Are your Architectural Drawings Subject to Copyright← Back

There are many types of copyright that we all need to be aware of these days - you've heard of music copyright, and artists' copyright on paintings, you probably also know about copyright of books and films, but did you also know that architectural drawings are fully protected by copyright laws as well?
Architectural Consultants fall under the category of artists when it comes to copyright, and they have the same protection as any artist would when it comes to copying, or using their work without their permission.
Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, it is an infringement of the rights of the artist to
·         ·         Copy; or
·         ·         Distribute; or
·         ·         Rent, or otherwise lend out; or
·         ·         Adapt the copyrighted material without the permission of the author/artist.
Permission may be granted by the consultant either free of charge, or in return for a fee, at his/her discretion. This includes passing on the documents to third parties to work on, or to use as the basis of new drawings.
You might feel that, in fact, the architectural consultant has merely given form to your idea or requirements, but in copyright law it is the person who created the drawing itself who owns the copyright, and the physical drawing is what is copyrighted, not the idea. 
In terms of architectural designers, a lot of training goes into developing the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to produce good quality drawings that a contractor can use to understand how to build a building from just a pile of materials. There is a lot of science and maths at play in constructing a home, or an office or factory that will fit together, stand up, support a roof and occupy the space it is intended to properly.
Most people have an idea of what they want their ideal home or building to look like, and can sketch this out, but it takes a trained architectural consultant to produce the technical drawings which will be accepted by local authorities and planning departments, and this is what you pay an architectural designer for.
If you have any questions about the copyright on the drawings your architect or architectural designer has created for you, and whether or not they are subject to copyright, get in touch with Chris, who has lots of experience and will be able to give you advice.