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Copyright © - Ian Brewerton Architecture

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Copyright ©

Odds 'n Ends
The Architect owns the copyright in the design, unless it has been explicitly transferred. Usually it isn't.

Some points to consider:

The absence of a copyright mark © does not imply that there is no copyright.

If the commission is to prepare detailed drawings for the erection of a building, and all fees due have been paid, the client will have a license to use the drawings to erect the building. If the client has not paid up, carrying out the work is a breach of copyright.

If the commission was for a Feasibility Study or other preliminary scheme, the client may only be entitled to use the drawings for the purposes stated in the commission. In other words, if you appoint Architect A to prepare an outline design only, then fire her/him and appoint Architect B (or for that matter your builder on their own) to complete that design and build it, you should budget for an appearance in court to defend your breach of copyright.

In any case, if the drawings are used for other purposes (such as sales or promotion) permission will be needed and the Architect may wish to charge an additional fee. Using the drawings to build the building several times may also be a breach of copyright unless the commission was for the design to be used several times - in which case there may be a royalty agreement.

Copying the features of a building (for example, when extending it in the same style as the original) may require permission from the owner of the copyright, usually the original Architect. Planning approval does not absolve you from seeking consent, even though the planning officers sometimes ask for such copying. The owner of the copyright may charge a fee for the agreement. They may not agree, and they cannot be compelled to agree. Silence does NOT imply consent.

Copyright now lasts for 70 years from the death of the designer. Which in my case isn't expected any day soon ....

The Courts keep on re-interpreting the law. If you think you may have to deal with a copyright conflict consult your Architect and /or legal advisor.

This may appear one-sided. It isn't. An Architect's principal skill is in the design of buildings; his/her main product is design of buildings; and designs are very portable. Copying a design without permission is theft.

Copyright Ian Brewerton Architecture 2019. All rights reserved.
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