The MLS Advisory Group recently approved MLS rule changes intended to clarify a listing agent’s responsibilities when adding photos and other media to the MLS. The new changes make clear that listing agents must have the necessary authorization form the photo’s copyright owner before submitting it to the MLS.
The copyright owner is generally the person who took the photo unless that person has assigned the copyright to another person. In cases where a listing agent hires a professional photographer to take photos of their listing, the agent should take care to ensure that the photographer (copyright owner) provides an assignment of the photographer’s copyright to the agent or at a minimum provides the agent with a license to use the copyrighted photos within the MLS and on all of the agent’s marketing materials.
This rule also applies to listing agents that wish to re-use photos submitted by another agent on a previous listing and requires the new listing agent to obtain written authorization from the photo’s copyright owner. The MLS Advisory Group has established a $250 fine for failing to obtain the required authorization defined in MLS rule 1.25 below.
1.25 Submission of Media (Images, Virtual Tours, Hyperlinks, and Documents): All media files and hyperlinks submitted to multiple shall contain or link to information pertinent to the listed property only and shall comply with the requirements below. Media previously submitted by a Participant may not be used by other Participants on subsequent listings without written authorization from the copyright owner (The copyright owner is the creator of the original work unless there is a written agreement by which the creator assigns the copyright to another person).
Participant shall assure that any media, including photographs, floor plans, documents or other information pertaining to listed properties that are included in the listing information for which Participant is the designated broker, is included in the MLS System with the written consent of the media’s copyright owner (e.g., previous Participant/Subscriber, homeowner, photographer, builder, architect, etc.).
MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE — SCHEDULE OF FEES AND CHARGES
1. CHARGES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE WITH RULES BY SUBSCRIBERS AND PARTICIPANTS
a. Charges for initial rules violation:
8. For failure to comply with Rule 1.25 there shall automatically be a charge of $250.00 for the first violation and $500.00 for each additional violation.