Who owns those images? In your blog? Of your listings?

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I spend a lot of time reading real estate blogs - But I always wonder where those great images come from.  Are people just grabbing images off a google image search?  Snagging photos or comics from other websites?  If you are - they are probably copyrighted images. 

If you didn't personally take the photo - you don't have the right to use it.  

That's right - if you didn't take it personally.  That includes the photo of that new listing.  It's an easy to remember rule of thumb.  If you start from that premise - there is less of a chance you'll get in trouble.  But it doesn't mean you can't use images on the internet.  If you find an image you like on the web - you'll need to look for the copyright info attached to that image.  

That being said -there are plenty of places you can find free images on the internet.  Some sites will require you to pay a membership fee to use their photos.  Others will require that you deposit money into an account - and then download photos that use up "points" that equal dollars

Rather than try to "Be The Expert" I always like to point people to an authority on the subject.

Most STOCK or FREE photos on the web will give you the right to use the photos on your blog, website etc.  But if you plan to reprint those images on brochures, tshirts, mugs or the like - a different license and fee is usually required.  Here are a few great resources you can if you want images for your blog or website.  Read the copyright section of each to determine how you can use the photos:


All the resource related links in this post are available at the Blue60.com Directory of Resources for Real Estate Professionals.  Blue60.com is a human edited diretory of links for real estate agents, loan officers & appraisers.  If you're looking for anything related to the business of Real Estate - you'll find it at Blue60.com

 Blue60.com Resource Directory for Real Estate Professionals 



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Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

Bo, having read Lenn and TLW's post - I am scared of all of the sites, even if they say FREE.

May 12, 2008 04:33 PM #1
Roberta LaRocca
Simply Vegas Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
REALTOR®, Broker, Salesperson, NV. Lic BS.507

Bo, I have not been using pictures unless they were not taken by my husband.  So, I keep him busy taking pictures! 

May 12, 2008 04:41 PM #2
Erik Hitzelberger
RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes - Louisville, KY
Louisville - Middletown Real Estate

Fortunately, I stumbled across Lenn's posts early in my AR travels.  I have read all 18 and they have opened my eyes to the mass scale of copyright infringement that goes on here.  For the most part, I believe it to be innocent mistakes.  Hopefully, your post will serve as a lesson as well.  

May 12, 2008 04:45 PM #3
Mary Warren
Las Vegas, NV

I use clipart from several free sites, other than that I use only photographs that I take!  We have a lot of upscale new high rises here in town...I have e-mailed and asked permission to repost their pictures and have always received a 'no problem' reply.  But I save all those e-mails for proof just in case.

May 12, 2008 04:52 PM #4
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

You have to read the FINE PRINT.  Some are stock phots with strict terms of use.  Once you've used them, they are generally yours to use...but it varies from site to site.  I take 90% of my OWN PHOTOS. And I do use a A LOT OF PHOTOS. But nothing is better for getting consumers to contact you than good photographs.

May 12, 2008 04:57 PM #5
Vickie Nagy
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Palm Springs, CA
Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen

I have used only photos from my own personal digital camera on my blogs and my listings.

May 12, 2008 05:16 PM #6
Bo Buchanan
Blue60.com - Oswego, IL
Blue60.com Directory, For Real Estate Pronulls

RuthMarie & Virginia - You are both right in that you must read the usage rules.  I'm pretty confident using photos from FreeFoto.com - because their usage statement implicitly states you can use them for commercial use on blogs as long as you provide a link back and attribution of the image.  Here is the free use language from their site:

FreeFoto.com Free Use Rules - "ANYONE, by which we mean commercial and non-commercial alike, can use FreeFoto.com images in an online setting, providing they provide attribution to the image and a link back to FreeFoto.com (either the image or the main site). This license allows blogs, social networking sites and use in emails, just to name a few, providing they provide the required attribution, this includes sites that pay people to write, carry advertising or are selling and promoting products. The only requirement the attribution and link back."

May 12, 2008 05:25 PM #7
Kevin O'Shea
Coldwell Banker - White Plains, NY
White Plains, NY Real Estate

Great information, people aren't always aware that photos are copywrited.  There are so many new ways to get in trouble  :)

All the best

May 12, 2008 05:32 PM #8
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


This is becoming a hot topic as more websites are guarding their pictures and copyrights. And rightfully so. Have to read Lenn's post about this issue. Thanks for those links.

May 12, 2008 05:32 PM #9
Bo Buchanan
Blue60.com - Oswego, IL
Blue60.com Directory, For Real Estate Pronulls

For anyone who hasn't read Lenn Harley's series on copyright info - DO IT NOW.  She is definitely the source here at Active Rain when it comes to copyright. Here is a link to Lenn Harley's community support articles on copyright info.

May 12, 2008 05:38 PM #10
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections - Houston, TX

Bo, there is a little known or enforced law here in Texas, and I believe it exists in other states too. If you take a picture of a home the image belongs to the homeowner. If they do not like how you used their image, they could technically order you to pull it. I am only aware of it, since an inspector I know had an issue with a lawyer, who felt that his home was misrepresented by a photo taken by the inspector. Another thing to woory about? Probably not, but something to consider.

May 12, 2008 11:15 PM #11
M. Suzi Woods (Gravenstuk)
NOW Sharing the life and spice of the GC one day at a time - Grand Canyon, AZ
Suzi Woods, Prior Independent REBroker in MS

Bo, great topic. I am also a fan of Lenn Harley. Actually, I have been re-occupied lately, so I need to pay her a visit. In the meantime, My photos are my own, its an extension of my REal estate personality. Clip art is Microsoft license. I almost used some of the free sites, but I don't like the fine print. So other than photographing the Magic of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I am plain Jane, or Simply Suzi.



May 14, 2008 07:18 AM #12
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