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Outline Intent And Reduce Your Risk Of Design Misuse

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 02:09 am


The danger of copyright infringement rears its ugly head when the parties to a contractor-designer contract haven?t spelled out three key elements: the design work to be done, the designer?s role in the entire construction project, and how the designer?s drawings will be used.

Designers: Beware implying something you didn?t mean

Contractors aren?t guilty of copyright infringement where a designer has granted an implied license to use its work for a particular purpose. In I.A.E., Inc. v. Shaver, 74 F.3d 768 (7th Cir. 1996), I.A.E., Inc. (IAE) hired an architect (Shaver) to prepare drawings for the first phase of the design of an airport hangar. After Shaver delivered the drawings, IAE hired another architect who used Shaver?s drawings to complete the subsequent design phases. The court concluded that Shaver had granted an implied nonexclusive license to its drawings because it satisfied a three-prong test. According to Effects Associates, Inc. v. Cohen, 908 F.2d 555 (9th Cir. 1990), a designer grants such a license when it (1) receives a request for creation of the work, (2) creates the work and delivers it to the requestor, and (3) intends that the requestor copy/distribute the work.

Importantly, Shaver did [...]

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