New Services on the Way
Carl R. DeMusz, Yes-MLS CEO
With the arrival of Autumn in Northeast Ohio, comes the last of our Service Seminars for 2019. One of our highest priorities has been for Yes-MLS to have as much in-person communications with our membership as possible.
The 1st quarter of 2020 will bring exciting new products and services to our almost 13,000 members and subscribers. We will be adding security like we never have before. This will include personal security, security for your listings, and personal safety to be included as part of your membership.
Personal security is to be provided by Real Safe Agent with your member community engagement. The Real Estate community will be connected with each other, and the police, with sophisticated GPS, audio, and a 911 direct communications piece. This proven technology is ready to go and will be launched to everyone in late 2019. Real Safe Agent will also include for the first time, wire fraud protection. This new technology will work with secure chatrooms along with other technology to prevent wire fraud for you and your clients as a Yes-MLS member benefit. Real Safe Agent is so confident in this service they will provide our members who use it with a $1 million insurance policy against wire fraud.
Security for your listings will be provided by Supra in the form of eKey access via your smartphone. This will be offered as part of your dues in 2020. Look for more details about this in the coming months.
There will be more products and services announced as part of our Strategic Initiatives for 2020. Now more than ever before, membership and participation in Yes-MLS is your road to success.
Recently, Showing Time acquired CSS, and this is good news for the technology and personal services of your showing service in Yes-MLS. As you know, these two companies were formerly competitors with each having some benefits over the other. As one company they will now combine all of those strengths to deliver the absolute best service.
Look for more details in this newsletter, and in future notifications.
Enjoy the Autumn selling season.
Carl R. DeMusz, RCE, CMLS2
President & CEO
All Cloud Agent Suite Products FREE Until 2020
It’s that time of year, here at W+R Studios we want to help savvy real estate agents like you crush all of your real estate goals by offering our entire suite of products - Cloud CMA, Cloud Streams, Cloud MLX, and Cloud Attract - FREE until 2020.
Built with agents in mind, every product has been designed to give you the best tools in real estate while also making you look awesome in front of your clients. So what are you waiting for?
Discover the entire suite:
Cloud CMA - Presentations that sell.
With Cloud CMA you can easily create beautiful CMA Reports, Buyer Tours, Property Reports, and Flyers all designed to help you win more listings. With Cloud CMA you can add off-market listings to your reports or choose comps from an interactive map.
Now including Cloud CMA’s newest feature - Homebeat. With Homebeat you can automatically stay in touch with your past clients and homeowners by setting them up to receive automated, online CMAs. Plus, your branding and contact info are front-and-center so when they are ready to sell, they know who to call!
New Cloud Streams – Beautiful listing alerts.
Faster than Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Realtor.com, and even your MLS – The NEW Cloud Streams gives your buyers real-time listing alerts the moment a property hits the market. Now with a new activity stream on the agent dashboard, you can easily keep track of all client activity in one place! Plus, with the new Cloud Streams you can create a client stream faster than ever to help you dial in exactly what your clients are looking for.
Cloud MLX – Your MLS, Smarter.
Cloud MLX is the industry’s only smart MLS interface. Tailor-made so the more you use Cloud MLX, the more personalized it becomes. Just search like you think and in seconds smart autocomplete immediately shows you results so that you can easily save and share listings with your clients. Cloud MLX automatically connects with your Cloud CMA and Cloud Streams accounts, so you can create reports or listing alerts faster than before. And since you’re always on the go, we’ve designed Cloud MLX to work great on any device - phone, tablet, or computer- so you’ll always have the same experience no matter where you are searching the MLS.
Cloud Attract – Generate your own leads.
The best leads come from your sphere of influence! With Cloud Attract you can easily connect to potential buyers and sellers with elegant landing pages that automatically respond with a home valuation, CMA, or listing alerts. Choose from the ready to go landing page templates, or you can even customize your landing page to fit your branding and market. Easily share these landing pages anywhere you want – social media, your website, community groups, online advertising, etc. The options are endless! Plus, Cloud Attract makes it easier than ever to track the ROI for every marketing you run. Create unlimited pages for each of your marketing efforts so you can finally know which campaigns are working, and which ones are not!
