5.09 aiaVT Newsletter
aiaVT president's column
I recently attended the national AIA convention in San Francisco, representing AIA VT. At this annual convention, delegates from each state and chapter vote on national officers and proposed amendments to the AIA bylaws. I was intrigued that the main organizational changes under consideration this year fell into a single theme: Inclusivism. More...
R/UDAT Newport from a Vermont perspective
Since 1967 the American Institute of Architects has run the R/UDAT (pronounced ROO-dat) program. During that time they’ve worked in over 140 communities around the country. Newport is the first Vermont community to host a R/UDAT. More...
Vermont building professionals day
Building Professionals’ Day at the Vermont State House on March 25th was a huge success with over 100 participants; 19 AIA Vermont members attended. More...
Net Zero Putney School Project Receives Grant for Solar Photovoltaic System
William Maclay Architects & Planners (WMAP), architectural firm for New England’s first net zero energy educational facility, was notified that the Putney School Field House Project has received a $221,000 grant... More...
aiaVT president's column
The Direction of AIA?
By John McLeod, AIA
I recently attended the national AIA convention in San Francisco, representing AIA VT. At this annual convention, delegates from each state and chapter vote on national officers and proposed amendments to the AIA bylaws. I was intrigued that the main organizational changes under consideration this year fell into a single theme: Inclusivism. All three major proposals were voted down.
The three proposed amendments would have established a Public Member category in AIA; created an AIA International membership designation for architects living and practicing abroad; and allowed Associate AIA members (not licensed) to serve on the national board of AIA. There was much debate on the convention floor over each of these proposals, and intensive e-mail discussion has continued since among the chapter presidents around the country.
The gist of the positions in each case can be summed up as ‘We should welcome all participation’ vs. ‘AIA is the American Institute of Architects’. While the public is presently allowed to participate in the sibling American Architectural Foundation; there is an associate category for international colleagues; and unlicensed AIA members are granted limited representation on the national board; the proposed amendments sought to broaden access for these categories of would-be participants, and to reduce current restrictions on them. The opposition maintained that one must be a licensed American architect in order to fully participate in the AIA.
As with most debatable and votable issues, these questions are not as clear-cut as they may seem at first glance, but the issues themselves and the discussion they have engendered seem to me to point up a greater question of the tone and direction of the AIA. Are we a big tent organization that reaches out broadly with a welcoming hand, perhaps diluting the necessity of certain credentials in the process, or are we a more narrowly focused institution, concerned with protecting the status of the profession and the importance of licensure? The delegates and chapter presidents opposed to these amendments seem to feel that our profession is devalued by opening it up, whereas the attitude of those in favor of the amendments appears to emanate from a vision of AIA as a progressive, adaptable, evolving organization. How do you see AIA?
Please send me your thoughts on these and any other issues (firstname.lastname@example.org or to me directly at email@example.com). This discussion and debate will continue, and the amendments are likely to be taken up again at next year’s convention. The board of AIA VT would like to best represent the membership’s views on all such matters. For more information on the proposed bylaws amendments, please see www.aiaconvention.com/imark/images/other/Delegate Information Booklet 2009.pdf.
Best to All
R/UDAT Newport Q&A from a Vermont perspective
The following question and answer session was conducted with Harry Hunt, AIA, a board member of aiaVT and a Vermont participant in the R/UDAT Newport event.
What is the significance of R/UDAT coming to Vermont?
Since 1967 the American Institute of Architects has run the R/UDAT (pronounced ROO-dat) program. During that time they’ve worked in over 140 communities around the country. Newport is the first Vermont community to host a R/UDAT. The process is designed to help communities identify their own unique set of challenges and opportunities, create a shared vision for the future, and structure an action plan for achieving that vision.
Architects always seem to have the fear of public apathy toward architecture, so how was this event received by the people of Newport?
This event was very well attended by the citizens of Newport and the surrounding region. The first two days of the R/UDAT involve numerous and lively public input sessions. It was fascinating to observe the sense of empowerment that resulted from the public’s participation in the debate and discussion around the future of their community.
