The answer to this question is a resounding “yes!” As a matter of fact, it’s pretty important that architects talk to Florida construction attorneys about copywriting construction plans. Plans for a new dwelling are considered a “tangible medium of expression”, which is protected under U.S. copyright law. To quote the law (17 U.S.C. § 102(a)(8)), “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.”
This means that all aspects of a plan created by an architect to build a structure are covered by copyright. However, basic elements such as doors and windows that can be found in most structures are not covered. Also, construction plans are protected by copyright whether an architect files for it or not. Additionally, copyright protection only applies to documented plans, not conceptualized ones.
Why is it Important to Copyright Construction Plans?
Primarily, construction plans are your creation, why wouldn’t you want to protect it? Also, there is one real life scenario that’s important to consider when bidding for construction projects. A number of plans are submitted to owners and developers prior to the start of a project. It is quite possible than an owner may not select your company, but rather, aspects of your plan for a new construction. As an architect, you need to be able to see when this is happening and protect yourself.
While your plans are protected there is a strong reason why it’s important to go through the process of getting your plans copyrighted. In order to recover statutory damages in a copyright infringement case, you construction plans must have a copyright.
How to Copyright Construction Plans
While it is always helpful to work with a Florida construction attorney on matters regarding copyright, the process is relatively simple. You may visit www.copyright.gov and follow the instructions.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.