BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                AB 630
                                                                Page  1


        ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
        AB 630 (Holden)
        As Introduced  February 20, 2013
        Majority vote 

         BUSINESS & PROFESSIONS     12-0                                 
         
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        |Ayes:|Gordon, Bocanegra,        |     |                          |
        |     |Campos,                   |     |                          |
        |     |Dickinson, Eggman,        |     |                          |
        |     |Hagman,                   |     |                          |
        |     |Holden, Maienschein,      |     |                          |
        |     |Mullin,                   |     |                          |
        |     |Skinner, Ting, Wilk       |     |                          |
        |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
        |     |                          |     |                          |
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         SUMMARY  :  Prohibits a person from using an architect's instruments  
        of service without a written contract or written assignment  
        authorizing that use.   

         FISCAL EFFECT  :  None.  This bill is keyed non-fiscal by the  
        Legislative Counsel. 

         COMMENTS  :  Current law already provides protections for an  
        architectural work under federal copyright law and state contract  
        law.  If a person improperly uses or transfers architectural work,  
        an architect can pursue legal action in a federal court and seek  
        injunctive relief or compensation ranging from $200 to $150,000 for  
        each infringement.  In addition, if a contract prohibits the  
        transfer of architectural work, then an architect can sue for a  
        breach of contract in state civil court.    

        If an architect's written contract does not state whether the right  
        of the original client to use the architectural work can be  
        transferred to another person, it is implied that the only person  
        who is authorized to use the architectural work is the client who  
        signs the contract.  The sponsor believes this bill will remove any  
        ambiguity as to who is authorized to use an architectural work.   
        However, given that tort law provides a means for architects to be  
        compensated for damages, it is unclear why this bill is necessary.

        In addition, if a written contract is silent on the transfer rights  








                                                                AB 630
                                                                Page  2


        of an architectural work, this bill would prohibit the use of an  
        architect's work without permission, even if that was not the  
        intent.  Generally, this would pose no problem, since anyone other  
        than the original client should seek permission from the architect  
        to use his or her work.  However, since copyright protection for a  
        work can last anywhere from 70 years following the life of the  
        author to 120 years after the date of publication, a situation may  
        arise in which the architect will not be available to grant  
        permission, even if it is sought.

        While the California Architects Board (CAB) supports this measure,  
        the CAB wrote a letter "to point out, however, that these proposed  
        provisions may be more appropriate in the Civil Code or the general  
        provisions of the BPC [Business and Professions Code] rather than  
        the Act.  This is because CAB has no regulatory authority over  
        consumers/clients?  The CAB is also concerned that these  
        well-intended provisions could be abused by an architect simply  
        terminating a contract even though the payment for services is  
        current.  This would leave the consumer/client in the untenable  
        position of having to negotiate with the architect to continue the  
        project and ultimately use the instruments of service." 


         Analysis Prepared by  :    Joanna Gin / B.,P. & C.P. / (916) 319-3301 

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