Real Estate Photography image rights

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 15,794
Re: Real Estate Photography image rights

HomeToursLV Dave wrote:

Thanks for your insight. First of all I was just asking what others opinions (like yours) were. I am not looking to take any action with the Realtor as I have a great relationship with him. I was more curious about the web designer who received the pics from the Realtor, literally dropped them into the identical format of tour to which I deliver, and resold it back to the Realtor at a highly increased cost. I understand what you are saying that it depends on the agreement with the realtor and moving forward (we are relocating in a few months to the East coast) I will be sure to have an initial agreement with any Realtors that I do business with. Yours is exactly the answer I was looking for. More general knowledge. If the web designer was actually creating a custom page or flyer for a listing it probably would not of bothered me as much as him merely dropping my pics in a template and reselling. It is and was totally my responsibility to talk to the realtor about this and I did, which is why I said in the original post that the Realtor is now using me for the same service. Just irked me that someone else thought it OK to take someones work, spend 10 minutes buying a web address, and resell it back to the Realtor. But I appreciate your input and will be sure to be more clear with my clients in the future.

There are two separate questions:

  1. What should the arrangement be?
  2. What is the actual arrangement?

As others have pointed out, in the US, the photographer is most likely the natural copyright owner.     That means that absent any agreement, you may place various restrictions on the duplication or copying of the photos.

The real question, is what agreement you may have made with your client?  Generally, when you provide images to a client, that includes some sort of copyright usage license.   As to what license you are providing, that's a business decision on your part.

Let's assume that your license included the right for your client to use the photos on a web site.   Your would generally be free to overpay someone to build that site.  You seem annoyed that this is what happened.

In the future you could try to give a license that required your clients to get approval from you before they could hire someone to build their website.   I suspect that this wouldn't be a good business move on your part.

Perhaps the best solution is to add web site design services to your offerings.   Apparently in your market segment, this is a high profit offering.

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