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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50182
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Good morning, this is George Goudsmit. I paid a structural

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Good morning, this is George Goudsmit. I paid a structural consultant in full for drawings of a house to be built. I now have a new consultant who would like to use one of the drawings of the site plan. There is no copyright mark in the drawing and I have paid for it in full. The original consultant says that I cannot use his drawing because it is his. Is that correct?
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. The first consultant is correct in this respect I’m afraid. The fact that there is no copyright mark on the drawing means nothing – this is not how copyright is determined. The law on copyright gives automatic rights to the original creator of a piece of work, usually artistic, dramatic, literary pieces of work. So it is the simple fact that he was the creator of the drawing that would automatically give hi copyright over it, regardless of whether he had included a copyright mark on it or not. Also the fact that you have paid for the work does not mean that you have taken over the rights of the drawing – this would only happen if there was specific assignation of the copyright to you, which would usually be done under agreement with the creator of the work. So there must have been some agreement between you two, usually in writing, that once you pay for the work the creator would transfer the copyright over to you. If that did not exist, the copyright would remain with them and the image can only be used with their permission. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So do I have any options on how to get this drawing released? Is there an expiry time of copyright?

You cannot release it without the creator's consent unfortunately - they will own the copyright and will have full rights over it. Copyright does expire eventually but you will be waiting some time for that - it expires 70 years after the creator's death!