May 3, 2010
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Posted By David Ingram on 5/3/2010 at 1:26 PM

There have been a couple of threads in the last 24 hours related to the reuse of an old survey along with an owner's affidafit.

People toss around the idea that the surveyor holds the exclusive copyright to a plat and that no one else may copy it. I would argue to the contrary because copyright law is not as simple as many would like it to be.

First, once a plat is "recorded" and in the "public domain" there is nothing in the copyright law that prevents someone from making a copy of it. Second, I'm not sure that the surveyor can claim an exclisive copyright to something that is being specifically prepared for someone else. etc. etc. The copyright laws are very complex and allow for many exceptions for "fair use", "educational exception", etc.

The real rub is that we perceive that someone is using our plat for something that we were not compensated for. But is it really our plat once we have delivered it to our client and he has paid for it?

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