Are There Photographers Rights Violations Going On Here?

June 20th, 2016

BillyJoelThomas in Houston pointed out this listing and said:

I was surfing RE porn and this listing came up. I noticed that Zillow claims the copyright to the photos. I doubt that anyone from Zillow took those pictures. I guess this happens when the portals strip the meta-data and claim the works as their own. Interested in your thoughts.

A couple of things about this listing:

  1. First of all. My interpretation is that the little copyright symbol and the words “image provided by Zillow” in the bottom left of each image isn’t Zillow claiming they own the copyright to the image, it’s the DailyMail.com indicating where they got the photo… they are just saying we got the photo from Zillow… obviously Zillow just got it from some MLS in Florida.
  2. Notice the Billy Joel photo. It says “Copyright Getty Images”. Getty Images has lawyers and will come after publications that infringe on their rights. The Daily Mail probably paid Getty Images or got permission to use that photo.
  3. To really understand whether or not the Daily Mail is out of line for using the listing photos, you have to check with the listing agent. The use of these photos is well within the standard photo licensing that listing agents get from real estate photographers that allow the photos to be used to market the home. Having the photos in the Daily Mail is marketing.

The Bottom line is there likely are no rights violations going on here.

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7 Responses to “Are There Photographers Rights Violations Going On Here?”

  • I agree with Larry’s take on the © symbol.

    I’ve had work featured in the Daily Mail several times but have never been credited. Sometimes my client is credited with copyright, and at least once I have noticed a news syndication agency has claimed copyright. What usually happens is that my client briefs their PR firm to produce a newsworthy article on a property and the PR firm promotes it directly to news outlets, and I guess a syndication agency can become involved somewhere along the line. It’s up to me to insist that my client ensures a proper credit for me.

  • We had this same thing happen when we photographed Michael Jordans house…. basically watermark everything and make them pay more to have the watermark removed. Agents love the pub. but dont care about copyrights or credit.

  • I was going to post that the local MLS put at @ListingBroker on all the images to prevent realtors from taking other realtors photography. I just checked and that has been removed, I guess a photographer’s attorney sent a letter. It was a practice for over a year.

  • Agreed, agents never seem to have much of a clue about copyrights. I’m always reminding agents on our team “We don’t own those images.”

    On a side note I noticed Thomas in Houston used the phrase RE Porn. I bought the domain name RealEstatePorn.com a few years and have been waiting for the right time and inspiration to build something, just never got around to it. If anyone is interested in collaborating with me on a project I have some great ideas and years of online marketing experience, just not enough time to work on it alone. Might even be willing to sell it outright. If interested send me a note!

  • I hadn’t done much research on this in the past, but this article got me thinking about my photos that are sitting on the MLS. Is it common practice for the local MLS to strip off the metadata from the image file, specifically the Copyright metadata? If a realtor likes a set of photos on the MLS, they have no way of finding out who the original photographer was. Are your MLS systems stripping off the copyright?

  • Zillow needs to be slapped if they provided the images as opposed to the Daily Mail just downloading them from the site since Zillow does not have the rights to transfer the images. Since the images are being used in conjunction with marketing the home, the usage follows the spirit of the license I grant to agents. I’d just be miffed that my name wasn’t credited.

    It may take a few large lawsuits to get Zillow/Trulia and Realtor.com to be more cautious about handing out or taking credit for photos that they have no rights to.

  • Do you think they even contacted zillow about the images or just right clicked, saved them and then credited their source? I’m definitely no fan of zillow but who knows, really. My guess would be that they are simply saying that they got the images from zillow and it’s just worded incorrectly.

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