We thought we'd jump into a super fun and exciting topic today...copyright law!!! Who's excited? But for real, this is important to know. Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photography is protected by copyright from the moment of creation. That means the photographer has the exclusive right to sell or distribute their photographs. When you purchase media from us, you are purchasing the license to use the photos and video for the purpose of marketing your listing. We still retain the copyright and own the photos and videos, which means we have the exclusive right to sell or distribute them. Think of this like if you've ever bought a font, a song, a movie, or any other digital file. You get to use that file yourself; however, you can't turn around and sell it to someone else.
Before you download your photos, you agree to our Copyright License (below). This means: if the listing expires and goes to a different agent, you can't sell or give the photos to them. If the builder is interested in the photos, you can't sell or give the photos to them. If the buyer decides to turn the house into a rental, you can't sell or give the photos to them, and...well you get the point. What you can do is refer them to us, and we can sell them their own license to use the photos.
Personally, we're pretty generous with what our license includes. We allow our real estate clients to use the photos in their own marketing (on social media, email marketing, printed materials, etc.), even after the listing sells.
We're also pretty lenient with social media. A lot of buyers' agents will post the listing photos on social media to share their buyers' success story, or the lender, transaction coordinator, stager, or anyone else involved with the property might want to share the photos on social media. This is totally fine with us as long we are tagged as the photographer.
And lastly, we choose to make an exception for homeowners. If your sellers would like the photos for strictly personal reasons, we are totally ok with you sharing the photos with them (we know selling a house is sentimental).
However, for any third party that plans to use the photos for business reasons: whether it's a subsequent listing agent, a contractor who wants the photos for their portfolio, or a buyer who wants to list the house as a rental (or really, anything where they'd be making money off the photos), please direct them to purchase the usage rights from us!
Hope that all makes sense, and feel free to reach out with any questions if you are unsure!