July 5th, 2015
Last week Les asked the following:
Your site has great info and it is helping my wife and I as we get started in our real estate careers. I do have a question though…
My wife and i just left an agency for a new agency. The broker from the previous agency is insisting that the pictures we took of the listings we had are now his since he has taken over the listing. he says that when we left the agency that we abandoned the images. I am furious that he continues to use our work and profit by it. There was no agreement in writing. Do we have recourse? I do not give him permission to use the images. May I sell them to him?
First of all I’m not a lawyer so this isn’t legal advice, just my opinion. I think in the case you describe there are a couple of things to think about:
- Yes you own the rights to the photos and could probably stop your previous broker from using them. But in most situations the broker has the rights to the listing when a listing agent leaves the office.
- My experience from being an agent with my wife for a long while in the Seattle market is that in the big scheme of things having a great relationship and reputation with all the brokers and agents in you local market is much more important than a few listing photos. One day you are going to be on the opposite side of a transaction with your old broker and if you don’t have a good relationship with him you won’t be able to do a good job representing your client like you need to.
So yes, you are probably right, the photos are yours but in the over all scheme of things what happens to these listing photos is inconsequential! Just walk away! If you were a photographer only rather than a Realtor my answer would be different.