House Plans Copyright Law

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT COPYRIGHTS

1. Home Plans Are Copyrighted
Just like books, songs and movies, federal law protects the intellectual property of architects and home designers by giving copyright protections to home plans and designs. These protections exist as soon as the designer puts the home design on paper (or computer) and prevent anyone from using the design without the designer's permission.

2. Don't Use Plans To Build More Than One House
All home plans sold include a copyright release or license for their use. This right is normally extended to cover the construction of a single dwelling. This is an exclusive license whereby the blueprints cannot be used or resold to any other person or copied in any way without prior consent of the designer.

3. Reproducing Blueprints
Purchased construction blueprints are copyrighted documents and may not be reproduced without prior consent of the designer. If additional sets are required for estimating or construction, contact the source you purchased the plans from to obtain additional copies at a nominal cost. Copy shops and blueprinters are prohibited from making copies of copyrighted documents.

House plans in the form of blueprints or blacklines cannot be redrawn. Plans cannot be modified or redrawn without first obtaining the copyright owner's permission. With your purchase of blueprints/ blacklines, you are licensed to make non-structural changes by "red-lining" the purchased plans. If you need to make structural changes or need to redraw the plans, you must purchase a reproducible set of plans which includes a license to modify plans. Blueprints/ blacklines do not come with a license to make structural changes or to redraw the plans

4. The Copyright And Reproducible Home Plans
With the purchase of reproducibles, a copyright release or license is also provided with the sale. The purchaser is generally allowed to make up to a maximum of 12 copies for the construction of a single dwelling only. For any extended use, and to avoid any copyright/license infringement, an additional release must be obtained from the original designer.

5. Making Design Decisions
The plan purchaser may customize the design to suit personal preferences and accepts the full responsibility and liability for house plan changes. However, it is critical to understand that the original designer still retains the copyright to such changes or derivative work unless specifically licensed. The revised design may not be resold.

6. Do Not Copy Plans Or Existing Homes
Home plans are purchased and received in many ways. Magazine publishers strive to be sure the designs they offer are fully copyrighted by professional architects and home designers.
Designs developed directly with designers should be handled with full knowledge that the designs rendered are the intellectual property of said designer and that the quality of their work can be verified.
It is illegal to copy home designs found in a plan book to avoid having to pay for the plans, even if modifications are made to the copied plans. It is also illegal to copy an existing home that is protected by copyright even if one has never seen the plans for the home. If a particular home plan or an existing home is desired, a set of plans must be purchased from an authorized source.

7. Using The Home Plans
The plan purchaser may loan the home plans to third parties only as is necessary to assist in the construction of the dwelling involved. All such loaned plans must be retrieved and destroyed, except for the owner's reference set, after such assistance has been completed.

8. Who Is Responsible For Infringment?
All parties including designers, draftsmen, owners, builders, copy shops and blueprinters may be responsible if a copyright is violated. It does not matter if they knew what they were doing was a violation or not.
To avoid litigation, it is critical that one be certain of the original plan source and refuse to be party to any illicit copying or borrowing of designs and design features.

9. Respect Home Design Copyrights
In the event of any suspected violation of the copyright as outlined above, or if there is any uncertainty about the plans purchased, the plan provider should be contacted before proceeding.

If a violation of a home designer's copyright is suspected, the designer should be contacted. If you discover a copyright violation of a Design Evolutions house plan, please contact us by calling the number listed at the bottom of this page.

10. Penalties For Infringement
Penalties for violating a copyright may be very severe. The responsible parties are required to pay the designer's actual damages (which may be substantial) plus any profits made. The copyright law also allows the designer to recover statutory damages which can be as high as $100,000. Finally, the infringer can be required to pay the designer's reasonable attorney fees which often exceed the damages.

Important Copyright Notice
All home plans sold through out this publication are protected by copyright. Reproduction of these home plans, either in whole or in part, including any form of copying and/or preparation of derivative works thereof, for any reason without prior written permission, is strictly prohibited. The purchase of a set of home plans in no way transfers any copyright or other ownership interest in it to the buyer except for a limited license to use that set of home plans for the construction of one, and only one, dwelling unit. The purchase of additional sets of that home plan at a reduced price from the original set or as part of a multiple set package does not convey to the buyer a license to construct more than one dwelling.

Similarly, the purchase of reproducible home plans (vellums) carries the same copyright protection as mentioned above. It is generally allowed to make up to a maximum of 12 copies for the construction of a single dwelling only. To use any plans more than once, and to avoid any copyright/license infringement, it is necessary to contact the plans designer to receive a release and license for any extended usage. Whereas a purchaser of reproducibles is granted a license to make copies, it should be noted that as copyrighted material, making photocopies from blueprints is illegal.

Copyright and licensing of home plans for construction exists to protect all parties. It respects and supports the intellectual property of the original architect or designer.

Copyright law has been reinforced over the past few years. Willful infringement could cause settlements for statutory damages up to $100,000 plus attorney's fees, damages and loss of profits.