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Photo-Free-for-All- Can You Use Someone Else's Pictures?

The Internet is a big, big place, and many Realtors believe that its somewhat of a free-for-all. However, thats not the case; actually, you could find yourself paying a pretty penny if you use someone elses listing photographs or information as your own.Can you use that photo- Benchmark Realty

Can You Use Another Realtors Photos?

A couple of recent court cases involving Realtors using photos that they didnt own didnt work out too well for the offending agents. Its much cheaper to take your own photos or purchase them outright than to end up paying a court-ordered fine (plus court fees) if youre found guilty of infringing someone elses copyright.

And just for the record, as soon as you click the shutter button, the resulting photo is copyrighted and belongs to you.

Why You Shouldnt Want to Use Another Realtors Photos

Aside from the fact that using another agents photos on your listing is considered stealing, there are several reasons you shouldnt want to use them.

First, youre not doing your clients any favors. Its your job to find the most attractive angles, the most unique shots and the best views so you can spark interest in your clients properties. When people searching for properties see the same photos on every website, theres nothing left to make you stand out.

Second, you can use photography as a selling point for your services. We already know that high-resolution photos bring in more money, and you can let your clients know that youre willing to go the extra mile to get them as much as possible on the sale.

When its Okay to Use Online Photos

If you have written express permission from the owner, youre allowed to use pictures you find online. You can also use them if theyre licensed for public use under Creative Commons. Beware of trolling through the internet looking for photos, taking a screen shot and using them on your website. It is not uncommon to have to pay a fine well over $1000 for unauthorized use of copyrighted images. In many cases, people post photos youre allowed to use as long as you give them credit in a prominent place; some also require a link back to their website. When in doubt, ask permission!

If Someone Uses Your Photos Without Permission

Its illegal for someone to use your photographs without permission. In most cases, Realtors are simply unaware that theyre doing anything wrong; a simple phone call to request they take your photos down usually resolves the issue with no hard feelings.

However, its not always that easy. If youre absolutely sure that its your photo and its being used by someone else, and the agent wont remove the photos him- or herself, contact the website hosting company and file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act form. You can also contact an attorney if youre not making any headway.

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