March 10th, 2016
Rob in the Boston area asked the following:
I’ve been shooting real estate now for about 1 1/2 years. Fast forward and about 400 shoots later and thousands of images, I have processed all of these images with a faint watermark image followed by the copyright symbol (see example to the right). The MLS in MA has not objected nor have the agents. However, all my collegues (competitors) do not do the same. They do not watermark nor copyright their images. There are number of exceptional real estate photographers who are very established and have done this line of work 3, 4, 5 times as many years as I have and to my knowledge, no watermark image. Should I continue watermarking my images?
Yes, absolutely, I think you should continue to watermark your images. If you care about relicensing your images it’s a subtle reminder to agents and others that you are defending your copyright.
Very likely, the reason others in your area aren’t doing the same is that they just don’t want to bother. I think that many real estate shooters just don’t want to put in the time and effort it takes to make clear their licensing terms to their clients and relicense their listing photos. Despite the fact that every time we talk about copyright and photo licensing we always have many commenters promote copyright and relicensing their images, my guess that a large percentage of real estate photographers don’t bother. This is probably why agents typically know so little about the subject.
Recently, I had a reader pose the question “How many PFRE readers pay attention to photo licensing?” The following poll is designed to answer that question: