Who Owns the Listing Data? Episode #196

Hello! Welcome Todd Miller TV. The question today is: Who owns all of the listing data on listing? Does the agent own it? Dos the broker owns it? Does the MLS own it? Does the homeowner own it? Who owns the data? So what I did is I did all research as far as calling around some attorney, Attorneys that I know, I called some MLSs, and then I did something, I read what the listing agreement says. I’m gonna read this here in a minute ‘cause this is actually pretty insightful. So there’s been a big debate about, agent takes a listing, that listing gets pushed in to the MLS and then from there, other sites may be pull it, realtor.com will pull it out and then brokers will take that site, the data from that site and push it to other sites, to places like listhub, pointagent to about 400 different websites the listing data can show up on. And then not too long ago, broker in San Diego came out and said “hey, we are gonna restrict our data from going to all those sites.” And there was uproar over this because all these sites are using all these data that the brokers have compiled and they were monetizing it. They were selling their information. I think their fear is if more brokers do this they won’t have/they’ll be out of business. ‘Cause there’s no way they could collate these data themselves. There’s just no way and may be extremely difficult. I’ll go through that right in a minute. So let’s say you’re standing out front of a house and you took a picture of it, you’re in a public area, you’re in a street or a sidewalk, you take a picture of a house, well you have the rights to that. I mean you own it. If you take a picture, the photographer owns the rights to that. You’re/you can take a picture in a public place of a public setting and owns those rights. You don’t have to get permission from the owner of the house to take a picture of their house. That’s just, you know. That’s just pretty standard anywhere. For example, paparazzi, right? You’ve probably seen paparazzi. They just take pictures of celebrities and they go sell the pictures and they have totally the right to do. Okay, so, data on the MLS. Well here’s the key, a lot of people out there say “hey look, it’s the/the owner owns that data ‘cause it’s their house.” And that’s true! They do own the house. However, there’s this thing called a Listing Agreement and I’m almost sure that of all the MLSs in the country, they have the same little thing called “Use of Listing Content “ I’m gonna read it here and then I’m gonna explain what this means. So, the agent of the broker gets this signed and this becomes a ratified agreement. And then all the terms in here becomes binding. So this is what it says: Use of Listing Content. Seller acknowledges and agrees that all photographs, images, graphic, graphics, video recordings, virtual tours, drawings, written descriptions, remarks, narratives, pricing information, and other copy writable elements related to the property, provided by the seller to broker or brokers agent, and any changes thereto maybe filed with the MLS included in compilations of listings and otherwise distributed, publicly displayed and reproduced in any medium. Seller hereby grants to broker a non-exclusive, irrevocable worldwide royalty free license to use, sub-license to multiple tiers, public display or reproduce to seller listing contents to prepare driven of works of the seller listing content and to distribute the seller listing content in any medium, in any medium. So that means in print, in the internet, whatever. This non-exclusive license and that just means I can have a license to do it and then the next listing agent can get the same license, it’s not just exclusive to me. Seller represents and warns to broker that the seller listing content and the license granted to broker, do not violate or fringe upon the rights including copy right rights of any person or entity. This non-exclusive license shall survive the termination of this agreement for any reason whatsoever. So once this is signed, the seller can cancel the listing but we still have the rights to the data. So what it says here is that the broker owns it. Brokers have the right. What we as brokers do through our agreement with the MLS, we give that data to the MLS. That MLS that has some permission they can do for monitoring the data, to make sure there’s nothing harmful in there, they can restrict certain thing that we say. So the bottomline is, the pictures that we take are, they’re all copyrighted. The remarks we put in, they’re copyrighted. Some stuff can be found in public data, we can’t copyright public information, right? And it’s non-exclusive that means somebody else could go out there and gather the same data if they want and publish it in any way they want. But, I’ll give you an example. If I go in to a house, and let’s say that there’s no public records of the water softener in there but I go and discover a water softener so “hey, you know, tell me about the water softener. Do you own it? Do you lease it? And they say “Oh yeah, well we/it’s owned.” I can go in the MLS and out Water softener owned at the unique field right just like all the other unique field. The compilation of all that data is owned by the broker. So if the broker chooses to not publish it, on a website, the broker doesn’t have to do that it’s not public information and I think people have gotten so used of this concept that everything should be free and that other people should go out there and work and give me the data for free so I can use it, sell it to other people and make money. Well, it doesn’t work that way. Brokers use this data for whatever they want. They can use this data for/to market a property, to obtain a buyer, they can you know, that’s typically what we use it for. Obviously when I sell a property. Do I blame brokers for not wanting to give the data, a license to somebody else? To then put the data out there competing with them for the same people, have them sell those leads to other agents and have those other agents come by the property? Well, you know that’s a/I don’t blame them for doing that. I think everybody has the right to do their own business practices and I know that the big sites that are using this data make a lot of money from advertising from it. I don’t think that debate is gonna end soon on this. Just so you guys know, my data goes everywhere. It’s not that accurate because sometimes this other sites strip it. They make a lot mistakes and they sometimes put other agents on it as the listing agent. I found that out recently but going to about 400 sites, that’s a lot of data. I let mine go out there freely for whatever it’s worth. But answer to the question is: The broker owns the data. It’s own by the data (broker) through an agreement with the seller. We put it in the MLS the MLS has some rights there. And that’s it. So I just wanted to share that with you. That is my update for today and hope to see you on another video. Thanks.