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#1 Rick Kingsbury

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 08:37 AM

I have a situation where a past client "sold" a plan of mine (along with a different lot) to another individual.

It clearly states on the title block that I own the copyright.

He has contacted me & wants to make some revisions so it will fit on the new lot.

Am I within my rights to charge the current owner for use of the plan?

 



#2 Jon Davis

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 08:39 AM

I would say yes absolutely. 



#3 Kevin Rabenaldt

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 09:03 AM

YES!  remind them the law is similiar to a recording artist or painter and the work is covered by copyright law.  Why would any rationale person think otherwise?  But when I have informed builders and individuals of the law they generally get mad (at first).



#4 Jason Bishop

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 09:18 AM

Yes Sir......and charge for the Revisions as well.



#5 Don Gibbons

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 09:34 AM

In a situation like that, I charge the new owner pays the same price as the old owner, changes included. It will likely take you less time to make the changes than doing the whole plan(I know it depends on the scope of the changes). Charging for the changes on top of the price of the original plan seems excessive.

 

It would be interesting to see if the old owner charged for the plan or threw it in to sweeten the deal.



#6 Rick Kingsbury

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 11:11 AM

Thanks everyone who responded. Good info!



#7 MARK PETRI

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 03:15 PM

Rick,

 

Let us know how it goes. It's not often we hear the outcome on such situations. Hopefully it ends up mutually beneficial.

 

Fortunately, where I am designs are fairly customized to sloping lots and snow loads so they cannot just be reused on other sites.


Mark Petri

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#8 Rick Kingsbury

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 03:50 PM

As luck would have it one of the owners did not inform me that he had partnered with one of the former partners, so I guess I will just do the revisions and try to be happy about it.

It does mot seem right, but maybe down the road I will reap some benefits by taking the high road.

Part of the cost of doing business I guess.

Onward and upward!


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#9 Rick Kingsbury

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 03:52 PM

Mark,

I do most of my plans in the Black Hills of South Dakota so I get the sloping thing totally!



#10 Dennis Hilborn

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 05:34 PM

As luck would have it one of the owners did not inform me that he had partnered with one of the former partners, so I guess I will just do the revisions and try to be happy about it.

It does mot seem right, but maybe down the road I will reap some benefits by taking the high road.

Part of the cost of doing business I guess.

Onward and upward!

Wait a minute.  You own the copyright and they are building a second home from your plans and they only want to pay for the changes?  That's not the way I work.  I sell them the right to build ONE home per plan.  I own the copyright and EVERY sheet details that.  IF they want to build a second home using the same plan they pay a repeat fee plus revision cost.  IF they want to own the copyright I charge double my original fee and put their name on it.  Then they can build as many as they want from it.  If they don't want to pay the extra fee they can find another designer.

I caught one of my builders using my plan over and over again.  I could prove at least 7 times.  My attorney wrote him a letter and explained the copyright laws and included my invoice for 7 repeat fees and $5,000 misc. drafting charges.  After he spoke to his attorney he dropped a check off at my office on the way home.  He even apologized explaining the he "did not know about the copyright laws".   I still  had him as a customer until he retired.


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#11 Warren Ducote

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 01:11 AM

What Dennis Said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



#12 Keith Almond

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 06:00 AM

Absolutely, he owes you ...


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#13 Doug Stephenson

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 07:11 AM

Good morning.

 

This is a subject that I have never considered. I don't have such a statement on my plan sets.

My assumption was once the client made payment, it was theirs. If someone could share what they

have on their plan sets, it would be helpful. I am aware of instances of a plan (several)  where a builder builds

the same plan multiple times, and a couple of times individuals ask for revisions to a plan that I

created for another, which I did but at an inflated cost.

 

Doug Stephenson

Maplecrest Builders

mplcrst@aol.com



#14 Kevin Rabenaldt

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 08:51 AM

I guess everyone hears different things about the copyright laws concerning plan work.  We can thank the architects for the law because they did it to protect them but it applies to anyone who creates a house plan.  The designer owns the plan work (but it better be original).  You do not have to claim on your plans that it is copyrighted they are automatically protected so long as you can prove you created it.  Copyrighting your plans officially helps but is not necessary.  This was explained many years ago in an NHBA seminar about the subject.  Now I am not a lawyer so if you use the info I have stated you better check it out for yourself.  Many do not understand the law.  Just because the person pays you for the plan work, they can only build a house from it.  The way I understand, for a builder or individual to own the plan, the designer must sign away his rights to the plan.


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#15 MARK PETRI

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 01:50 PM

Not sure I totally understand the partnership thing you mentioned Rick, but I would send an invoice for the plans as is at whatever price you feel is fair. I would not do revisions until payment has been received. I am a big fan of chalking some things up to marketing and being fair with people, but do not want to be taken advantage of.

 

Would that developer/builder do the same in their business. Being they already know the costs, have built the house once (at least that you know of), have a good idea of the time and materials to construct, will they forego the profit margin on the second build and pass that savings on? Will they also not worry about any extraneous costs like liability insurance or E&O? If so, maybe they can build your house for free (just charging for a few revisions and wholesale costs of materials/labor). Builders and developers who try to shortcut and squeeze another dollar out of the other trades are not people I care to work with. It is hard to walk away from work, but sometimes it is a blessing to cut ties and not have the headaches.


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Mark Petri

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#16 Sam Morgan

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Posted Yesterday, 09:35 AM

This statement is on every sheet of my plans

 

THESE DRAWINGS AND SPECIFICATIONS SHALL REMAIN THE PROPERTY OF THE
DESIGNER AND SHALL NOT BE USED FOR ANY OTHER PROJECT(S) NOR
CONSTRUCTED ON ANY PROPERTY OTHER THAN THE ADDRESS SHOWN ABOVE 
WITHOUT THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE DESIGNER.  
 
THESE DOCUMENTS ARE NOT TO BE REPRODUCED, CHANGED IN ANY FORM OR
MANNER WHATSOEVER, NOR TO BE ASSIGNED TO ANY THIRD PARTY WITHOUT
FIRST OBTAINING THE WRITTEN PERMISSION AND CONSENT OF THE DESIGNER.
 
BY FEDERAL LAW, VIOLATIONS ARE PUNISHABLE BY FINES UP TO $150,000 PER
OFFENSE.  CALL THE DESIGNER TO OBTAIN LEGAL COPIES OF THIS PLAN.

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#17 Stephan Page

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Posted Yesterday, 10:38 AM

That's great Sam!  Would you mind if I used that wording for my plans?







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