Who Owns Your Property Photos?
CHLOE HECHT, NAR ASSOCIATE COUNSEL
Listing content fuels the real estate industry, and displaying photographs of real properties online is now a vital part of the real estate professional's marketing plan. Sellers use photographs to market properties, and buyers rely on those images to select which properties to visit. MLSs distribute property listings through proprietary databases that include the listing photographs. Moreover, MLSs in turn often license their property listing databases, including broker-provided photographs, to third-party portals, such as REALTOR.com, and other websites and vendors.
Improper use of listing photographs, however, can create legal problems for agents, brokerages and MLSs. Authorship and ownership of photographs within the real estate industry is "fractured". Who authored the photograph and who can use what photograph and in what way varies across the industry. Listing photographs may be taken by homeowners, real estate agents, MLS or brokerage employees, or professional photographers. Photographs may be owned or licensed to different parties in a variety of ways. A misunderstanding of how you may use the photographs for property listings could make you vulnerable to a copyright lawsuit.
For example, copyright infringement of listing photographs is central to the recent lawsuit VHT, Inc. v. Zif/ow Group, Inc., No. 2:14-cv-1096 (W.D. Wash. 2015). VHT purportedly retains ownership in the listing photographs and only grants nonexclusive licenses to brokers to use the photographs solely in connection with marketing active property listings. In the complaint, VHT alleges that Zillow uses VHT's photographs without authorization in connection with "sold" properties and on Zillow's home design website, "Digs." VHT argues that these uses exceed the scope of VHT's limited license to use the photographs in connection with active property listings. The case is still pending.
It is crucial to know what rights you own in photographs and how those rights permit you to use the photographs. To reduce your risk of copyright infringement, you should:
- Review photography agreements to assess what rights were granted or conveyed;
- Audit your use of listing photographs to ensure compliance with the relevant agreements;
- Determine how you will use photographs and ensure future agreements permit those uses; and
- Maintain records of all assignments and licenses.
Sample License Agreements
In order to assist members and member firms, NAR Legal Affairs created sample license agreements, which should be modified as necessary to fit your particular needs.
These documents are provided as a sample, and are not intended to be and do not constitute legal advice, or a substitute for specific legal advice or opinions. The user of this sample document should not use this document without consulting legal counsel. The use of this document should be modified to address the specific legal needs of the user.
Work for Hire Agreement: This sample agreement provides that the commissioned photographs are a "Work for Hire", which means the commissioning party is the automatic owner of the photographs from their creation.
Assignment Agreement: In this sample agreement, the photographer assigns all right, title and interest in the photographs to the broker.
Exclusive License Agreement: A photographer may want to retain its ownership of the photographs. In this sample agreement, the photographer grants to the broker an exclusive license to display and distribute the photographs in connection with the real estate industry.
Centralized Showing Service Joins ShowingTime
A Win for Our Clients
To say we’re excited would be an understatement.
With CSS joining ShowingTime it means Yes-MLS agents, teams, brokers and offices will have access to the
most powerful showing management and market stats technologies and expert resources available in the
residential real estate industry today. The result? An even more seamless experience for members and their
buyers and sellers.
CSS and ShowingTime bring together a combined 43 years of experience helping real estate professionals
and their clients use technology to efficiently manage showings and feedback, while also providing market
reports, recruiting tools and other software products.
Key Points for Yes-MLS members:
- Your appointment phone number and the staff answering the phones will remain the same
- All of your data will be preserved: instructions, agent settings, showings and feedback will be just as
they are now
- The scheduling links in the MLS will be automatically updated
- There is no change in your pricing or terms of service
- This is just an update to the latest software available from Centralized Showing Service and
CSS customers in Yes-MLS will be moved to the ShowingTime platform on November 19, 2019. Training will be
available in person and via online webinars. Stay tuned for details!
