The Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe (case reference: 6 U 72/12 of 3 June 2013) recently confirmed
that domestic premises, such as an apartment building, can attract the
copyright protection under German law.
|The plan of this rather German-looking|
The claimant in the case was a company that planned the apartment building shown above to the right. It sued a third party for an alleged copyright infringement through an unauthorized exploitation of their architectural plans.
In its decision the court confirmed that domestic premises can attract copyright protection, provided the building in question 'stands out' when compared to the majority of buildings. The necessary level of intellectual creation was reached where the building was characterised by its proportions or its size, its integration into the surrounding plot or surrounding buildings, by the ‘consistent implementation of a motive’ or the structure of individual components such as the façade or roof. Architectural designs, however, that were solely dictated by their intended use did not qualify. In this case, the court found that the necessary level of creativity had not been reached and thus rejected the claim.
>The above case has been unusually widely reported in Germany (see here, here and here). In the UK, the question as to when buildings attract copyright protection is currently only slightly different (please do correct me) with architectural works also being protected as literary works (design drawings and the plans) as well as artistic works (building and the model of the building), provided they are 'original', which is usually the stumbling block.
A trip down memory lane: Our house - in the middle of our street (this Kat is an eighties child...)