Tag Archives: Legal Issues

RPR-Upstream and Personal Liability for NAR Directors

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I’m still at the NAR Midyear Legislative Sessions and heading out to meetings soon, so this will be brief. By now, you know that NAR’s Finance and Executive Committees have approved RPR to become the platform for the hitherto-mysterious Project Upstream. Inman News has coverage of the decision.

Thing is, this decision highlights precisely what is problematic with governance of Organized Real Estate entities, both Associations and particularly MLSs. NAR’s DANGER Report released yesterday highlights governance as a major threat, and I know from talking to various attendees that governance and the decision-making process are two major complaints from rather powerful and influential people in the industry.

If I were one of the 800-ish Directors of NAR, I would seek legal counsel from my personal attorney on what personal liability issues arise from my voting to approve or disapprove the RPR-Upstream project. Let me explain, briefly.

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Copyright and Solds-Over-IDX

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Judging by the stats, it appears that few people actually took the time to listen to my most recent podcast, featuring Brian Balduf of VHT Studios. We discussed a number of issues surrounding copyright of photographs and liability that arises from misuse, which… yeah, I understand those are sleeping aids for most people. Nonetheless, I wanted to write this brief (I hope?) post because the issue is important and one that MLSs and brokerages need to get ahead of right now, rather than waiting for a lawsuit to land on their desks.

If you do have the time, I’d recommend going and listening to the full podcast. Brian’s perspective is invaluable here. But, let me give you the bottom line here.

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Notorious POD: Episode 12 – Photos, Copyrights, Liability with Brian Balduf, VHT

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It’s been months since my last podcast, but that’s just how things work out sometimes. But with T3 coming up, I figured I should upload this.

Brian Balduf, CEO of VHT, joined me to discuss an issue that’s really going a bit under the radar. His post Now Is The Time to Shield Your Real Estate Brokerage From Intellectual Property Liability dealt mostly with direct syndication to portals such as Zillow. But in this podcast, we discuss copyright violations and liability at the MLS level, and within IDX, given the new rules about sold data over IDX.

I suppose you have to be a real geek about real estate industry stuff, but I do think this is an important topic for brokers, MLS, and even agents. You may be on the receiving end of some letter from a “copyright enforcement company” demanding thousands of dollars for unauthorized usage of photographs.

I’d listen, then read Brian’s post, and think about a strategy for dealing with this important issue.

-rsh

Raising the Bar and Lawsuits… A Thought

I know I haven’t been blogging, but hey… when you’re sitting on the beach in Aruba staring at gently lapping waves of turquoise waters, diving into the Interwebz isn’t real high on your list of priorities. Trust me on that. :)

In any event, saw an interesting little tidbit this morning on Inman News that got me thinking. The item is this: “Realtors are all talk when it comes to education” The embedded video is below.

I met Leigh Brown at HearItDirect/RETSO event in Atlanta, and thought she was energetic and not afraid to speak her mind (as you can see above).

But here’s the thing. Leigh equates more education with Raising the Bar (an ill-defined concept, I know, but one that most of us kinda ‘get’ in our guts). She asks what’s it gonna take.

What if the answer is something seemingly unrelated? What if the answer is a lawsuit currently making its way through the California court system? Let me explain.

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Competition Is Not Tortious Inteference

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A brief note this Saturday morning…

Conversations around my last post, about FTC taking action on anti-competitive Code of Ethics provisions, have raised an interesting and salient point. The best example comes from the comments, where Brian Rayl writes:

Despite what the FTC states in terms of “soliciting other’s clients” there are very strict laws – federal laws – that prohibit interfering with a contract.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortious_interference

If someone is going down a list of new listings and contacting them with the intention of damaging the contractual relationship, they are guilty of tortious interference. I’m not sure why the FTC would require the code of ethics to allow this when the federal government doesn’t? What are your thoughts on that?

My thoughts are that tortious interference with contract requires a tort. Obviously, what is about to follow is legal mumbo-jumbo, which I do for fun as a blogger with a law background. Please consult your own attorney or counsel; this is not legal advice.

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