With recent news regarding a lawsuit against Zillow by another photography company, many real estate agents have been left wondering how this effects their own business. Are they safe from a similar lawsuit? Do they need special permissions to use the photos they purchased by a photographer? In response, we felt it was necessary to write a press release to address our usage policy. The full script of that release is below.
Virtuance Gives Full Usage Rights of Listing Photography to Real Estate Agents
DENVER, CO, MAR 1, 2017 — Virtuance, a leading national provider of real estate photography and creator of the HDReal® imaging system, recently updated their policy to give agents full usage rights of their purchased images without restriction. Virtuance maintains the copyright to allow Virtuance to protect their clients from listing photo distribution that is not authorized by the client.
“Our image usage policy is the best of both worlds for real estate agents,” stated Jeff Corn, CEO and Co-Founder of Virtuance. “Our clients have full rights to use Virtuance images how ever they’d like, while we maintain our ability to go to bat on our clients’ behalf to fight any copyright infringement claims”.
A recent copyright lawsuit between another national photography provider and Zillow has brought the issue of real estate image distribution and usage rights to the surface, and has gotten the attention of real estate professionals across the country. The National Association of Realtors has even gone so far as advising agents not to use any photos for their listings without written permission from their photographer allowing them to use the images for marketing their listing.
In response to the recent Zillow lawsuit, a rival real estate photography company changed their policy to assign ownership and copyright of listing photography to the real estate agent who purchases the photos. This policy, while well intended, eliminates the company’s right to defend the agent in a copyright dispute, placing the agent in the onerous position of having to defend their own copyright, which may involve hiring legal counsel.
“We often hear from clients who are upset that another agent is using their images to market a property that our client previously listed,” says Amanda Jung, Client Service Manager for Virtuance. “Since we maintain the copyright, we are able to defend our client by contacting the agent who is using the images and asking them to stop using them.” Virtuance also has the ability and legal resources to support their clients’ interest on their behalf in copyright disputes.
“With any change we make to our policies, we always want to fully understand how the change will affect our clients,” Corn said. “With this update, we’re leading the way to ensuring that our licensing policies align with our clients’ interests and allow them to successfully market their listings without any legal concerns!”
Based in Denver, Virtuance was founded in 2010 and is one of the fastest growing real estate photography companies in the country. Virtuance is the creator of HDReal®, an award winning proprietary imaging system designed specifically to market real estate. Using artificially intelligent automated algorithms and highly trained HDReal®-certified photographers, Virtuance produces real estate marketing images that are proven to drive online traffic and result in conversions through more inquiries and property showings. Virtuance supports the HDReal® system with a comprehensive array of marketing tools and platforms.