for those works created on or after December 1, 1990. This means that a building cannot have been substantially completed before December 1, 1990, nor can a work have been published before that date.

To solidify your architectural plan, you should apply online for a copyright; our lawyers can assist you with that process. If you have suffered an infringement on your copyright, the copyright laws allow for damages and attorney's fees if you have registered your copyright. The lawyers at Willis Law can assist you in protecting your plans or prosecuting those who have copied your plans. Willis Law's architectural works litigators can assist you in any copyright lawsuit whether you are an architect accused of copying or who has fallen victim to someone using your plans or designs.

Contact Our Kalamazoo Construction Lawyers

Call today at (888) 461-7744 or contact our Michigan law firm online to set up a free consultation with one of our architectural copyright trial lawyers.

Michael Willis is the contributing author for this content.

Hear It From Our Clients 

The Opinions That Matter 
  • “Very professional and knowledgeable. Great to work with. Would highly recommend.”

    - Frank S.
  • “We’ve needed legal services in the past and had a great experience. The staff is kind and professional. Michael was a huge help with our trust – it’s a great deal of information and he was patient and ...”

    - Anonymous
  • “Thanks for excellent, professional service!”

    - Anonymous
  • “As first-time clients, we were treated great. All of our questions were answered, and we would definitely refer friends and return for other services.”

    - Brett & Julie B.
  • “The efficiency of the Willis staff and the kindness and respect shown by Mariko and her colleagues (Patty & everyone really) was exceptional - Thank you!”

    - Anonymous

Choosing the Right Firm Makes 
a Difference


    We are considerate to exemplify good work ethics. Our lawyers strive to actively participate and engage in your feelings or ideas.


    Willis Law adheres to a code of moral and ethical standards, is truthful in all things, and takes responsibility for our actions.


    We demonstrate compassion and consideration for others, putting your needs or desires ahead of our own to treat you the way you appreciate being treated.


    Sons of a former chief judge, Frank Willis.

Place Your Legal Concerns 
Into Our Capable Hands

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.