January 21, 2020

Meeting organised by the Milan Architects Association on copyright and BIM

by Studio Valaguzza in Deepening

Paolo Mazzoleni opened the meeting by saying: “not only the work but also the methodology must be protected”.
Paolo is right: the use of digital modelling takes us to a dimension of planning in which the process, the method, the performance and the outcomes are prevailing. Therefore, the ambit of rights – and obligations –of the parties becomes wider.
The information – entered, shared, elaborated and re-elaborated – in the BIM process constitute a body, a model that is the result of a complex know-how of collaboration among the different professionals, of a collective action that is also qualified for the methodology used to pursue the common result.
Therefore, by observing the copyright, the issue that must be addressed is not limited to the rights on the object of the planning, but also on the ones potentially connected to the methodology used.
In many occasions we pointed out that digital modelling requires a collaboration, after all, as Patricia Viel, architect, has specified “architecture has always been a collective work”.
With the digital collaborative process this is clear.
Which are the implications on the copyrights? This is a world to be discovered, starting from the applicability of the legal notions, of intellectual property right contracts, of the new collective subject that digital modelling creates and that includes the client, who inevitably is part of the living organism which develops the model.
Relational strength, integration of the object in the activities, difficulties in identifying precise boundaries in the performance of the single professionals and, thus, in the respective creativity and responsibility.
And what happens then? The same thing that happened when the reasoning concerned how to protect the rights of a composed work – such as musical works (played with the contribution of several musicians), comics (words and pictures), movies, documentaries (music and pictures), legal handbook (with chapters written by different authors) -, in which different subject, with complementary competences and mixed activities, build something new, permeating with each other to realise a new multiple identity object. In that case the law has brought innovation, by building new forms of protection.
The same thing will be done for digital modelling.