Photo Copyright FAQs

As announced yesterday, NorthstarMLS is taking actions to strengthen listing photo and data copyrights.  As described in that announcement, part of that process (when new listings are entered) is to record whether a NorthstarMLS subscriber took the photos and wrote the Agent/Public/Financial Remarks.

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions.

Do I have to respond to this prompt for each individual photo? You will respond to the prompt for each separate upload. So if you upload them one at a time, you will be prompted for each one. But if you upload multiple photos together, you only have to answer the prompt once for the whole group upload.

What if a subscriber took some but not all of the photos? Upload the photos the subscriber took and did not take separately. That way you can answer correctly for each batch.

I need to get the photos/listing uploaded and cannot determine who took the photos or wrote the Agent/Public/Financial Remarks. What do I do? Go ahead and upload the listing and/or photos. Answer “No” to the copyright prompt. If you later find out the answer is actually “Yes,” you can change to Yes for the Public/Agent/Financial Remarks simply by going back in and changing the dedicated Yes/No field next to the Agent/Public/Financial Remarks fields. For photos, the only way to change it is to delete the initial photos, and then upload them again.

I am being prompted to indicate who wrote the Public/Agent/Financial Remarks, but not who took the photos. Why? If your broker selected “Option 2” in the new NorthstarMLS Participation Agreement (no group copyright protection), then you will never be prompted to indicate who took the photos. But more likely, your broker has not yet completed their new Participation Agreement (they have until July 31st). Once they complete the Agreement (and if they select Option 1), then you will start being prompted.

If my photos do not have the copyright watermark, does that mean other NorthstarMLS agents/offices can take and use them on their own listings? No. Although we cannot enforce the copyright against theft outside the MLS, NorthstarMLS rules still prohibit using another agent’s work without permission.

Are you going to incorporate this into the listing input forms? For Agent/Public/Financial Remarks, yes we will add a checkbox to the forms for the agent to indicate whether a subscriber wrote the Remarks. We will work with Instanet on it this week and get it published as soon as possible. Photos are not practical to handle through the listing input form. When the agent sends you the photos, they should indicate whether or not they or another NorthstarMLS subscriber took them.

Who can I contact if I have more questions? Email our Help Desk at or call them at 651-251-5456 (toll free at 1-877-251-5455).
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