My sellers hired a photographer to take professional photos of their property. The photographer provided multiple shots of their backyard pool and landscaping, but together we selected only one for the property’s marketing materials and the MLS. I’d like to use one of the extra photos for my business’s marketing materials. Since it’s my listing, can I use the photo and credit the photographer?
No. Your sellers hired the photographer to take listing photos and they are the ones who entered into an agreement with the photographer. Merely crediting the copyright owner does not protect you from a copyright infringement claim.
Through their agreement with the photographer, your sellers may own the photographs outright or simply have rights to use the photos for marketing the property.
Talk to your sellers. If your sellers own the photos, you should ask them for permission to use one in your marketing materials. But if they only have rights to use the photographs, you should contact the photographer directly. In both scenarios, you should get permission in writing and ensure it allows you to use the photograph in the way you want.
Totally agree and there are no two opinions about it!
There is another layer to this question, and that is who, if anyone, may use the photographs to market the property once they have been used by an agent to do so. Some if not all MLSes hold that they, and not the agent or the seller or the photographer, hold copyright once photos are published on the MLS. They also hold that a second or subsequent agent to market the property cannot use the photos on another listing without the permission of the agent who first used them, without regard for who actually paid for them or owns the… Read more »
Actually, the MLS can say they obtain the copyright of any photo uploaded by the agent. However, the agent does not have the right to pass on copyrights or change any contract or licensing agreement of the photographer (or ignore basic copyright law) . Think of it like music. YouTube can’t put language in their uploading agreement saying they get the full copyright to any music users upload. No artist would be expected to give up their full copyright because someone with temporary license uploaded it on a music video. It’s the same thing. The MLS is trying to protect… Read more »
Sen this to my professional photographer who agrees and so do I.
I hire professional photographers and have always asked what their policy is. I do not like to use a photographer that does not give me the right to use the photos for marketing in the future. While I may never use those photos again or use very few of them for those I do I want to highlight that I go above for my clients when I list their house. My understanding is that once I load a photo even ones I took into MLS they get the my board’s copyright logo. I never use those photos with that logo.… Read more »
The MLS cannot legally claim copyright just by saying they do. The photographer keeps the copyright unless they give exclusive rights to the agent or anyone else. Independent professional photographers typically maintain their copyright and give the agent license to use the photos for the duration of the marketing of the property. Photography pricing is based on usage. For exclusive ongoing rights, the value of that sale would generally be more the twice the cost. It’s kind of like me, as an agent, discounting my commission, because the buyer/seller thinks a higher commission is just a ripoff and they will… Read more »
Question, you mention the photographer and the seller are the ones that are in an agreement, but is that different when the agent is the one personally purchasing the photos and not the seller paying?
I personally pay for professional photos on my listings. I won’t pay for something I don’t get to keep, and own, for as long as I want to own it.
I would like to know if by putting MY solely owned property, in this case PHOTOS, on MLS, that I lose the RIGHT to OWN and control my photos?
Can an attorney for MetroTex Association of Realtors reply to this question?