WAV Group supports brokers and MLSs in constructing data licensing agreements with users of data records that belong to the broker. When a company like Zillow ingests broker data, likeZILLOW340x230 all recipients, they must adhere to the data license agreement which typically requires that you cannot allow the data to be used by a third party. The blog McMansionHell.com is learning the hard way that using data from Zillow without proper authority is a copyright violation that Zillow will pursue. Not only will Zillow pursue the violation, but they may be contractually bound to pursue the violation. The media around the case is a bit confused, so let me try to break it down in layman terms.
Zillow is a good copyright citizen. The action they are taking against McMansionHell.com is on solid legal ground and should go a long way to establishing trust with brokers, franchise, and MLSs who license data to them. These data licensing agreements are the key differentiators that prohibit McMansionHell.com from using images from their site for things like satire.
Some of you may recall that Zillow lost a lawsuit regarding copyright violation with VHT. That was a completely different case, but there is a lesson there too. In the Zillow agreements, brokers, franchises, or MLSs confer to Zillow that they have acquired the proper copyright that allows them to license to Zillow. In the VHT case, brokers sent data to Zillow that had a limited copyright (VHT only licenses photos to brokers during the term of the active listing status). Brokers told Zillow that they could continue to display the photos after the listing was expired or sold, so Zillow continued to display them. Zillow could have turned around and sued the brokers who cost them $8.5 million in that copyright violation case. But they didn’t. Brokers should not only than Zillow for shuttering McMansionHell.com’s illicit use of the data, but also thank them for not sending a bill for the VHT case.
If your MLS or Brokerage needs help with proper data licensing policy and contract audits to construct value around your data. Contact Victor Lund @ wav goup.