Scholz Design, Inc. v. Sard Custom Homes, LLC, No. 11-3298 (2d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Scholz Design created technical drawings for three homes and submitted them to the Copyright Office in 1988 and 1989 with front elevation drawings showing the front of the houses surrounded by lawn, bushes, and trees. Scholz obtained copyrights. In 1992 Scholz entered an agreement permitting Sart to build homes using the plans, for a fee of $1 per square foot of each house built. The agreement required that Sard not "copy or duplicate any of the [Scholz] materials nor . . . [use them] in any manner to advertise or build a [Scholz Design] or derivative except under the terms and conditions of the agreement." Scholz claimed that after termination of the agreement, Sard and real estate companies posted copies of the drawings on advertising websites and sued for violation of copyrights, 15 U.S.C. 1051, breach of contract, and violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 1201. The district court dismissed, finding that the copied images did not fulfill the intrinsic function of an architectural plan. The Second Circuit reversed. Architectural technical drawings might be subject to copyright protection even if they are not sufficiently detailed to allow for construction.