Do you have copyrighted material in your listings?

It is becoming increasingly common for licensed real estate professionals and brokerages to find themselves in legal trouble over improper use of listing photos and other copyrighted materials.

If you and/or your brokerage is not personally taking your listing photos, you MUST procure an appropriate license to use photos from a third party, including photographers.

Often, photography ownership is misunderstood. A licensed real estate professional may “purchase” listing photos from a professional photographer, thinking that they have full ownership rights to those photos. However that may not be the case, depending on the details of license the photographer grants. ‌Don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable to a copyright lawsuit!

To reduce your risk of copyright infringement, you should:
  • Review photography agreements to assess what rights were granted or conveyed
  • Audit your use of listing photographs to ensure compliance with the relevant agreements
  • Determine how you will use photographs and ensure future agreements permit those uses
  • Maintain records of all photography agreements.

‌‌NAR provides sample documents that are great building blocks, but should be run though YOUR legal counsel. These are very broad examples and you should consult legal counsel for documents that meet your brokerages needs.

Read NAR’s coverage of this issue and download NAR sample documents.

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