It's plagiarism and laziness when a realtor uses someone else's photo and/or text for a listing

Real Estate Agent with Alain Pinel BRE 01367196

Why, or why, will some realtors still use someone else's picture to use in a listing, without at least attempting to see who took the picture and getting permission?

This is a pet peeve.

,,,,since we now have so many digital cameras of all shapes and sizes, at all budget ranges...

....and since many phones today have high-quality, high megapixel built-in cameras...

It smacks of laziness, lack of effort, lack of imagination, and in my opinion, a broken promise to do one's best to service a listing if one simply copies someone else's work, be it a photo or text description.

It's not that hard, folks!  Even a non-professional photographer with an old camera (some folks simply use their phones) can take decent pictures.

I took this photo using an "old" circa 2004 Lumix digital camera

It was nearly at dusk, and I was facing the sun. Thank goodness for the free Picasa photo editing software and the wonders of Microsoft Office Picture Manager, I was able to make this photo quite nice-looking. Nice enough that some folks have used it for their listings at the same building!

The Essex at 1 Lakeside Drive in Oakland CA


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Cliff Keith
Today Sotheby's International Realty - Redwood City, CA
Redwood City Real Estate

I couldn't agree more.  It is so easy to do your own words.

The good thing is when these people are found out...and they always are...others see them for what they really are...doofuses.

Jun 09, 2011 08:25 PM #1
Karen Crowson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Rancho Bernardo, CA
Your Agent for Change

Pacita, it's an MLS violation too. If you see it there, just hit the 'correction' button!  Beautiful photo though :)

Jun 09, 2011 09:14 PM #2
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Cliff--- "doofus" is a mild term for what I think they are

Karen --- I did the correction button twice for the same violation.....nothing happened. The "perpetrator" still kept my photo on her listing.  Are you a night owl too?


Jun 09, 2011 09:30 PM #3
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Doofus is a neat word. Real estate agents, brokers should ask the seller of the property do you have any images of the place without lots of family in them and more of the back yard, the home or property you just listed too. Case in point. Middle of winter, you want images of green grass and floral gardens with sun at the magic time during sunset for some more eye candy to go with the granite counter top and marble fireplace. With so many new cameras and blooming photographers all around us, use those images to weave in to the marketing mix of imagery, copy, real videos too. Until you can take more images as the seasons, weather allows.

Jun 09, 2011 10:09 PM #4
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Our MLS owns the photos on their system.....not the agents OR the property owners.  The MLS has indicated that even OWNERS can not get the photos off the mls HOWEVER, as a member of the MLS, I can use them until I can take BETTER/NEWER photos.....

As a property manager I ROUTINELY, take photos of properties VACANT for future marketing efforts...Owners and DIY landlords need to learn this lesson

Jun 09, 2011 10:43 PM #5
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

When we enter pics in out MLS, those pics become property of the MLS. The MLS authorizes anyone to use them. When someone relists that property a few years down the road, MLS asks the question " Use existing photo?" and you check "yes". You can go back and change it later if you want, but many agents don't, and they don't have to.

 When one of our listings is sold, withdrawn, or expired, we have 30 days to make any changes to it, those include deleting any pics you don't want left with the listing, and deleting or changing any remarks you made.

Jun 10, 2011 12:12 AM #6
Peggy Hughes/pha logistix, inc.
pha logistix inc - San Francisco, CA

Pacita - Isn't there some way to embed your name in the photo?  I'm not tech savvy, but it seems to me that could be one way to control use of your image.  Have a great weekend...

Jun 10, 2011 04:10 AM #7
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

To all

Interesting that different MLS have different rules on use of photos and text description. In our local MLS, it is a violation to use someone else's photo without permission.

It seems that since most of us do take the time and care to present our listings in the best possible light, that it shouldn't open the door to others to simply take and grab someone else's. The lazy agent just seems cheap or can't be bothered to take care of his own listing the way he promised the seller.

Jun 10, 2011 07:17 AM #8
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Update: our MLS was able to get the offending agent to remove use of my photo on her listing. She still has to take her own picture of this building that rises magnificently across Lake Merritt. Ther eare just so many beautiful angles to this building -- surely she can take at least one photo for herself?

Jun 10, 2011 10:02 PM #9
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Pacita Dimacali

Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
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