SIOR is committed to promoting advocacy issues impacting our members, clients, and the greater industry. Recently we joined the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and a number of other commercial affiliates in filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States.
The brief, "Columbia House of Brokers Realty, Inc. vs Designworks Homes, Inc.," represents the real estate industry and property owners, and aims to protect consumers from a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals allowing copyright infringement lawsuits to be filed against property owners who make or display floorplans. This filing challenges the current Copyright Act banning property owners from creating their own floorplans for various uses, including but not limited to, securing new construction or attempting to sell a property by marketing the floorplan.
While creating "pictures" or "other pictorial representations" of architectural works was deemed fair by Congress when crafting the Copyright Act of 1976, recently, according to the brief, "the Eighth Circuit became the first court in the country to hold that homeowners and their agents risk copyright litigation and severe liability for creating floorplans."
SIOR has joined as a petitioner on this brief with the belief that, as stated in the brief, "This decision threatens not only homeowners with sanctions for the use, enjoyment, and disposition of their property, but the many sectors of the economy linked to real estate as well."
This is far from a residential issue with direct impact to commercial brokerage, construction companies, allied industries, etc. As other ways come available for our membership to support these efforts, we will provide additional updates. In the meantime, view the complete brief here.