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Preliminary Drawing Ownership

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#1 Verlin Klassen

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 06:30 PM

I know this topic has been brought up in the past, but I'm not sure if exactly in this way. A lady called me today and wanted a price to do a set of drawings for her and her husband. They were working with a builder, but couldn't agree on the price to build their home. Now they are looking at getting someone else to build their home. The builder they were working with has drawn prelims for them which include floor layouts and elevations, and a simple roof picture. They are a long ways from finished drawings and I would need to redraw everything because all she has is a PDF copy.

Are there legal implications if I do this project for them? I don't know if they have paid anything for these drawings. 


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Westman Drafting


#2 Kevin Rabenaldt

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 11:12 PM

For the US, my understanding is that the one who created the drawings owns the drawings, unless, the one who created it gives written permission to use or transfers ownership by written agreement.  However, there can be other interpretations of the law given the circumstances.  Personally, I would not do anything that is brought to you from this potential client unless the builder gives written permission.  Also, once created it has ownership.  It is best to register the drawings for as soon as possible for further protection.  I am not an attorney so take what I have said with a grain of salt.

 

I have had people argue with me that they own the drawing, when in fact by law, they do not.

 

Tread carefully.  One lawsuit can ruin you.

 

Remember, it was the architects who had a big hand on how this law was revised (20+ years ago?).  They are going to protect their work but it applies to anyone who creates the drawing.



#3 Michael Collazo

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 10:21 AM

I go through this a lot. I would ask for a release from the builder. This is mostly about ethics. Making a quick buck is not worth it. If they have a deposit to cover the design, the builder should release it. If they didn't, I would not want to work with someone who is willing to work behind the builders hard work.

"When all else fails, do the opposite."


#4 Jacques Phelps

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 10:32 AM

Does this apply even if my drawings aren't copyrighted? Is it difficult to copyright drawings? Thanks in advance.



#5 Tom Rogers

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 03:13 PM

If you suspect someone of stealing your intellectual property you will need to show how you had the idea; cam up with the idea and a time frame showing such and how it is reasonable that someone could take it from you.  Now you know why in design school they told you to save everything.  


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#6 Jacques Phelps

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 06:48 PM

Thank you Tom, great advice - yes definitely save everything.



#7 Tom Rogers

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 06:52 PM

Another reason to save all sketches Jacques, I dont know how many times that drew something (sketch on paper) and it didnt work out but months and sometimes years later I was working on another project and I would hunt it down to reference or use it again.  No idea is a bad idea; just timed wrong. 


"remember... what we are building today, should be what we want in the future"​
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#8 Jacques Phelps

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 07:10 PM

I try to do that too, but still loose a few things putting them in that place where I know I wont forget them. Things have come a long way over the years.

I remember sketching house plans in the dirt and everyone hoping it didn't rain at least till we got it framed and under roof.


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