cindyw224

Copyright my design?

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I have a plan that I have worked hard on and revised for months.  We hope to build this house on our lot and will soon be shopping builders.  I would gladly share my plan with any friends or family, but I do not want a builder to start profiting from my work.  Should I copyright my plan?  Does that protect me from getting ripped off?

 

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Visit a Lawyer who specializes in IP (intellectual property) law.

 

Are you concerned that a builder will take your plan and build from it, or use ideas contained in it?

 

Is your plan for sale?

 

Is your plan that good that a builder would want to build it for someone else?

 

You taking months to create a plan does not equate to a professional doing the same thing. 

 

Is your plan complete -- all construction drawings and checked as required by professionals (an engineer for example), and ready to build from?

 

Trust is key to a successful custom build, and if someone came to me with the attitude I was going to rip them off, I'd hand them off to a competitor. That's not the type of customer I want.

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What I am concerned with is not necessarily the builder I work with but the ones I choose not to build with.  I will be giving this plan to 3 to 6 builders.  No it is not complete and I am not a professional,  but I have created something that fills a niche.  Maybe it is not that big of a deal, but like I said, if someone is going to profit from it, I would like a cut.  As for my plan not being the same thing as a professional, if you mean "as good as"  I think you need to look at some of the stuff your competitors are building.  My sister just bought a house with a linen closet so small that you can't fit a stack of towels through the door.

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This might help:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_in_architecture_in_the_United_States

You can easily (and should always) stamp stuff you create/design with a copyright notice if you're sharing it with others.  Makes them think twice (unfortunately some aren't too bright...).  As the article explains though, if you don't actually register the copyright, bringing a claim against someone using your creation becomes more difficult, and your ability to recover damages is much more limited. 

(For any Canadians reading along, the story is different.  Registration of copyright is generally not required in Canada.)

Good builders should already be used to dealing with designs created by professional architects and therefore know better than to rip them off.  They should treat any design you bring to them no differently.

 

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