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HOME PLANS ARE PROTECTED UNDER THE FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAWS!
Just like books, movies, and songs, home plans receive protection under the federal copyright laws. The copyright laws prevent anyone, other than the copyright owner, from reproducing, modifying, or reusing the house plans or home design without permission of the copyright owner.
IT IS ILLEGAL TO COPY DESIGNS OR FLOOR PLANS FROM ANY PUBLICATION, ELECTRONIC MEDIA OR EXISTING HOME
It is illegal to copy home designs found in a house plan book, CD-ROM or on the Internet. It is a common misunderstanding that making changes to or redrawing a plan found in a plan book is permissible. It is not. The right to modify plans is one of the exclusive rights of copyright. It is also illegal to copy or redraw a constructed home that is protected by copyright, even if you have never seen the building plans for the home. If you find a home plan that you like, you must purchase a set of plans from an authorized source.
Penalties for violating a copyright may be severe. The responsible parties are required to pay actual damages caused by the infringement (which may be substantial), plus any profits made by the infringer, commissions to include all profits and from the sale of any home built from an infringing design. The copyright law also allows for the recovery of statutory damages, which may be as high as $150,000.00 for each infringement. Finally, the infringer may be required to pay legal fees which often exceed the damages.