Rules Roundup — Don’t Risk a Copyright Lawsuit!

When you submit a photograph to the NorthstarMLS database, MLS rules require that you have the authority for the Service to include the content in MLS Compilation, in any statistical report, on comparables, IDX or Broker Reciprocity data feeds, RETS data feeds, listing syndication, and any other form of licensing permitted under MLS rules and authorized by NorthstarMLS.

Who owns the photo or who has rights to use it can be confusing, but it’s important to ensure you have the rights to use every photo you load on NorthstarMLS. If you did not take the photos yourself, the National Association of REALTORS® offers three sample agreements (see below) between an agent and a photographer. A copyright lawsuit could cost you thousands, even if it was unintentional – here’s a recent example.

The agreements do not constitute legal advice, or substitute for specific legal advice or opinions. The user of a sample document should not use it without consulting with the broker and legal counsel. The use should be modified to address the specific legal needs of the user.

Work for Hire Agreement: The commissioned photographs are a “Work for Hire”, which means the commissioning party is the automatic owner of the photographs from their creation. Read more…

Assignment Agreement: The photographer assigns all right, title and interest in the photographs to the broker. Read more…

Exclusive License Agreement: The photographer grants to the broker an exclusive license to display and distribute the photographs in connection with the real estate industry. Read more…

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