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
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
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
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
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
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.