What You Should Know About House Plans and Design Copyrights

All plans are protected by The United States Copyright Act. Reproduction of these plans, either in whole or in part, including any form of copying, distribution, dissemination, preparation, of derivative works therefrom, 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 dwelling unit. 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 $150,000 plus attorney fees, damages and loss of profits.

Home Plans are Copyrighted

Just like books, movies, and songs, federal copyright law protects the intellectual property of architects and home designers by giving copyright protection to home plans and designs. The copyright law prevents anyone from reproducing, modifying or reusing the plans or design without written permission from the copyright owner.

Don't Copy Designs or Floor Plans from Any Publication, Electronic Media, or Existing Home

It is illegal to create construction drawings from home designs found in any plan book, CD-ROM or on the internet. It is a common misunderstanding that it is permissible to copy, adapt or change a floor plan or design found in any media. It is not. It is also illegal to copy a constructed home that is protected by copyright, even if you have never seen the plan for the home. If a particular home plan is desired, a set of plans must be purchased from an authorized source.

Plans and Blueprints Cannot be Copied or Reproduced

Plans and blueprints cannot be copied. If additional sets are required, please contact us to purchase additional sets (within thirty (30) days of original purchase) at a nominal cost. Printers are prohibited from making copies of these plans.

Don't Redraw Blueprints Without Permission

Plans may not be redrawn or modified without first obtaining the copyright owner's written permission. With your purchase of plans, you are permitted to make non-structural changes by "red-lining" the purchased plans. "Redlined" plans are still copyrighted and cannot be copied. If you need to make major changes or need to have the plans redrawn for any reason you may contact our office for modification services.

Modified Designs Cannot be Reused

If you make modifications to a copyrighted design, the modified design is not free from the original designer's copyright. This is considered derivative work. The sale or reuse of the modified design is prohibited. Also, any modification to the plan relieves the designer from liability for design defects and voids all warranties expressed or implied.

Who is Responsible for Copyright Infringement?

Any party who participates in copyright violation may be responsible, including the purchaser, designers, architects, engineers, drafters, homeowners, builders, contractors, subcontractors, printers, developers and real estate agencies. It does not matter whether the individual knows that a violation is being committed. Remember: ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. Refuse to be a party to any illegal copying or use of designs, derivative works, prints or design features, by being certain of the original plan source.

Please Respect the Designers Copyrights

In the event of a suspected violation of a copyright, or if there is any uncertainty about the plans purchased, the publisher, designer or Council of Publishing Home Designers should be contacted before proceeding. Rewards are sometimes offered for information about the home design copyright infringement.

Penalties for Infringement

Penalties for violating copyright may be severe. The responsible parties are required to pay actual damages caused by the infringement (which may be substantial), plus any profits made by the infringer. The copyright law also allows for recovery of statutory damages, which may be as high as $150,000 for each infringement. Finally, the infringer may be required to pay legal fees, which often exceed the damages.