What is copyright and what does it mean to you?
The fact that listing content is the backbone of the Naples Real Estate industry has been discussed extensively. Real estate photography and imaging is no longer an option, but a necessity and no successful southwest florida real estate agent would consider offering to list a property for a client without having a photography gameplan.
Whether that plan consists of DIY photos of the property or professionally staged, styled and photographed listing marketing budgets the question of who actually owns the photos and images is rarely brought up.
Typically, the photographer is hired, the images captured and delivered to the agent then uploaded to the agent’s marketing portals and the property sells (hopefully quickly). This process is repeated over and over with rarely any thought as to what happens to the photos after the sale.
And why would it matter? Who will ever need or see these images once the property is sold?
Most of the time it is that simple. However, on some occasions the property may have been staged by a stylist who likes what they see in the listing photographs, calls the agent and says “hey, can you send me a couple of those pictures from…?” Then eventually they land on the stylist’s website or advertising materials. This of course saves the stylist $$ and bypasses the real owner of the images, the photographer.
Yes, the photographer “owns” the images, always and forever. This, as mentioned before, is rarely an issue in typical real estate photography. It is, however, worth understanding what your rights are when you hire a photographer.
Very generally speaking, the photographer owns the images, then grants the client (in this case real estate agent who hired them) usage rights or license to use the images in whatever manner specified prior to the hire.
A typical licensing would be for the client to have rights to the images for a certain time period (6 to 12 months or so) and freedom to use the photographs for their marketing campaign limited to the property that is being photographed.