Hey are those your listing photos?
Make sure you’re legally allowed to use them before you upload them to the MLS.
There’s a new rule coming active next month that could start costing you.
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There’s been some buzz in the local realtor community about a new rule that is going into effect November 1st.
The Southwest MLS is taking action to curb the unauthorized use of listing photos. This is quite prevalent nationwide and could lead to even more legal issues.
Starting November 1st, There is a $250 immediate fine per listing for each offense of unauthorized copying of photos as reported by the listing broker or copyright holder.
This is in addition to any potential legal claims by the copyright holder.
So, who is the copyright holder?
Well, that can get complicated, but if you ask yourself these simple questions, you’ll know if you can use the photos without getting fined.
- Did I take the picture myself?
- Did I pay someone else to take the photo?
- Did I get written permission from the photographer to use the photo?
If you answered no to these questions, don’t use the photos as you aren’t legally allowed to and you’ll end up in hot water.
The person or company who takes the photos owns all of the rights to the photos. Most real estate photography companies give the broker who hired them a limited license to use the photos.
Usually it’s a pretty broad license, allowing you to use the photos for marketing your listing for the duration of the listing agreement and allows you to post them online to market the property. But that license doesn’t extend to the seller, stagers, or other brokers. At least not without a written agreement from the photographer.
There are some photographers nationwide that aggressively pursue legal action against people who use their photos without permission.
Not all photography companies have the same licensing agreements. So make sure you know what you’re buying.
At Servant 360°, we’re part of your marketing team and we make it easy for you to use the photos and other creative media to market yourself and your listing. While we do retain ownership of the media for our own portfolio and marketing, we give you a broad license to use however you need for marketing purposes.
We don’t usually allow other brokers to use photos that they didn’t hire us to take, though if you want to transfer your license to them, just let us know so we can put something in writing. That covers both of you from potential fines.
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