Are there copyright issues of use our own drawing of an historic building? 3 Answers as of January 31, 2011

I am thinking of using an artist’s interpretation of a local, well recognized building, but the building is a historical museum. Do we need to worry about copy-right infringements if it's our own drawing, not one of the museums? I know they request you ask permission to use any photos of theirs, but if it's our own drawing, do we still need permission? The company I work for has nothing to do with the museum in any way.

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Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
No permission is required for you to draw a picture of it. It would then be your own interpretation of the building and it would be copyrightable.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 1/31/2011
Fish & Associates, PC
Fish & Associates, PC | Robert D. Fish
A drawing of a building is a derivative work of the building, which is a derivative work of the plans for the building. If the building is old, it's very likely that there is no copyright protection for the building or its plans.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/31/2011
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
While the US provides copyright protection for architectural structures (including building) and their design and plans, the copyright runs for the life of the architect plus 50 years. Assuming the museum building is much older than that, there would be no issue with the museum. Be sure to have the artist assign or license to your company, ahead of time, his/her own copyrights in the commissioned drawing, since that drawing will not be a "work for hire", regardless of any agreement your company has with the artist.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 1/30/2011
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