No Copyright Protection for House Plans

In the case of Sari v. America's Home Place, Inc., which was decided by Judge Gerald Lee in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, a homeowner copyrighted the plans which were used to build a new home. When the builder built another home that the homeowner believed was similar to his, the homeowner sued the builder for copyright infringement. The court not only found there was no infringement, it awarded counsel fees to the builder.

Believe it or not, this case may be most useful against architects. Contracts with architects need to be examined closely as some architects charge homeowners for plans and then claim copyright protection for the same plans in order to force the homeowner to continue dealing with them until project completion.

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