Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Copyright Law - Second Circuit - Is A Picture Of A House The Same Thing As A House?

Architectural Works, Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act, Pictorial Works, Copyright Infringement

Scholz Design, Inc. v. Sard Custom Homes, LLC, 691 F.3d 182 (2d Cir. 2012). 
Scholz Design, Inc. Springvalley A Design
 The district court dismissed a claim for copyright infringement based on copying of architectural drawings created in 1988 and 1989 pursuant to a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  The district court reasoned that because the drawings contained insufficient detail from which to construct a building and because the drawings pre-dated the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act (“AWCPA”), the drawings were unprotected by copyright.  The Second Circuit reversed, finding that the drawings were original pictorial works subject to copyright and had been exactly copied and published on Defendants’ website.  Because the claim was not based on protections granted by the AWCPA but on protections in the Copyright Act generally covering pictorial works, the plaintiff had stated a valid claim.

To read Judges Leval, Sack, and Hall's decision, click here.
 Copyright law, fine art and navigating the courts. All practice, no theory.Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters Westlaw 2012-2013) by Raymond J. Dowd
 Copyright Litigation Handbook on Westlaw

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