RCG contributors have been all over Inman News lately…
The general thrust of the reports are that real estate agents should assert the copyright on their listings:
“Our intention with this discussion paper is to remind those that can lawfully assert copyright rights that they have legitimate recourse at their disposal if they feel their rights are violated,” the paper states.
Issues related to the copyright, control and ownership of property listings information have been debated for many years within the real estate industry, and there has been an increasing focus on these issues, the paper states, that has created “robust” and “at times contentious” discussions about the present state of the business and the future of the industry. Among new entrants to the industry are “alternative business models that propose to dramatically change the real estate industry,” as well as “new offerings from existing industry participants that may also impact the way the industry thinks about — and practices — real estate,” according to the paper.
Russ is not convinced that agents have all the rights that the paper asserts:
(Russ) said he “completely” disagrees with the perspective in the report that the listing price of a property is copyrightable, for example. “It’s the seller who typically comes up with (the listing price) and not the agent,” he said. “If it was copyrightable it would be copyrightable to the seller. In my opinion the argument does not have legal authority to back it. If challenged in court I believe that the court would find the listing price is a fact as opposed to a protectable element.” The listing price, as far as consumers are concerned, is definitely a very important aspect of property listings information, he said.
This is an interesting argument and at the root of the DOJ case against NAR that is currently working itself through the legal system.