Fellow Agents Who Use Your MLS Pictures Without Permission!

Reblogger Lenn Harley
Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372

You don't need permission to use the photos taken and published by another, usually the listing, agent.

You need WRITTEN permission.  This is basic copyright law. 

It's also a good idea to review the MLS rules in your area.  They do differ. Some MLSs retain a limited copyright on photos used in listing reports.  Of course, the agent who listed the property and took the
listing photos owns the copyright to those photos.

I believe that an agent who would use the photos belonging to another person would ignore other or all rules and regs that didn't suit them.

It's simple opportunism.



Original content by Paula McDonald TREC #547752

Fellow Agents Who Use Your MLS Pictures Without Permission!


So here we go again on this topic of others using our MLS pictures for their own listings.  We have had enough of dealing with the other companies who freely use our materials.  Having one of your fellow agents whom you just did a deal with is really frustrating!


You simply cannot tell me that any agent would not inherently KNOW that using another agent's pictures without their consent is wrong, wrong, wrong! One could liken this to going into another agent's office and simply taking something off of their desk and keep it as their own.


I just closed a transaction with another agent who then turned around and put the home on the market for lease using every single picture that I paid for and used in my marketing.  I found out by accident when my clients who were the Seller's informed me of this. As you can imagine, I was furious.


I have had other agents call and ask me if they could pay me for the use of the pictures which is the RIGHT thing to do. This agent however, has yet to call, offer to pay or even apologize. Hmmmm, can't imagine that this agent would be appreciative of me doing the same.


I will be contacting her Broker, our local MLS board and I am seriously considering filing an ethics complaint. I would love to hear from my fellow Active Rainer's on this topic.  What would you do?

     Chevaux Group    

"Have you fully lived today?"

   Paula L. McDonald ~ REALTOR®

       Broker ~ The Woodlands, Texas 

 936-203-0279 Direct

Selling The Woodlands real estate and surrounding areas!




 John Maxwell

Farm & Ranch


Million DollarInstitute for Luxury Home MarketingCILHM Designation    ABR



Copyright 2015 Paula McDonald


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Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

Lenn Harley You have preached this for so long that I only use pictures that I take. Thank you.

Bill Roberts

Oct 01, 2015 12:31 AM #1
Andrzej Niemyjski
Realty One Group - Sun City West, AZ

I know in my area we have to get permission from copyright owner and thats not necessary listing agent even if they paid for photographer to come out and take pictures of a house.

Oct 01, 2015 02:04 AM #2
DEANNA EARLY - - ( NMLS # 268590 )
American National Bank & Trust - Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Highest Ranked Mortgage Loan Originator Virginia

Nothing is free in life like your integrity.   Don't give it away.   Maintain proper ethics and you will succeed.  

Oct 01, 2015 06:23 AM #3
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I have never tried to use a photo from another listing, but I know our MLS watermarks all the photo's and they are the ownership of the MLS once they are submitted to the listing.

Oct 01, 2015 07:02 AM #4
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Lenn, The answer is a word is NO I would not. It seems that some people feel a right of entitlement simply because they are just too darn lazy to do their own work ... and want to ride off the work of others.  Shameful and most definitely an issue with copyright.

Oct 01, 2015 07:50 AM #5
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Lenn it take getting hit with a fine or penalty for some people to abide by the rules, so may be more of that needs to happen for them to stop.

Oct 01, 2015 09:33 AM #6
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

We have the copyright on the published photos being our local MLS, with the agent maintaining it.  It's a lot better when someone lifts the RMLS photo, and having them go after the sticky fingered culprit!

Oct 01, 2015 11:06 AM #7
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Lenn.  Nobody gets punished for breaking the laws.  It keeps going on.

Oct 01, 2015 09:40 PM #8
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Bill.  No doubt you're a better photographer today.

Andrzej.  Written permission is the only safe way to go.

Deanna.  Well said.

William.  Absolutely.  Most MLSs are very careful to protect their content.

Kathleen.  I suspect that the folks who steal copyrights would not care about other areas of integrity either.

George.  HA!  I agree and have made some pay dearly when they steal my copyrights.

Carla.  Good plan for the listing agent and MLS.

Conrad.  That's true in most cases.  That's because the victim doesn't know how to follow through and force compliance.  I must say that the NAR has been less than helpful in this matter.



Oct 01, 2015 09:51 PM #9
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Lenn Harley,

You are right this practice of using other agents photos is quite simply opportunistic!

Oct 01, 2015 10:37 PM #10
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland


Indeed.  Opportunistic AND illegal.

Oct 02, 2015 10:24 PM #11
Maureen Fukumoto
Help-U-Sell Realty Pro - Mililani, HI

I use a professional photograper for most of my listings so it is particularly offensive.  One agent used an ocean view photograph from my listing since his listing's view was not as good.  How deceptive!

I've never had to pursue it beyond a call to the broker.

Oct 09, 2015 10:36 AM #12
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Maureen.  I wanted compensation under the copyright law and got it.

I have registered copyrights for graphic maps and pursued copyright violators.


Oct 11, 2015 02:24 AM #13
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I see it all the time and it baffles me as to why the agents think just because it is in MLS you can use it on your personal website or blog without the written permission.

Oct 12, 2015 12:43 AM #14
Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Thanks for the re-blog on this Lenn.  I have sent the agent an Invoice of which she has yet to respond.  I am staying on it for the principal of the matter.

Oct 12, 2015 02:18 AM #15
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Debbie.  I've watched it for years. 

I've been an interested observer and a beneficiary of lawsuit damages.  I do make copyright violators pay.

Paula.  That probably won't work.  It didn't for me until my attorney send a CEASE AND DEMAND FOR DAMAGES LETTER to the thief and their broker. 

Oct 12, 2015 02:45 AM #16
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Just had an agent call me for advice on a former listing. I asked him to remove all of my photos and he did it that same day. No call to the broker, no reporting.

Oct 17, 2015 11:37 AM #17
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Margaret.  He probably didn't understand the rule about photos.

Oct 18, 2015 11:57 PM #18
Robert Schwabe
EXP Realty - Orange Park, FL
Orange Park Real Estate

Lenn, I'm so fed up with agents stealing my community photos from my website and adding them to their listings. I download the picture and go into the data of the picture and picture data shows it's mine.  I contact my MLS and they just rather not be bothered and pretty much said oh well. Drives me crazy.

Dec 02, 2015 05:16 AM #19
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