April 5th, 2017
Ted in Indiana says:
After sparring with my local real estate board for years, I’m on their radar screen and they’re coming after me with everything, from blacklisting me with brokers, telling agents they don’t have to pay me if I use a copyright, telling agents with active listings they have to remove pictures with copyright info on the pictures. In short, they want to shut me down.
Do I fight? Can I report agents that refuse to pay to the police for theft of services? Can I take them to small claims court for not paying their balances? Can I report them to the state licensing Groups? They are hitting me with everything they have to intimidate me into following their orders. While they imply I’m the one breaking the law, they offer no proof. I need all the legal help I can get. I’m reaching out to you first to get an idea for what game plan to follow. Can I use social; media as a platform to gather attention?
It sounds like you are in a feud with your local MLS and there are two issues that you are you are having trouble with:
- Putting a copyright watermark on your photos: real estate photographers need to follow the rules of the local MLS. Many MLSs in the US don’t allow watermarked photos. You don’t have a choice in this. Your clients are members of the local MLS and have to follow the MLS rules. This means you in term have to follow them too. You are NOT going to change this. Get used to it. It’s not big a deal anyway. Sure there are benefits to you if you have images watermarked but you can’t break MLS rules, or change them!
- Not getting paid for shoots: The classic way to deal with agents that don’t pay is collect your fee up front at the shoot or when you deliver the photos. Very easy. Just use SquareUp so you can accept credit cards. Many real estate photographers do this. See this poll.
In summary, as a real estate photographer, life will be better if you comply with the rules of your local MLS. Sure there will be many things you don’t like but it’s not worth trying to fight them.