From a student perspective, it seems to me that the more freedom from any form of external influence an architect has in his work, the better it will be for the quality of the end product.
However, my attitude would probably change if some famous architect stole my well-thoughtout and completely original designs. Can you have bad publicity? Obviously the lawyers do not think so!
Lawyers should not have a place in the creative process of the architect. Information should be free, especially when the information (or intellectual property in legal jargon) is used for the benefit of society. The issue reaches to the heart of the creative process.
I personally do not feel there is any justification for intellectual property in architecture, but I now know it could influence my future designs.
Anyway, back to the books - can I sue anybody today?
Yin Chen Dix, Sheffield Hallam University