The MLS provided, free service will be discontinued on December 31, 2019. If you are currently using the MLS
free service, we are here to get you set up on the Appointment Center Service. Meanwhile, Trenlli will be
disabled on November 19, 2019.
We will continue to innovate and build new products focused on making the home showing and selling
process as efficient as possible for all parties involved, supplemented by easy-to-use market statistics and
recruiting tools that will help you grow and succeed.
Migration questions: 800-270-1002
Wait! That’s My Listing Photo!
Erica Christoffer, REALTOR MAGAZINE (magazine.realtor)
In the world of real estate photography, image quality isn’t the only thing that counts. To ensure you’re doing right by your clients and your company, you need to understand and follow best practices in real estate photography law and technology.
It’s not unusual for Shannon Hall to be scrolling through her social media news feeds and find agents from other firms sharing listing photos that belong to her agents. “I find images weekly that agents share on Facebook or Instagram from their personal and business pages,” says Hall, broker-owner of Dwellings by Rudy & Hall, outside of Detroit. “A lot of them don’t realize they can’t use images they don’t own.”
When she spots a photo that she believes an agent doesn’t have the rights or license to use, she makes a call. She explains the issue and asks them to remove the photo from their page. If she can’t get through, or if the agent won’t cooperate, she contacts the broker. But even outreach to broker-owners can be an exercise in frustration if they aren’t vigilant about monitoring misuses or taking action, says Hall. “Most brokers are [not paying attention to] what their agents do on social media.”
Knowing how important attractive, high-quality photography is for marketing properties, real estate pros may spend considerable time on obtaining great listing photos but overlook some critical legal aspects, including who owns the photos and videos and who has the right to give others permission to use these images or videos. But ignoring questions of legal ownership is wrong and poses serious legal risks.
Real estate is in a similar state as the publishing and music industries of the early 2000s, when the internet and the proliferation of digital content forced those businesses to readdress intellectual property laws and licensing as illegal music downloads escalated. Now real estate photographers are grappling with similar copyright and permissions issues related to the unchecked use of images showing up on websites and social media feeds.
“Photographs get lumped in with listing data, but they’re not listing data; they’re intellectual property."
“Photographs get lumped in with listing data, but they’re not listing data; they’re intellectual property, and there are laws that govern how they’re used,” says Brian Balduf, CEO of VHT Studios, the nation’s largest real estate photography service and a leader in the burgeoning movement to crack down on misuses. Copyright statutes say that the person who creates a work owns it and can transfer rights only through writing. “If you don’t have something in writing from your photographer or photography partner, assume you don’t have rights,” Balduf says.
“It’s incredibly important to make sure you know what you’re getting, what rights you have, and how third parties like MLSs real estate portals, and websites can use the photos,” says Hecht. “We recommend that practitioners try to obtain ownership of the photos, but if that’s not possible, then we recommend a broad license to use the photos.” Members can obtain ownership through an assignment agreement or a “work made for hire” agreement.
Copyright law not only protects the rights to images, it also protects the original work from being substantially altered, which can be construed as misrepresentation.
An example is an assignment agreement where the photographer assigns all rights, title, and interest in the photographs to the broker. There’s also an exclusive license agreement, where the photographer retains ownership of the images but grants the broker or agent an exclusive license (meaning, they won’t license the image to anyone else) to display and distribute the photos in connection with the listing or real estate business.
If you want to share a listing photo that’s not your own, call or send a message to the listing agent. Ask if the agent owns the image or has a license that allows them to sublicense the image. Request permission—which should be granted in writing—to share the image; under an exclusive license from the photographer, a listing agent can typically grant permission or sublicense listing photos. If you find your images being used without permission, as Hall has seen online, you can always consult an attorney and discuss enforcement options, Hecht says.
New Homes Create Four Commission Opportunities
David Fletcher, New Home Source Professional
Yes-MLS Education Calendar
NEW MEMBERS Q3 2019
||Jay Van Horn
||Kacey Yates Gable