copyrightWhen the representative of a participating broker in the MLS enters listing information into the MLS, they are doing so according to a license agreement. The broker agrees that the data entered into the MLS remains the broker’s property, but the MLS is granted a license to use the information entered for MLS purposes. In the license agreement, the broker also warrants that the information entered into the MLS is not subject to any third-party copyright.

There are three elements of a listing that the broker can claim as copyright. The first is the photo, the second is the property description, and the third is the compilation (think of this as a collage that contains facts like bedrooms and bathrooms and the photo and description). In context, entering a property into the MLS is the same as creating a digital piece of artwork.

Remember the days when real estate agents would copy photos off the internet and Getty Images would pursue the MLS for damages, resulting in fines and other penalties to the broker whose agent uploaded a copywritten photo to the MLS? Even today, MLSs continue to sort out disagreements between firms when an agent uses another agent’s photos on a listing. These problems have waned thanks to the education efforts of NAR (national, state, and local), and the MLS. We have also advised that brokers make sure that there is a license agreement in place when a professional photographer is hired. The NAR has sample agreements for professional photographers – make sure you use them.

ChatGPT terms of use

open ai chat gpt logoI imagine that by now, you have tried ChatGPT. It’s a really cool application that takes prompts from the user and generates something else. For example, you can tell it to write a property description and give it some information about the subject property. The machine (Artificial intelligence) will write the property description for you. It does a really good job, typically better than most real estate description authors. Social media is swarming with tips and tricks on how to use ChatGPT for writing property descriptions. The problem is that when ChatGPT writes something, you are not the author. Since you are not the author, you do not own the copywrite.

Adding a property description written by ChatGPT violates the ChatGPT Terms of Use unless you say it was written by ChatGPT. Specifically “The role of AI in formulating the content is clearly disclosed in a way that no reader could possibly miss, and that a typical reader would find sufficiently easy to understand.”

So please stop it.

If you want to use ChatGPT to draft your property description, then edit it significantly, that’s fine. Just be careful. Also, do not copy paste.