AIA California is sponsoring legislation this year to protect the intellectual property of architects when projects are under consideration by local planning departments. The legislation, SB 1214 , was recently introduced State Senator Brian Jones.
Many local planning departments post the submittals from architects online to allow the public to participate in the entitlement process. Posting the information online allows anyone to download, or copy, the documents prepared and submitted by architects. The information included in these documents often is protected under the Federal Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act. This, unfortunately, creates a conflict between the need of local governments to inform their constituents of proposed projects and allowing them to participate in the decisions being made, and the protections provided to architects through the Copyright Act.
SB 1214, with a future amendment, will give architects the option of submitting documents that do not contain protected intellectual property, such as a site plan and massing diagram, that can be shared with the public. The architect, of course, would still have to submit documents as requested by the planning department, documents that can contain protected intellectual property, but the planning departments would be restricted in how that information is shared with the public so the information cannot be illegally copied. AIA CA believes this compromise will allow planning departments to share information with their constituents, allowing them to fully participate in the public entitlement process, without violating the Copyright Act.
The protection of architectural plans – preventing the illegal copying of architectural plans – already exists for plans maintained by building departments. SB 1214, if successful, will offer the same protection to the works of architects under consideration by local planning departments.
For more information, contact AIA CA Director of Government Relations Mark Christian, Hon. AIA CA at firstname.lastname@example.org.