Post-print of: Adrian, A 2008, 'Architecture and copyright: a quick survey of the law', Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, vol. 3, no. 8, pp. 524-529.
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Legal context Architecture has a special place within the law of copyright. The law does not restrict the development of architectural ideas and concepts; it does, however, prevent the copying of plans.
Key points The test is whether the plan or building was a copy of the concept or style and therefore legitimate or a copy of the author's original manifestations of that concept or style and therefore an infringement. Another interesting aspect of architectural works is that they usually take the form of a professional commission.
Practical significance The copyright owner can grant a licence either explicitly or implicitly to a third party to reproduce his work. Architects tend to be reluctant to assign their copyright, preferring to license it. If an architect is retained without a written agreement or on an agreement which does not expressly address copyright, a licence is implied. It would be difficult to give an agreement between an architect and his client commercial efficacy if the client was not entitled to use the architect's designs.