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Will SOPA and PIPA affect the way Real Estate is marketed?

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January 23, 2012 by Benji


One of the funniest, but true posts I have seen regarding commercial real estate was on Oct 5th 2011 on the blog RetailCHATR.com  a blog that focuses on the retail commercial real estate market. The quote was “Nothing says “I’ve never seen the property I am selling” more than a crappy Google Maps picture in your marketing materials.”  Nothing is truer.

What does that have to do with SOPA and PIPA? As real estate agents, we all put together marketing packages for properties we represent. I don’t use Google Images or Google Maps screen shots for the packages, I actually go out there and take pictures, I’m not patting myself on the back, this is a minimum expectation for a good agent. But let’s not pretend it doesn’t happen! I have actually seen an MLS listing for a house where you couldn’t see the house because it was blocked by a van, and you could see the reflection of camera in the van window!

That being said, I have used site plans that the property owner gave me in a marketing packages I put together. Sometimes the property owner created that site plan, but more often than not, it was created by an Architect. My question is, what if someone, let’s call it a disgruntled architect reports my broker to the DOJ (Department of Justice) for using pirated images. Then my Brokers website gets smacked in the face and their website gets shut down for an image the landlord gave me!

From what I gather, Images have not been specifically targeted for SOPA and PIPA, but they are intellectual property. Wouldn’t that mean that I would need to get a written release to use the site plan, or pay some sort of royalty every time I send out the site plan? The same question goes for pictures a building owner may have had professionally taken that I sometimes use in marketing packages. I am not an attorney and I don’t know what the consequences of SOPA will be to the real estate market will be, but I am concerned. What are your thoughts?

To find out more information about SOMA and PIPA, check out here are a few links.

SOPA Wiki Page
PIPA Wiki Page

SOPA/PIPA Wiki Protest
SOPA/PIPA Google ProtestSupporters of SOPA

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