Protecting your Copyright in non-standard Construction Contracts (Law Note)

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Last week I discussed copyright issues under ConsensusDOCS and AIA form contracts. This week, we’re taking a look at how to protect copyright in your design documents when you are not using a standard form contract.

If I’ve learned one thing about working with a lot of design professionals over the past decade, it is that many of them – too many – are just plain too nice. That’s right, too nice. They send polite letters of proposal to the client, and then begin work on a handshake deal. Or, they willingly sign on to the Owner’s contract without pushing to negotiate more favorable, mutually beneficial contract terms. Under the maxim that “no good deed goes unpunished,” sometimes such clients are giving away their copyright ownership without being appropriately compensated.

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