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This is a collection of notes and is not intended to be definitive, or even coherent at this stage.

Buildings under construction and FOP[edit]

(2) As for that standard -- we disagree. First, I need to emphasize that I don't read Arabic, so my comments are based on USA and French law, both of which I think I understand. It is very possible that these do not apply to the UAE, but I don't think anyone has explored that. Since both a prominent Common Law country and a prominent Code country use similar rules, I suspect the UAE law is similar.

I should also say that I have read all of Commons:Deletion requests/Images of Burj Khalifa. This is not the first time it has been cited as a precedent. While much of it is ill-informed, a lot of hard work went into it, not the least of which was yours.

You say,

"Now, the next question is what is copyrighted exactly ? Any expression of a creative work that makes a building unique: the blueprints, the overall shape, the exterior cladding, etc."

A little later you assert,

"It is alleged that those pictures are subject to architecture artwork copyright. Citation needed here. The final building is copyrighted but I see no reason why every stage of its construction would be."

It is these two comments that I find problematic because the whole long argument at the BK DR is based on them. Later in the DR they are quoted as fact, yet, as far as I can tell, they are your opinion.

First, there is nothing in copyright which requires that a work be unique -- only that it not be a copy. This is a vital point. If I put a zillion monkeys to work on keyboards and one of them types out a modern best selling book, word for word, my selling it would not be a violation of copyright. The best example of this is the Phoenix Techologies’ creation of a non-infringing equivalent of the original IBM BIOS -- briefly, Phoenix gathered together a group of talented programmers who had never seen the IBM BIOS and gave them explicit instructions on exactly what the new BIOS had to do. Inevitably the limitations of very small size and strict functional requirements meant that there was substantial similarity between the IBM BIOS and the Phoenix BIOS (I have heard that it was about 90%, but I can’t document that). The resulting code was not a copyright violation and the PC took off, fueled by independent manufacturers.

Or, in the USA, very simple buildings are copyrighted. Architects routinely publish books of plans of houses and other small buildings and enforce their copyright against anyone who builds their buildings without paying their fee. There is very little that is original in any of these -- two of the plan books look very much alike -- but as long as one doesn’t copy another, it has its own copyright.

There is nothing in copyright law that requires that a work be artistic. A child’s scribbles are covered by copyright. So is any writing longer than a very few words. So I have trouble with our colleague’s frequent assertion that simple buildings are not covered by copyright. They certainly are in the USA and, I think, in France (see below).

Finally, look at the law:

Article L112-2: Sont considérés notamment comme oeuvres de l'esprit au sens du présent code:
(1) Les livres, brochures et autres écrits littéraires, artistiques et scientifiques;...
(7) Les oeuvres de dessin, de peinture, d'architecture, de sculpture, de gravure, de lithographie ;
(10) Les oeuvres des arts appliqués;...
(12) Les plans, croquis et ouvrages plastiques relatifs à la géographie, à la topographie, à l'architecture et aux sciences;... [1]
Article L112-2: The following, in particular, shall be considered works of the mind within the meaning of this Code:
(1) books, pamphlets and other literary, artistic and scientific writings;...
(7) works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving and lithography;...
(10) works of applied art;...
(12) plans, sketches and three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography, architecture and science;...

There is no “architecture artwork copyright” -- French copyright covers creations of the mind (“oeuvres de l'esprit”), including all architecture and all works relative to architecture. Not only “exterior architecture”, “unique architecture”, “artistic architecture” or “exterior architecture” -- anything that comes out of an architect’s mind is copyrighted -- interior, exterior, structural design, whatever.

The US law is similar.

I rest my case.      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 13:33, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

  • Pictogram voting comment.svg  Comment Your 24 words above are not particularly original or notable -- they are similar to many other defenses of a deletion, but, nonetheless, they have a copyright. The Russian FOP law calls out "works of architecture". There is nothing in the law that requires architectural originality -- copyright applies to "works of architecture", not "original architecture" (as long as it is not a direct copy), "beautiful architecture", "striking architecture" or any other modifier. My best example of this is that in the USA, architects sell books of plans of perfectly ordinary houses, and enforce their copyright against anyone who attempts to build one of their houses without paying their fee.      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 13:20, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
Although I don't read Korean, the requirement in every country that I have studied is not "fancy architecture", "much of an architectural work", or anything at all more than "architecture". Just as words are copyrighted even if they are not the Gettysburg Address, all architecture has a copyright, even if it is not the London Gherkin. My favorite example of this, which Pieter has no doubt seen before, is that a wide variety of USA architects sell books of plans of very ordinary houses and have no trouble collecting their fee on any use of their copyrighted plans.      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 13:08, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Maybe it will help if you think about it this way -- you certainly know that you cannot make and sell copies of a recent book or a recent painting -- the whole point of copyright is to protect the creator from copying so that he or she can make money from his or her work. It gets a little harder to understand that you cannot make a photograph of a 3D sculpture -- after all, a flat photograph is not really a copy of a sculpture, but the same rule applies, except in FOP countries. Then, even harder to understand, is the fact that a photograph of a building is an infringement on the architect's copyright, but that is the law, except in FOP countries. The FOP rules are actually fairly complex, see COM:FOP