It’s funny, there’s an awful lot of stuff in the US code that would surprise most folks.
For example, in the world of video production, folks often talk about how there are certain buildings that are copyrighted, thus preventing their incorporation into videos. Or else folks say, “it’s a gray area” …
One gets the feeling that it’s in the best interests of the copyright holder to keep this a “gray area,” because confusion leads to capitulation.
Doesn’t seem very gray to me.
(a) Pictorial Representations Permitted.— The copyright in an architectural work that has been constructed does not include the right to prevent the making, distributing, or public display of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the work, if the building in which the work is embodied is located in or ordinarily visible from a public place.
I’m working on a more extensive post dealing with some of these issues.