Literary and Artistic Property — Common-Law Copyright– Filing of Architectural Plans in a Public Office as Publication

Plaintiff home designer prepared plans for a client and filed a copy in a county office as required by ordinance in order to obtain a building permit. Defendant copied and used these plans without plaintiff’s consent. In an action under a state statute codifying the common-law right of designers to the exclusive ownership of their unpublished designs, the lower court held for defendant, finding plaintiff’s copyright to have been destroyed by publication. On appeal, held, reversed. The filing of architectural plans in a public office in order to secure a building permit does not constitute a publication of them which will divest their creator of his common-law copyright. Smith v. Paul, 174 Cal. App. 2d 744, 345 P.2d 546 (1959).