Sunday, October 24, 2021


I have been sitting on some plans for quite a while. Floorplans, that is. 

Floor plans may not be a writer's issue, or are they? Whether one is a renter, a homeowner, a landlord, or a home-improvement expert, floor plans are very interesting. 

One authoritative source claims that over 90% of prospective home-buyers spend more time looking at a listing if there is a floor plan. In this time of Covid, the same probably goes for would-be renters. Moreover, maybe 20% of prospective buyers will completely ignore any property that does not have a floor plan.

Might similar statistics hold true for how long a reader might linger on a map or floor plan in the front matter of an ebook when deciding whether or not to read on?

Fiction writers are said to be either Plotters, Planners, Puzzlers, Pantsers. What are you?  I think that I am a puzzling pantser. I do family trees, and maps of kingdoms and of alien planets... but I really ought to do floorplans of homes and castles and space arks.

With the tools available in the UK from metropix, and in the USA from boxbrownie, there is really no good reason why we couldn't add imaginative floorplans to our alien romances and other types of novels.We could even embed our own logos!

Around the world, in different jurisdictions, there have been law suits around copyright issues relating to architects' and builders' plans and their use by realtors.

Legal blogger Judy Zhu, representing the Australian law firm Eaglegate, advises website operators to beware when third parties, such as real estate professionals presumably, upload copyrighted floor plans, photographs and other content to websites and on which content is shared.

Brian Murphy of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein and Selz PC (one of my favorite legal blogging law firms) examines whether or not one needs a copyright license to post a floor plan online.

Brian's article is fascinating and well written, and highly relevant for alien romance writers who *would* be creating floorplans for artistic purposes. 
Also, the case is not quite settled, and it is possible that if a floor-plan-exploiting estate agent works off plans they make for themselves using measurements and not the original architectural plans, there might be fair use or transformative use defenses.
For the IP Update blog, Christopher M. Bruno of McDermott Will and Emery offers another perspective on the same case, focusing on floor plans and the riddle-like conundrum of when is a picture not a picture.

It, too, is well worth reading, and bearing in mind no matter what one wants to do with floor plans.

All the best,

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