California Governor Mulling Bill Helping Architects Keep Control of Their Plans

California Governor Jerry Brown (James Joyner)

California Governor Jerry Brown. (James Joyner)

AB 630, a bill that ensures that no one can use an architect’s “instruments of service” (i.e. plans, drawings, schematics) without his or her written permission, recently passed the California legislature without a single no vote. The bill passed the Assembly 78-0 and the State Senate 37-0. But now architects are getting nervous, since governor Jerry Brown has not decided whether he will sign it.

In recent years, architecture advocates point out, architects’ rights to their intellectual property have been more egregiously abused, leading to skyrocketing legal fees. For instance, developers and homeowners have been selling their plans to third party buyers; some have been converting projects into condominiums without permission from the architect; and others have terminated contracts with architects after the receipt of construction permits to save money.

“Consumers often mistake intellectual property as ‘personal’ property, because they have paid a fee for services,” explained Ric Abramson, AIA/LA Board Secretary. “This bill is a game changer because it addresses and clarifies for the public at large the ‘use’ of the work and reaffirms the need for there to be a written document in place.” You can ask the Governor to sign the bill here. Better hurry.

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