REAL ESTATE AGENTS – PROTECT YOURSELF FROM COSTLY IMAGE COPYRIGHT LAWSUITS!
Always use NEWLY taken photographs for your MLS listings!
Almost all real estate images which are taken by professional photographers are licensed for “Single-Use”. This means the images they took are to be used only once to promote a single MLS listing. They are not to be reused for other purposes or promotions without some type of additional Usage Rights Agreement from the original photographer.
Unfortunately, there are local photographers (not us!) who are scouring the internet looking for images they previously shot which are being used again by agents without consent. If caught, these agents and their brokerages are being sent attorney letters on behalf of the photographer with threats of being sued up to $150,000 per image for unauthorized use of their photos! Many agents/brokers are currently being forced to settle those requests for thousands of dollars.
The photographers are offering no advance warning, removal requests, or cease and desist notices. The only notice you receive is certified letter from their attorney.
YES, this is really happening, and the agents ignorance of copyright laws is not a defense!
Avoid THEIR lawsuits & demands by having new MLS photos taken exclusively for you by SouthFloridaHomeTours
At SouthFloridaHomeTours we are not only photographers but we are also Real Estate Agents. We want ALL agents to be informed regarding copyright use of their listing photos. SouthFloridaHomeTours wants you to be fully aware of your image usage rights and feel secure in their use.
PROTECT YOURSELF! Unless you own the photo rights to ALL your property listing images, please remove them immediately and adhere to the following guidelines recommended by SouthFloridaHomeTours.com.
- Never use any images taken by a previous listing agent’s photographer, even if the previous agent is in your brokerage. Previous agents cannot give you permission to reuse their listing images for your own use. Contact us to have new images taken.
- Never use any community images, such as development signs, community pools, recreation photos, aerials, etc. that you did not license the Usage Rights for, regardless of how old the images are. Contact us to have new images taken.
- Never use any landmark images, such as lighthouses, beaches, shopping plazas, aerials, that you do not own the Usage Rights, regardless of how old the images are. Contact us to have new images taken.
- Never use images off search engine sites like Bing or Google. You may actually be being baited by copyright trolls who hope you do. Contact us to have new images taken.
Still confused? Here are some easy to follow real world examples below:
1) Photographer captures images for the Client. Client creates a flyer with those images, uploads the images to MLS, and has a buyer in 3 weeks. YAY! The images have served their purpose. These images may no longer be used for any reason without first consulting the Photographer. This is the basic Copyright Rule.
2) Client has a property for sale and uses a professional furniture staging company before showings begin. Photographer takes images of the house with the staged furniture. Afterward, the Client shows the staging company the beautiful photos taken by the Photographer. The staging company wants to use a few of the images on their own website. The Client does not have the right to share these images to others for their use. These images may only be released by the Photographer.
3) Client asks Photographer to take some community photos to accompany the property listing (Pool, guard gate, gym etc.). Other agents also have listings in the same community and want to use the Photographers community pictures too. The Client does not have the right to share these images to others for their use. These images may only be released by the Photographer.