"An original design of a building created in any tangible medium of expression, including a constructed building or architectural plans, models, or drawings[.]"
What can be copyrighted?
"The overall form as well as the arrangement and composition of spaces and elements in the design but does not include individual standard features or design elements that are functionally required."
How long does copyright of an architectural work last?
"Protection for an architectural work created as a work made for hire [i.e., an architect working for a firm] on or after December 1, 1990, lasts for 95 years from the date of publication of the work or for 120 years from the date of creation of the work, whichever term is less.
"Protection for an architectural work created on or after December 1, 1990, by an individual (not as a work made for hire) lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years."
Law Review paper about architectural works and copyright law; discusses the conflicts between access and copyright protection, and includes history of the subject through 1990's Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act. Fully details the lawsuit between the graduate student who claimed his ideas were stolen for the Freedom Tower and the accused architect (Shine v. Childs).