At the Midyear meetings, I got into some conversations with fellow attendees about the whole MLS public website debate. Obviously. Again. Still. It was a lot of fun, and interesting thoughts were shared. But given that I have written that agent teams are the biggest threats to brokerages, I kinda got curious about something.
Just how much control do brokerages actually have over their listings?
Legally speaking, it cannot be argued that the broker owns the copyright to all of the listings. The MLS owns the compilation copyright, and may acquire a license from the member broker to use the listing data, but the broker owns the data. Period. They can do whatever they want with those listings — syndicate them, not syndicate them, put them on the Web, put them on billboards, whatever strikes their fancy.
But practically speaking, since the listing agent is the person who acquires the listing, and there’s plenty of competitive pressure between and amongst brokerage companies, I got to wondering just how much control a broker actually has in practice over their listings.