Un/Fair Use: Copying and Copyright in Architecture

Join us for the opening of “Un/Fair Use” on 09.18.15 at the Center for Architecture.

Copying is as much part of architecture as the expectation of novelty. Architecture advances via comment, criticism, parody, and innovation, forms of appropriation that fall under the umbrella of fair use, a loophole in copyright law to safeguard culture from monopoly. But what happens when appropriation is deemed unfair? Where and how are the lines drawn around permissible use? Un/Fair Use probes that legal boundary, illuminating the strange constellation of protections provided by the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act of 1990 (AWCPA).

Un/Fair Use presents models of common, and therefore uncopyrightable, architectural tropes and formal themes next to those protected under the AWCPA. Video interviews with key players in the development of the 1990 architectural copyright language – Bill Patry, Michael Graves, Karen Nichols, David Daileda, and Jane C. Ginsburg – provide a first-hand account of the legal and legislative questions answered en route to resolution.

While here, you can also take a look to admire our recently-renovated spaces!