House Plan Copyright

Hi Dave and Carl,

I am looking to build and have been looking at many plans in books.

I always seem to want make changes to the size or move a wall so the plans would need to be redrawn by an architect.

I see the books all say you are not allowed by law to make changes unless you buy the plans and get approval from the owner of the plan.

Is this true?

What are the rules of using existing house plans?

Thanks so much for your help.



Home plans are protected under federal copyright laws against their unlicensed reproduction, use, or distribution. These same laws protect works of literature, music, drama and motion pictures which are all considered "original works of authorship".

The express consent of the copyright holder is generally required to use or modify a home plan. The copyright holder is usually the original designer and may or may not be an architect. There is more information on the American Institute of Building Design's (AIBD) website

This may prove frustrating if you only want to make minor changes to a plan. That's why I created the interactive plan tool at which allows you to make minor changes to our designs and order your custom plans without paying a design fee.

Hope this helps,
David Moore
Original Home Plans

Dear readers, you may want to read a similar post on copyright infringement, Copyright Basics for Home Designers.
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