Copyrights in Design Contracts
A copyright may not be the first thing a design professional contemplates while reviewing or writing a contract.
Standard design industry contracts (e.g., AIA and EJCDC), keep the copyright with the design professional and provide for a limited license to the client/owner for use of the documents. That license is generally limited for use on the specific project only, and does not allow for transfer of that license to third parties. The design industry contracts also include an indemnity provision in the professional’s favor that mitigates risk should those documents be used or modified without proper authority. Most owner generated contracts, on the other hand, demand a transfer of copyright to the owner, and those terms are often agreed to by the professional, presumably because the professional is not fully aware of its rights or the risks involved in giving those rights away.
For more information regarding copyrights in contracts for design professionals, please click HERE to visit the AE ProNet website.