REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY: WHO OWNS THE PHOTOS
Using someone else’s work is illegal. We understand you want to use the best pictures out there to market your listing but stealing someone else’s picture to marketing your listing may cause trouble.
It’s a big deal. We had three houses in the past month where other agents used pictures our team had taken without our permission or the permission of the agent who paid for the pictures. At Cynthia James Photography we license the use of the images to the listing agent at the time the photo is taken and only the listing agent. Not their broker, not other agents in the office. Only the agent who purchased the property photography has permission to use those photos. If a listing chances to another agent, they can not sell or give away the photos to the new agent. They would need to contact the original photographer to get a new license. This is standard practice.
Don’t do it. You can not, I repeat can not, use any pictures you find on Google or any other search engine or social media site you want in your listing, marketing, or on your social media pages. Under current copyright laws, the copyright of any photography remains with the photographer unless specifically agreed upon and you must have written permission from the owner. Anything other that that, well, you are in violation and the photographer can sue you for copyright laws which can be $10,000 per image.
MRIS sign on message. This past week MRIS had a sign on message regarding this matter to all registered agents that this is against their policy; it is against the policy of Realtor.com; it is against the National Association of Realtors policy and the list goes on and on. Hummm… is this the warning message before people start getting fined?
It’s not worth it. Just because you do a search and see a picture online doesn’t mean you can use it for your listing. If you use do you may see a message pop-up on your MRIS page that you need to remove the photo and/or you are being fined and/or worse, sued. Is using that picture worth $1,000 or even $100,000 fine when you could have contacted the owner and purchased the same image for $25? Be aware that watermark removal is also a crime. Watermarks are not always seen on the actual photos, but in the photos metatag done by the photographers camera while the photo is taken, so while you see no watermark, the data is still there.
I only need one picture. Lets say it the middle of winter and you’re listing a house but being it’s winter the community pool is closed and there are no leaves on the tree so you can’t run over and snap the perfect summer day picture so you think no problem, I got this. I’ll search Google and find a picture and all your problems are solved. But it’s not that easy. When you need a picture(s) of community amenities (doesn’t matter the time of the year) don’t Google community photos for Embry Mill, Idlewild, Colonial Forge, Augustine, or other subdivisions in northern VA and think you have rights to use any photos that appear. You don’t have permission or the rights to use that photo. The only time you have permission to use photos you find on Google is with written permission or if the images is “labeled for reuse”. How do you know if an image is labeled for reuse? On Google, from the images tab, clicking the “search tools” link. Next, click the “Usage rights” tab and click labeled for reuse. The pictures that appear there are the only pictures on Google that you legally can use without written permission, anything else is stealing.
Local real estate pictures. If you are in need of a local picture, whether it’s a picture of community amenities for a subdivision in Stafford, Northern VA, Fredericksburg, or the surrounding area, a stock photo of Northern VA for a flyer you are working on, or an aerial shot of a community, call our team. Chances are we have a stock image we can sell you or we are happy to go onsite and take pictures for you.