Dose the architect have the right to sell or give plans he designed.

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Dose the architect have the right to sell or give plans he designed.

I paid for plans to build in new home but did not end up building it. Now the
builder is using my plans to build a spec house for another person. The architec
is the builders brother. I did not give my permission for hime to use my plans.

Asked on September 14, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, if you paid for the plans, they were created for you as a "work made for hire" and you own the copyright to them; the architect may not reuse or resell your intellectual property without your permission (e.g. without paying you some fee for the right to do so). Anything a professional creates for a client for pay belongs to the client--in short, the law takes the position that you paid for it, you own it. The exception would be if you had a signed agreement or contract with the architect giving him the right to do this; if you, you contratually gave up your rights to or control over the plans. But otherwise, you could potentially sue for compensation for breach of your copyright (e.g. to recover the cost or valeu of the plans).


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