On February 5, 2024, the Bolstering Intellectual Rights against Digital Infringement Enhancement Act (H.R. 7228), known as the BIRDIE Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives. The BIRDIE Act proposes an expansion of Title 17 of the United States Code to extend the copyright protection provided to architectural works to golf courses.

An “architectural work” is presently defined in 17 U.S.C. 101 as “the design of a building as embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings. The work includes the overall form as well as the arrangement and composition of spaces and elements in the design, but does not include individual standard features.” The BIRDIE Act proposes amending the definition of “architectural work” by striking “drawings” and inserting “drawings, and the design of a course on which golf is played (except for any course on which mini golf, or other similar game is played) as embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including an architectural plan or drawing.” Moreover, the BIRDIE Act also proposes expanding the term “features” to include landscaping, an irrigation system, a path, a golf green, a tee, a facility in which golf is practiced, a bunker, a lake, and/or a topographic feature.

The BIRDIE Act would apply to works created on or after December 1, 1990 and works that were unconstructed and embodied in unpublished plans or drawings on December 1, 1990. For the avoidance of doubt, the BIRDIE Act is a bill and not yet law.

The text of H.R. 7228 can be accessed here.