[LINK] Beechwood homes and IP

Chris Maltby chris at sw.oz.au
Fri Jun 20 13:26:50 AEST 2008

On Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 08:07:53AM +1000, Richard Chirgwin wrote:
> Apparently, bodies like councils are putting themselves in the role of 
> copyright enforcers, which is just wrong. From the original story:

> > Mr Mathias said he was told by Baulkham Hills Council three weeks ago 
> > he had to obtain a written waiver from Beechwood's receiver if he 
> > wanted to use another builder, because the development application had 
> > been lodged under Beechwood's name.

> The upshot is that the owner can't ignore Deloitte, because the council 
> is saying "no waiver, no permit". Now, I don't see where a local council 
> has a role in deciding one way or the other who owns the plans; this is 
> in no way relevant to whether the plans are eligible for building approval.

It does seem pretty strange. The fact that the application was lodged by
Beechwood wouldn't affect the approval and shouldn't prevent a building
that conforms to the approved plans being constructed on the site by
anyone. All the council gets to do is to issue a certificate of compliance
at the end of the job. They should have no role in determining the
status of a license for someone's design - that's a job for the courts.

There may be more details to this case than have been reported - there
might be a S.96a application to vary the previously approved plans which
may require a new approval, whether the original applicant has to make
the S.96a application (or give consent) is something I don't know. But
even if they did, there would be nothing to prevent a new DA being
lodged with a new applicant. This kind of stuff happens all the time in
the development business - or at least in my area it does :-( Legal
niceties are rarely a problem when there are $$$ at stake for developers.

I'm sure there would be a way out of it that wouldn't depend on getting
an IP release from Beechwood's administrators though.


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