April MLS Outlook: Photographers, Licensing Images and the PIA agreement

Dear Members,

We are in new and exciting times in real estate and I am happy to be on this journey with you as the Vice President of the MLS. Over the past 29 years I have seen many changes in the industry. New laws, new trends and new business models are being introduced. There is so much information and so many different resources to obtain that information, I thought I would begin communicating to you some of the important issues that may be impacting your day to day business. Today we are going to address media in the MLS.

Many of our members use professional photography to be in compliance with MLS Rule 11.7.1 which requires each listing entered into the MLS to have a minimum of one photo or rendering of the front exterior of the dwelling. In the Residential Listing Agreement (RLA) the seller gives the listing broker authority to take photos of the property and publish the photos on the MLS, the broker’s website and other media. The seller may also give permission to the listing broker to take video of the property and format the video into virtual tours.

Often time professional photographers are hired without any written agreements regarding the use and licensing of the images. This can result in issues later on with questions of who can use the photos and who do the photos belong to. One way to have a clear understanding of who has the rights to the images is for the listing agent to utilize the C.A.R. Property Images Agreement, Form PIA. The Form PIA outlines the description of work and services the photographer will provide as well as specifying the compensation the photographer will be paid. License assignment options are provided and described so the agent and photographer can agree who has the rights to reproduce and display the images.

 As part of best practices I strongly suggest you make use of the Form PIA. The Form may be entered into and signed by either the broker or the listing agent. The Form can be found in your C.A.R. Zip Forms.

Thank you for sharing your time with me and for your dedication to your professionalism.

Yours respectfully,

Daina Moore

P.S. If you are looking for a more robust explanation on this subject and how to use the Form PIA, please attend the up coming Elevate Expo 2019 event in San Diego on May 10, 2019. We will be hosting a session focused on the photography and the use of the Form PIA in your workflow.

Visit us at Expo


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