What is R/UDAT, both in terms of the acronym and what it really strives for?
R/UDAT stands for Regional and Urban Development Assessment Team. As the name suggests, the teams assessment of the community occurs at various scales and through the lens of various disciplines. The R/UDAT process works because it employs three very simple principles; multidisciplinary expertise, objectivity, and community participation. Those interested in learning more about the R/UDAT program should visit: www.aia.org/about/initiatives/AIAS075372
How did you participate in the process?
I participated in the two day sequestered design phase of the program. During these two days I and other AIA Vermont members provided graphics and design support to the R/UDAT team.
What opportunities were there for Vermont architects?
AIA Vermont members where invited to participate in any aspect of the five day charrette. We had members who participated in the public input sessions as well as the sequestered design session.
Can you see this translating into an aiaVT undertaking?
I see the R/UDAT process as transformative. When citizens are asked to envision the future of their communities very powerful things begin to happen. It seems to me Vermont could benefit from more of that. I’d like to see aiaVT be involved in creating a framework for similar events to occur in communities throughout the state.
Can people see the results?
An electronic version of the final report is available at the following link: www.discovernewportvt.com/rudatReport/01_intro_pg1.html
Also, New England Cable News did a short story on the event and you’ll find it at: www.necn.com/Boston/Business/2009/04/20/Effort-underway-to-revitalize/1240269672.html
Vermont building professionals day
Building Professionals’ Day at the Vermont State House on March 25th was a huge success with over 100 participants; 19 AIA Vermont members attended. Tom Evslin, Chair of Vermont’s Recovery Stimulus Program, briefed the building professionals on the recovery stimulus plan. Information on this plan can be had at: www.recovery.vt.gov.
Participants met with Governor Douglas and attended Committee hearings. The day also dealt with regulatory issues as David Epstein, AIA. testified before the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee and urged them not to adopt the NFPA 2000 codes.
The morning event was organized by the AGC and held at their office to hear a presentation by the SOV’s Stimulas Package Czar Tom Evslin. He chairs a new program to help the State create an office that can help people figure out how to get stimulus funding and let people know where it is going.
After the AGC session there was a meeting in the Statehouse in Governor Douglas’ Chamber to hear the governor’s greeting and answer any questions that the group had. He spent an hour with the group covering many varied topics from stimulus funding to energy costs to job creation. He seemed to have a good grasp of the group’s interests along with an understanding that Design leads to Construction which leads to good paying jobs to keep Vermont growing.
Lunch and afternoon sessions were at the State House with a variety of offerings. aiaVT’s roving reporter Jesse Beck, AIA, attended a meeting run by Senator Illuzzi (who recognized Jesse and made an introduction that Architects were in the room as guests of the State House) where they were discussing how stimulus funds could help Vermont state agriculture keep from loosing so many farms. At lunch Jesse met with Chittenden County State Senator Hinda Miller to let her know the status of Architecture and Construction, including how stimulus funding could help support this area of the economy.
Jesse echoes the sentiments of many of our members when he says “Our voice as Architects is much stronger as we combine efforts with these allied professions. There is much common ground that we can use to achieve goals for our organizations together.” He is looking forward to other allied events and we hope you will take the opportunity to participate the next time an event is announced.
Net Zero Putney School Project Receives Grant for Solar Photovoltaic System
William Maclay Architects & Planners (WMAP), architectural firm for New England’s first net zero energy educational facility, was notified that the Putney School Field House Project has received a $221,000 grant from Vermont’s Clean Energy Development Fund. The grant will partly fund the purchase and installation of a 36.8 kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system.
WMAP is leading the design team that determined the energy and environmental goals for the net zero energy facility. A net zero energy building is one that produces as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. The Putney School solar PV system will supplement electric power purchased from the local electric utility, but is expected to produce enough solar electricity over the course of the year to equal the facility’s total annual energy use.
Currently under construction, the facility includes 16,000 square feet of athletic, educational and social space adjacent to outdoor recreational, garden and gathering spaces. The Putney School Field House Project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2009.
