Who Owns Your Real Estate Photographs?
You do, if you took them, but most real estate agents hire a professional photographer and that’s where the issue starts to become “murky”.
Let’s presume that you hire a pro to take pictures of your new listing. They shoot 125 individual pictures plus a branded video and an unbranded video. The branded one can go on your own website but you need the unbranded one for MLS.
When you ordered, you likely agreed to the photographer’s standard form agreement. That made it clear that you don’t “own” the photographs and the two videos; you are renting them. The photographer holds the “copyright”, which is the “right to make copies” and charge for them.
So, next year the same place is up for sale. The new agent calls the same photographer and he sells the same photographs and the unbranded video. Then he inserts the correct branding into the video and now the second agent has the same material as you had.
Are you upset? Did you think this would happen? Would you continue to deal with this same photographer?
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker