Architects, copyright and the ‘New Rules’

Architects play a very specific role during the building process. They are confidential advisers to the client, but also responsible for the design which fulfils the requirements of the client and which stays within the building budget. Agreements must be reached between the client, the architect and any other advisers for this to take place in the correct manner.

The ‘New Rules' (De Nieuwe Regeling or DNR)

It is advisable to draw up an agreement in writing in order to prevent uncertainties and problems in the future. The New Rules (DNR) are often used as starting point. These rules comprise of the general sectoral conditions for designs, advice and organisation of the built environment for the client and the contractor. The New Rules were drawn up on the initiative of the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects and NLingenieurs (Association of Dutch Engineers). According to the New Rules, the liability can amount to a maximum of 1,000,000 or 2,500,000 euro. It is contractually possible to derogate from the New Rules.

Architects and copyright

Architects working independently have the same right as any other designer to protect their designs. Copyright is vested on the (building) drawings and sketches. This copyright not only applies to the definitive design, but also to earlier designs and sketches. Nobody is permitted to build, disseminate or copy these designs, drawings or sketches. If the design is made on assignment, then the architect will retain the copyright unless this is transferred to the client. Even if clear instructions have been given by the client, the architect will retain the copyright. Conditions can be attached to the transfer of the copyright. The client is not permitted to arbitrarily change the designs and the architect can in most cases object to impairment or deterioration of his or her work. These are the so-called personality rights. The architect retains the personality rights even if the architect has transferred his or her exploitation right. The owner of the building must consult with the architect prior to renovation or demolition. If the owner and the architect cannot reach agreement, they can go to the civil court which will weigh up the interests of both parties. Taking photos, recording a film or other images of the designed building by others is permitted as long as this is intended for personal use. The selling or dissemination of the images without permission from the architect is also permitted. This does not apply if the building is the main image (main subject) of the photo.

Copyright of architects in salaried employment

If the architect has made the designs during salaried employment, the copyright is automatically vested in the employer. If an architect works independently and wants to put images of earlier designs on a website, permission must be requested for this from the previous employer. The property specialists of AK Advocaten have a wealth of experience and expertise in advising and assisting architects and clients during the detailing and drawing up of the arrangements in an agreement. If problems arise prior to, during or after the design and building process, we can advise you and negotiate for you and, if necessary, bring legal proceedings on your behalf. Our lawyers have considerable experience regarding all the issues which can arise during the building process. If you wish to find out more about how AK Advocaten can assist you, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please contact us. Property Law