BDAV’s Executive Officer from 1994 to 2012, Brian Morison, regularly fielded members’ queries about copyright. The following are Brian’s ten ‘MUST KNOW’ points about copyright:
1. Copyright vests in the author (designer) of the works (design documentation).
2. Designers have the right to reproduce their works as many times as they wish.
3. No requirement or formal notice is required to protect copyright. Copyright owners are entitled to place on their works the internationally recognised symbol – BDAV © 2009.
4. Idea or style is not protected. Copyright protection applies only to expression of idea (plans).
5. Be wary of clients providing materials to you – sketches, house floor plans, drawings – for the purposes of preparing design drawings.
6. Client is only provided with a license to use the drawings to produce the works.
7. You cannot be compelled to assign copyright to a third party. If you expressly consent to assignment, ensure you are paid an amount to assign copyright.
8. You are not required to provide CAD files unless you expressly contract to do so.
9. Client may have the right to take town planning drawings to another designer to produce working drawings. Seek advice before entering into such an agreement as the second designer.
10. If design project involves demolition, relocation or alteration to an existing building, the client should be made aware of Moral Rights provisions under the Copyright Act.