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Who Took That Photo?

Friday, 09 August 2013 15:22

Who Took That Photo?

It’s one thing to have a bad photo taken of yourself or your listing – we’ve all been there!
However, it’s potentially more troublesome when you don’t know where your listing photo came from.
Did you know that loading an unlicensed image on your listings can lead to copyright violations, financial demands and legal challenges from the image owner? More importantly, did you know those demands might be made of another brokerage that is simply displaying your listing? Yep, it’s true – and there is no simple solution.
MFRMLS highly recommends that all agents review the photos on their listings to make sure
you have the right to display them. Copying images from the Internet and including them in your photo display without proper licensing puts you and your brokerage at risk. That risk also extends to every other broker and agent that may ultimately display your listing on the Internet via an approved IDX feed.
Keep these rules in mind:
• If you use a professional photographer to take pictures of your listings, be sure you have written permission.
• If you copy a photo from an off-market listing, be sure you have written permission from the former listing agent.
• If the property owner gives you photos, have some documentation that they came directly from the owner.
• If you hire outside vendors to prepare your virtual tours, be sure any images they include in the photo stream are properly licensed before you attach them to your listing.
It is also important to be aware that loading an unlicensed image on your listing is a violation of the MFRMLS Rules & Regulations, and carries a penalty. That said, it’s not about the possible penalty from the MLS – it’s about protecting your brokerage and all others that display your listings via IDX.
Why this reminder?
Members continue to receive demand letters from companies that have discovered their copyrighted images on IDX sites – and in most cases that demand letter (including threat for legal action and a demand for a license fee) is not even made of the listing broker/agent, but of another MFR subscriber.
Remember, it’s really easy to avoid such potential challenges: take and load your own photos; have a license or verification that you own the photos – especially if taken by a photographer you hire; and
do not download images from the Internet for display in your virtual tours or listings – just that easy!
Adding that beautiful image of a sunset you found on the Internet just isn’t worth the risk.

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