United States Code/Title 17/Chapter 1/Section 120

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From the U.S. Copyright Office.: Added by the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act (Pub. L. No. 101-650, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5133): for effect, see Amendment history.

73698United States CodeTitle 17, Chapter 1, § 120. Scope of exclusive rights in architectural worksthe United States Government
§ 120—Scope of exclusive rights in architectural works

(a) Pictorial Representations Permitted.


The copyright in an architectural work that has been constructed does not include the right to prevent the making, distributing, or public display of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the work, if the building in which the work is embodied is located in or ordinarily visible from a public place.

(b) Alterations to and Destruction of Buildings.


Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(2), the owners of a building embodying an architectural work may, without the consent of the author or copyright owner of the architectural work, make or authorize the making of alterations to such building, and destroy or authorize the destruction of such building.

Amendment history


Section 120 was added by § 704 of the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act (Pub. L. 101-650, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5133);

  • The effective date provision of the Act states that its amendments apply to any work created on or after the date it was enacted, which was December 1, 1990. It also states that the amendments apply to “any architectural work that, on [December 1, 1990], is unconstructed and embodied in unpublished plans or drawings, except that protection for such architectural work under title 17, United States Code, by virtue of the amendments made by [the Act], shall terminate on December 31, 2002, unless the work is constructed by that date."