oa Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese - Copyright as it affects the design professional and the contractor : legal

Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1021-2000



The question of copyright arises in almost every design, drawing or document prepared by the design professional in the execution of a consulting assignment for his or her client, and it is not always made clear who owns the copyright in the created work - the design professional or the client. Over the past 20 years there has been a significant shift to the 'design and build' approach, where the construction contractor undertakes the design and the construction of the project, for operation by the owner / employer. Again it is not always clear who owns the copyright. When the question is asked the response is invariably that, having paid for the design, the ownership of the copyright vests in the client in the case of the design professional, or the employer in the 'design and build' contract. This is not correct. Ownership of copyright in most countries is governed by legislation. In South Africa this is the Copyright Act of 1978. The implications of the Act for design professionals and construction contractors are explained in this article.

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