The Putney School is an independent coeducational boarding day school for grades 9 through 12. Vermont’s Clean Energy Development Fund was established in 2005 to promote the development of renewable energy generation and combined heat and power technologies in the state.
About William Maclay Architects & Planners:
Founded in 1982, William Maclay Architects & Planners is a Vermont-based architectural firm specializing in innovative, sustainable design for individuals, businesses and organizations seeking to create vibrant places for life, work and play. Firm founder and president, William Maclay, has worked in sustainable design since 1971, bringing his lifelong passion for the environment into his work through the design and creation of beautiful, sustainable buildings. Through its team of LEED-accredited professionals, WMAP offers a full-range of architectural services for all phases of residential, commercial and institutional projects. Recent projects include master planning and design for the expanded green campus of wind manufacturer NRG Systems in Hinesburg (VT), the net zero energy design and construction of the Putney (VT) School Field House and the interior design and renovation for Seventh Generation’s Burlington (VT) headquarters. For more information, visit www.wmap-aia.com.
What does “publication” of your work mean under present copyright law?
By Andres Quintana & Harold Park
An architect’s ability to adequately protect his or her drawings and architectural works through federal copyright registration is crucial. Dispelling misconceived notions of when an architect’s work is “published” under copyright law is a vital part of that exercise and worth explaining.
By way of background, the copyright law generally allows architects to obtain separate copyrights for (1) “technical drawings” (or architectural plans) and (2) “architectural works” (or the design embedded in the physical building). Early copyright registration is important since it entitles the copyright holder to claim “statutory damages” if infringement occurs. “Statutory damages” is a predetermined range of $750 to $30,000 per infringement and potentially more for willful infringement. “Statutory damages” also alleviate the architect’s burden of proving actual harm suffered.
An architect can claim statutory damages if (1) the work is registered with the Copyright Office before someone else infringes, or (2) if the registration is made within three months of “publication.” The former scenario is the more straightforward copyright case. For instance, Architect X registers her technical drawings with the Copyright Office on January 1st and someone else infringes on the drawings on January 2nd or thereafter. The lesser understood scenario is whether the architect may bring a statutory damages claim after the infringement has occurred but before the copyright registration date. The answer generally lies in the way federal courts interpret the word “publication” and whether “publication” of the work is made within three months of registration. Preliminarily, it is worth noting that “publication” under the Copyright Act is a special legal term and has a different meaning from the common everyday usage of the word. For instance, architects believe that merely showing a work to someone else or submitting the work to a city building department constitutes “publication” for copyright purposes. That is not necessarily accurate. Rather, the Copyright Act defines “publication” as:
“the distribution of copies…of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies…to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display, constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication.”
As to “technical drawings”, federal courts have not reached a consensus regarding what specific types of activities constitute “publication” to commence the “three month” statutory period. For instance, does “publication” occur if (1) plans are submitted to municipal authorities for approval, or (2) plans are circulated to contractors for bidding purposes, or (3) plans are deposited in public files? Unfortunately, there is no one answer applicable to all cases and to all parts of the country. While some courts have found “publication” in these circumstances (and thus triggering the three month period for statutory damages claims), others have not or have found so-called “limited publication” – that is, distribution of plans to a limited class of persons and for a limited purpose which does not trigger the crucial three month period.
While the law on “publication” of technical drawings appears open, “publication” with regards to “architectural works” is, fortunately, more uniform. “Publication” as to architectural works occurs when underlying plans or drawings or other copies of the building design are distributed or made available to the general public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. These transactions or usages are easier to track and document.
The best way for an architect to protect his or her drawings or works is to register the work as soon as practicable. The importance of early registration of copyrights for “technical drawings” and “architectural works” cannot be stressed enough. The lack of uniformity in the law with regards to “publication” for “technical drawings” only supports this recommendation.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Andres Quintana, Esq. as intellectual property attorney at the Los Angeles-based firm of Quintana Law Group, APC. Mr. Quintana may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Harold Park is a law student at the Whittier Law School. Mr. Park may be reached at email@example.com.