Every time I book a shoot with someone new- the subject is going to arise about copyright and usage – who owns these photos, are they mine? I am paying you for the set and can give them anyone right? Well…..no. I try my best to inform all clients beforehand that all photos are copyrighted to me but thought I should do a post as a reminder to everyone. What agents and sellers are paying for is license to use the photos while marketing to sell the home. I like to keep the copyright information here on my blog, my website, my app, invoices, each gallery I send to download the photosets, and also post on Facebook but sometimes Agents may let it slip their minds to be sure they read & understand this information beforehand and I encourage them to be informed and to inform their sellers.
WHO OWNS THE PHOTOS
Under current copyright laws, Robin Gatti Photography retains all rights to photos taken of properties.
In order to provide you with the best service and support at reasonable pricing, I do not sell the photos of Real Estate Photography. I am licensing use of the photos. My rates are dependent on using the photographs for a limited period and protecting them by retaining copyright. The service agreement is a Limited License Release. Only the licensee has permission to use the images.
- Builders, stagers, designers, or “third parties” that wish to use images must contact the photographer directly for licensing and fees. In addition to payment a property release must be obtained from the homeowner by that third party.
- Photo credit must be given to Robin Gatti Photography when used on any and all social media sites
- As of 2017, images will not be made available to another agent who takes over a “withdrawn” listing
- Unauthorized use of images is a copyright violation.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS OPTION
I do offer an Exclusive Rights option for an additional fee. This gives the original agent the only rights to use the photos other than the photographer. They would not be available for purchase from anyone else.
Home sellers and buyers may certainly request a copy of the photos from photographer only. Licensees may not give rights to, give copies or ‘transfer’ the photos to anyone else. Please have home sellers and buyers contact me. I live in Middle Georgia and know that when a house is listed, sellers sign a Listing Agreement where there is a section on Marketing, where the homeowner grants the agent the right to do any photos/marketing needed to get their home sold but homeowner acknowledges they have no rights to these items.
Another Agent Wants to Use the Photos
They need to contact me as I can only give the right to use the photos. Photos may not be given away or transferred.
What can’t the agent do?
Even when the agent gets a digital copy of the photo, they cannot give it to any person or entity to use that is not outlined in the usage license. The photos are simply not theirs to give. Only the copyright holder can grant further licensing. The photos have in essence been rented as outlined by who can use the photos, for what purpose and the time frame in addition to any other stipulations. The licensee cannot assume more usage than they are granted.
The reason is this is Real Estate Photography standard agreement information as well as the photos have value to the photographer and the fee paid by the real estate agent for use of the photos is for a limited time and therefore that price that is paid is low. The photos could end up being of need to a stager, builder, interior decorator, home buyer, seller or another real estate agent.
Sometimes people just think they can save photos out there on the internet and use elsewhere or give to other agents when they relist- but when someone uses copyrighted material without permission a variety of things can happen. It can range from nothing to take down orders and/or payment including damages to a Federal Lawsuit with damages up to $150,000 per photo. Also be aware that watermark removal is also a crime.
Do I inform the purchaser?
With every rate sheet and invoice is included my copyright information that is agreed upon at the time of booking. If there are any questions, they should be asked ahead of time. It is always up to the licensee to ALWAYS fully inform the home owner of these terms and conditions so they are aware.