Which side of the fence do you fall on?

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

There's a little party going on in the Q&A area, over the "What's wrong with someone borrowing your photographs?" issue.

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of grey area in this one... most seem to fall on one side, or t'other of this issue.  They are  all "peace love and understanding" with "What's the big deal?", and "I'm flattered they liked my photos enough to 'borrow' them."

Just so you know... I fall on the "cease, desist and pending lawsuit" side of this little love-fest.  My pix, is my pix and I'm gonna be pretty territorial about it.  I pay for professional photography for my listings.  And I subscribe to a clip art service for the graphics I use on my blog, in order to be sure that I'm not infringing on someone else's property... (in other words... "stealing").

Len Harley, who used to be a force to be dealt with, here in the rain, used to chase copyright abusers who dared to steal her graphics with a double-barrelled lawsuit, and made a tidy income from the chase.

Tammy Lankford claims to have chased, and won, some dollars in the same pursuit (and I totally believe her).

Sorry... if I've gone through the effort of either taking photos or paying for photography, the very least the purloiner can do is "ask" for permission to borrow the images.

I don't object to allowing someone to use my images... but it should be a decision  on my part... an actual decision... not an accidental discovery whilst cruising the mls or internet.

Fair warning. Y'all know who you are.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Real Estate Best Practices
Diary of a Realtor
Blogs Happen...
Bartender, Make it a Double
tammy lankford

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

In this case, it is always better to ask for permission first.  There is little forgiveness for blatant theft.  

Sep 06, 2018 07:37 PM #23
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Oh the newspaper's attorney tried real hard with the "it's not for profit" when the offending newspaper plastered it on the cover of a magazine they published (they sold ads in the magazine) but didn't "sell" the magazine.  My attorney fed them their .... 

MY BFF is a retired Atlanta attorney who move to the lake 20 some odd years ago with younger me as her agent.  She had some very high paid legal friends in the copyright law business. 

The best/most fun part was they had to go pick them up out of the racks and deliver them to me.   

The second offender was Office Max and the restaurant with my photo on their drink menu was totally innocent and I let him keep it there.  He already referred business to me.  Office Max on the other hand... 

Sep 06, 2018 08:37 PM #24
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Alan,

Definitely on your side of the fence. Do not copy my homework without my permission.

Sep 06, 2018 08:52 PM #25
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I agree. If I'm going to spend my time taking and retaking photos to get them just right, and then someone else comes along and swipes them and plops them somewhere without doing any work? That does not sit well with me.

Sep 07, 2018 03:03 AM #26
Suzanne Strickler
Realty Mark Associates - Havertown, PA
School is never out for the Successful.

With Smartphones that take better pictures then my old digital camera, Pixabay and Unsplash, WHY does anyone feel a need to steal a photo? Just a rhetorical, rambling thought.

Sep 07, 2018 07:08 AM #27
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Play by the rules...or else!  I especially agree on the photos--using them without permission is stealing.

Sep 07, 2018 08:34 AM #28
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Never mind if someone asks permission, but taking the attitude it is easier to ask forgiveness than ask permission is wrong.

Sep 07, 2018 09:27 AM #29
Patrick Willard
Rio Rancho, NM


As a hobby photographer I'm in several photography groups that have professional photographer members. Most photographers retain their copyright and ownership of their photos. Generally, even if you are paying a pro for listing photos you do not own them, you own a license to use them. I shoot my own, not to save money but because I enjoy it. I also fall on the cease and desist side and I have threatened legal action on one more than one broker who stole listing photos. One actually used three year old listing photos of mine, which is not only stealing but not an accurate representation of the property.


Sep 07, 2018 10:05 AM #30
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I agree with you - and I feel the same about the words I write.

Sep 07, 2018 11:23 AM #31
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Alan- your side of the fence is getting mighty crowded and you can add me there as well. I pay for clip-art that I might need and take everything else myself. I also do the photo editing which can take some time. This really makes me miss Lenn!!!  

Sep 07, 2018 12:17 PM #32
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

We always try to get the professional listing photos from the previous management companies or listing agent's wherever we can.  When they hand them over with permission that is good enough for us. 

Sep 07, 2018 03:06 PM #33
Anna Banana Kruchten Arizona's Top Banana!
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Alan May I so agree!  I have caught a few agents stealing my photos that I paid a photographer for or I took them. Take them down now kids....or be fined or worse.

Sep 07, 2018 04:16 PM #34
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Yes to this side of it Too...

Sep 07, 2018 05:31 PM #35
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Thanks for highlighting a real issue - we appreciate this kind of exchange

Sep 07, 2018 05:39 PM #36
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I’m not as well informed and some of these areas, so thank you for the education sincerely. Keep up the thorough blogging.

Sep 07, 2018 07:36 PM #37
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Sometimes, things have to be spoken of, no matter how uncomfortable complicated. I can really relate to it in that way. Lise Howe

Sep 07, 2018 07:38 PM #38
Jon Quist
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996

Theft is theft. Period. If you don't own it, don't use it. Get free stock photos, or buy some. Don't steal.

Sep 07, 2018 11:56 PM #39
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


I'm on your side of the fence. Nope, stealing my photos is theft, not flattery, just as is taking one of my posts and using it as your own. Don't be so lazy! If I do find out I WILL go after you!


Sep 08, 2018 08:21 PM #40
Joe Daniels, Broker, Appraiser, Realtor(R),
Personal Service Realty - Jacksonville, FL

But Alan,

Both FANNIE AND FREDDIE  think its OK to steal appraisers data from reports,, use it as their own, and not even give the appraisers that they stole it from access to the data they have collected. If this is allowed  to continue nothing in the internet is above poaching. But then as a broker/appraiser that took his first photography class back in college in the 70'S maybe I'm too old to understand.


Sep 09, 2018 01:24 AM #41
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I'm with you 100%, Alan! How on EARTH can people be so lazy as to not either take or pay to have their own photos done? 

I'm still faced with a local agent who has MY photos on her FB wall...as her header photo. Long story but, at this point, my hands are tied and it's EVER-SO frustrating! This has been going on for at least 2 years now. ARRRGH!

Oh and yes, Tammy did that - you are right to believe her! And she WON...and I love it!

Sep 12, 2018 09:52 AM #42
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Alan May

There's no place like home.
Ask me a question