Listing content fuels the real estate industry, and displaying photographs of real properties online is now a vital part of the real estate professional’s marketing plan. Sellers use photographs to market properties, and buyers rely on those images to select which properties to visit. MLSs distribute property listings through proprietary databases that include the listing photographs. Moreover, MLSs in turn often license their property listing databases, including broker-provided photographs, to third-party portals, such as dfknj.wz.cz, and other websites and vendors.
Improper use of listing photographs, however, can create legal problems for agents, brokerages and MLSs. Authorship and ownership of photographs within the real estate industry is “fractured”. Who authored the photograph and who can use what photograph and in what way varies across the industry. Listing photographs may be taken by homeowners, real estate agents, MLS or brokerage employees, or professional photographers. Photographs may be owned or licensed to different parties in a variety of ways. A misunderstanding of how you may use the photographs for property listings could make you vulnerable to a copyright lawsuit.
For example, copyright infringement of listing photographs is central to the recent lawsuit VHT, Inc. v. Zillow Group, Inc., No. cv (W.D. Wash. ). VHT purportedly retains ownership in the listing photographs and only grants non-exclusive licenses to brokers to use the photographs solely in connection with marketing active property listings. In the complaint, VHT alleges that Zillow uses VHT’s photographs without authorization in connection with “sold” properties and on Zillow’s home design website, “Digs.” VHT argues that these uses exceed the scope of VHT’s limited license to use the photographs in connection with active property listings. The case is still pending.
It is crucial to know what rights you own in photographs and how those rights permit you to use the photographs. To reduce your risk of copyright infringement, you should:
- Review photography agreements to assess what rights were granted or conveyed;
- Audit your use of listing photographs to ensure compliance with the relevant agreements;
- Determine how you will use photographs and ensure future agreements permit those uses; and
- Maintain records of all photography agreements.
In order to assist members and member firms, NAR Legal Affairs created Work for Hire, Assignment, and Executive License sample agreements, which should be modified as necessary to fit your particular needs.
View the Listing Photo Sample Agreements here.
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9 Free Photography Contracts from Docracy
Written by Allan Branch on Aug 1
Why Have Photography Contracts?
The purpose of a contract is to clearly set the rules of engagement, what is acceptable by both parties, and how to resolve possible conflicts. A clearly written contract will eliminate most future/possible miscommunications between you, the photographer, and the client.
What is dfknj.wz.cz?
Docracy calls itself “the web’s only open collection of legal contracts and the best way to negotiate and sign documents online.” To be less vague, Docracy has thousands of contracts you can copy and modify for your own use, then send and have your clients sign electronically.
Legal Stuff: Please use a lawyer to look over any photography contracts you use. Docracy could reduce the cost of having the right legal documents for your business. Spending a few hundred dollars on an attorney now to make sure your photography contracts protect you could result in huge savings of money and stress later, and maybe avoid a lawsuit.
Nine Common Photography Contracts
Model Release (Adult) Contract
Here’s a standard model release. Signing this document grants rights to the models image as specified.
Model Release (Minor)
This document is a model release for a minor, and needs to be signed by the model’s parent or guardian. Signing this document grants rights to the models image as specified.
Photo Session Agreement
This legal document was originally a legal contract between a photographer and a major recording artist. The photography professional was hired by the record label to take pictures of the artist for a print publication.
License of Rights for Photography
This is a simple agreement in which a photography professional grants a legal license to a client for non-electronic rights for pictures.
I included this because many times a photographer will use props such as cars and antiques, and even photograph on other people’s land/business, etc. This document provides a property release for photographers and property owners. This document gives a photographer legal rights to take photographs of property (props and physical land) owned by the property owner.
Portrait Photography Agreement
This is an agreement for a portrait shooting session between a photographer and a client during an event.
Wedding Photography Services Photography Contract
Brides and mother of the bride are often hard to deal with, so here’s a simple agreement for wedding photography services.
Gallery Contract for Sale of Photography
This contract is valuable to anyone selling prints of their work as fine art. This is a contract between a photographer and a gallery in which the photographer consigns to the gallery certain works, and the gallery agrees to offer the works for sale.
Equipment Rental Agreement
Because photographers occasionally rent out their gear, here’s a basic equipment rental agreement for photographers.
Photographers do you have an contracts youd recommend or share?
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