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Online Continuing Education

LEGAL Q & A

LEGAL CORNER
presented by



Stephanie M. Weaver, Board Counsel
 

                               
COMPLIANCE ISSUES WITH PHOTOS
OCTOBER 17, 2014
 

Issues involving the use of photos recently came up with one of our members (through no fault of the member!), but the situation provides a good learning opportunity.  In the United States we provide protection to owners for photographs and images as a “work product”—essentially intellectual property.  We have for-profit “banks” of such photos, who keep the images protected for its photographers and owners.  One well known institution is Getty images.  It regularly patrols the web searching for the unauthorized use of copyrighted images.   Inadvertently you may have a photo that appears on your website from an IDX data feed. 

If you are contacted by Getty or any other photo “bank” making such a claim and demanding damages, first ascertain where the image comes from.  This photo was attached to a listing from XYZ brokerage agency , listed by John Doe.  If John Doe had used the image owned by the photo bank, he would have needed to gain copyright permission to do so.  If he did not have permission from the photo bank to use the image, then the issue is between the bank and XYZ brokerage agency.

The MLS requires in our Rules & Regulations that brokers and agents must have copyright to all information they provide to the MLS.  Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, if a website displays content that others have provided to you (and the content is in violation of copyright), you have protection if you meet these criteria:

1.  As owner of the website you must not have been aware of the violation.

2.  You must act and do what you can do to remove the violation and to alert your MLS and feeds.

3.  You cannot have received financial benefit as a result of the violation.

4.  Your website must provide contact information so that such complaints can be received.

5.  You should forward the complaint to any identified brokerage firm. 

6.  You should respond in writing to such complaints and make clear that you are not the owner of the listing using the photo in question, nor responsible for the use or advertising of the photo, and the steps you have taken in response to the complaint.

 

Respectfully Submitted
Stephanie M Weaver
Board Counsel

 

Stephanie M. Weaver, Attorney Stephanie M. Weaver
Law Offices of Stephanie Weaver
174 West Street
Litchfield  CT  06759

 

If there is a particular topic you feel Attorney Weaver should address which would be of interest/help to Members, please let us know. We will make certain Attorney Weaver receives the information......Thank you.