Can a “Useful Article” Be Copyrighted? | Astronomy and Law

Of Batmobiles and Copyrights

The U.S. Copyright Office provides the following example: A carving on the back of a chair or a floral relief design on silver flatware can be protected by copyright, but the design of the chair or the flatware itself cannot, even though it may be aesthetically pleasing.

Copyright in a work that portrays a useful article only extends to the artistic expression of the author of the pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work. It does not extend to the design of the article that is portrayed. This means that while a dress design can be copyrighted, that does not give the artist the exclusive right to make dresses of the same design.

via Can a “Useful Article” Be Copyrighted? | Astronomy and Law.

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