Blueprint Copyright Law
What you should know about Home Plan Design Copyrights
HOME PLANS ARE PROTECTED UNDER THE FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAWS!
Just like books, movies, and songs, home plans receive protection under the federal copyright laws. The copyright laws prevent anyone, other than the copyright owner, from reproducing, modifying, or reusing the houseplans or home design without permission of the copyright owner.
IT IS ILLEGAL TO COPY DESIGNS OR FLOOR PLANS FROM ANY PUBLICATION, ELECTRONIC MEDIA OR EXISTING HOME
It is illegal to copy home designs found in a house plan book, CD-ROM or on the Internet. It is a common misunderstanding that making changes to or redrawing a plan found in a plan book is permissible. It is not. The right to modify plans is one of the exclusive rights of copyright. It is also illegal to copy or redraw a constructed home that is protected by copyright, even if you have never seen the building plans for the home. If you find a home plan that you like, you must purchase a set of plans from an authorized source.
YOU CANNOT USE HOUSE PLANS TO BUILD A HOME MORE THAN ONCE
The original purchaser of house plans is typically licensed to build a single home from the plans. Building more than one home from the plans without permission is an infringement of the home designer's copyright. Unless otherwise specified, you should assume that construction sets typically include 6 to 10 plan sets. The purchase of a multiple set package of plans is for the construction of a single home only. The purchase of additional sets of plans does not give you the right to construct more than one home. A few select designers will allow multiple builds on a single license and here are the House Plans that qualify for an Unlimited Builds License.
HOUSE PLANS IN THE FORM OF BLUEPRINTS OR BLACKLINES CANNOT BE COPIED OR REPRODUCED
Plans, home blueprints or blackline drawings cannot be copied or reproduced without prior written consent of the copyright owner. If additional sets are required for estimating or construction, please contact the home designer for additional sets at a nominal cost. Copy shops and blueprinters are prohibited from making copies of these plans.
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 homeplans, 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 for any reason, you must purchase a reproducible set of plans which includes a license to modify the plans. Blueprints do not come with a license to make structural changes or to redraw the plans. You may not reuse or sell the modified home design.
Reproducible plans (for example sepias, Mylarís, CAD files, electronic files and vellums) come with a license to make modifications to the plans. Once modified, the plans can be taken to a local copy shop or blueprinter to make up to 10 copies of the house plans to use in the construction of a single home. Only one home can be constructed from any single purchased set of reproducible plans either in original form or as modified.† We have provided a list of house plans with CAD files.
REMEMBER THAT MODIFIED DESIGNS CANNOT BE REUSED
Even if you are licensed to make modifications to a copyrighted design, the modified design is not free from the original designer's copyright. The sale or reuse of the modified design is prohibited. Also, be aware that any house plan modifications relieves the designer from reliability for design defects and voids all warranties expressed or implied.
WHO IS HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR A COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT?
Any party who participates in a copyright violation may be responsible including the purchaser, designers, architects, engineers, drafters, homeowners, builders, contractors, sub-contractors, copy shops, blueprinters developers, and real estate agencies. It does not matter whether or not the individual knows that a violation is being committed. You've heard it before: Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense! Refuse to be a party to any illicit copying or use of designs, derivative works, prints, design features, or homes.
PLEASE RESPECT HOME DESIGN COPYRIGHT
In the event of any suspected violation of a copyright, or if there is any uncertainty about the home building plans you have purchased, the publisher, architect, designer or the Council of Publishing Home Designers should be contacted before proceeding. Awards are sometimes offered for information about home design copyright infringement.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT?
Penalties for violating a 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 commissions to include all profits and from the sale of any home built from an infringing design. The copyright law also allows for the recovery of statutory damages, which may be as high as $150,000.00 for each infringement. Finally, the infringer may be required to pay legal fees which often exceed the damages.