So you decided to enter the real estate world? Got out from behind the desk working for someone else, but now its your turn to make your mark. You have taken the exam, got your business cards, hung your license with a broker, and now working on a website. Do not use copyrighted real estate images on your sight, thinking they are free.
Using Copyrighted Images without a license will not end well for you
If pictures cost you $175-$200, done by a local professional, its a deal for you. You have paid for the pictures out of your pocket and you can download the pictures and then use them on your site. In reality your customer pays for them when they go to sell the house. These are great quality images and you will be hard pressed to find better images. Plus your photographer is part of your team, a great asset for referrals and assistance when you need them fast! Do not use copyrighted real estate images without a license, its stealing and that’s bad.
Do not be like Zillow and steal images
As you know, the world wide web is full of crawlers, not the blooded kind, but the digital kind. They crawl pages, looking for content, images and licensing. Do not use copyrighted real estate images without a license. These crawlers will find you and then research if you paid for the images. Its tempting to go to Google and search for an image for your story pull one down from the Wall Street Journal or USA Today or direct from Flickr, thinking its free. It’s not, and you should presume that ALL PHOTOS are the ownership of someone else. Zillow is being sued by a Real Estate Photographer for 81 Million Dollars right now. So you want to make sure that your photographs are your own.
Do a search for the creepy lawyers that will sue you
They are out there. The creepy lawyers that show up one day in your feed and threaten you with $1000 invoice or worse. You can pay it now for a discount. Then after a few months pass, another creepy lawyer calls you and says “this will not go away”. You think its a scam, but its not. Do you research, search for creepy copyright lawyer, most are in California, and some have made a nice living off of searching for copyrighted information.
Once you have been in business for a while
Maybe its time for you to invest a few dollars to protect your images too? You can use Pixsy or a few others out there to search the web for misuse of your images, and see if they can collect on your work. Why not? After all, your images are just that, your images.