Category : MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

MLS Rule Revisions – Local MLS Examples

To support Participants and Subscribers in utilizing social media as part of their internet presence.

 Rule Revision: 12.16 Use of Active and Sold Listing Information on Internet

Also know n as Internet Data Exchange “IDX”). (d) Listing Attribution. All listings on a Broker Participant or R.E. Subscriber’s site displayed by framing or other electronic means shall identify the name of the listing firm in a manner designed to easily identify such listing firm. Such identification shall be in a reasonably prominent location and in a readily visible color and typeface not smaller than the median used in the display of the listing data. No listing broker names will be required for a one-line or thumbnail search result display format on Participant, Subscriber or Brokerage site as long as there is one or more additional display formats available for the listing and each subsequent display format identifies the listing broker.  Information displayed in a one-line or thumbnail search result, text message, and/or on sites where consumers view, “follow” and/or subscribe to the Participant or Subscriber’s feed, (e.g. Social Media) are exempt from this requirement only when linked directly to an approved IDX site that includes all required disclosures. Social Media posts shall not be misleading to the public and must represent a true picture as defined in MLS Rule 12.10.  IDX display does not extend to internet advertising sites and/or third party sites that do not belong to the Brokerage, Participant and/or Subscriber.

Rules Revision: Mandatory Arbitration.

CAR added language to the existing arbitration rule to incorporate NAR’s mandated enhanced arbitration enforcement requirements. This revision expressly provides that failure to submit to arbitration and abide by the arbitration award can lead to penalties, including suspension from the MLS. Staff is looking for a recommendation to the Board of Directors to adopt the language added to 16.1.

16.1 Mandatory Arbitration. By becoming and remaining a Participant or Subscriber in the MLS, each Participant and Subscriber agrees to submit disputes arising out of the real estate business which also arises out of, or is in conjunction with, any listing filed with the MLS or any appraisal, to binding arbitration with any other Participant or Subscriber of this MLS, or Participants or Subscribers of any other MLS who are authorized to have access to this MLS under Section 6 of these rules. Such arbitrations shall be governed by the California Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual as from time to time amended which is hereby incorporated by reference. This shall be deemed an arbitration agreement within the meaning of Part 3, Title 9 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. Failure to submit to arbitration and abide by the arbitration award, including but not limited to timely payment of the arbitration award as provided herein shall be a violation of these MLS rules and subjects Participants and Subscribers to possible suspension from the MLS and/or other penalties.

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Copyright Data Licensing MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Risk Management

Copyright Infringement Issues with Listing Photos

Forget about baseball being the national pastime. I think today’s pastime is surfing the web and checking the wonderful photos of real estate properties, whether they be exterior or interior shots, luxury homes, aerial views, video tours, 3D Imaging, you name it.

But who owns the photograph and what rights do they have to stop a third party from infringing on those rights? Those and related issues are the focus of several Risk Management articles prepared by the legal staff at the National Association of REALTORS®.

In a September 2015 article “Who Owns Your Property Photos?” the author points out that: “Improper use of listing photographs, however, can create legal problems for agents, brokerages and MLSs. Authorship and ownership of photographs within the real estate industry is “fractured”. Who authored the photograph and who can use what photograph and in what way varies across the industry. Listing photographs may be taken by homeowners, real estate agents, MLS or brokerage employees, or professional photographers. Photographs may be owned or licensed to different parties in a variety of ways. A misunderstanding of how you may use the photographs for property listings could make you vulnerable to a copyright lawsuit.”

The article cites an ongoing case alleging that Zillow continued to use the listing photos in connection with “sold” properties and that this use exceeded the scope of the photographer’s limited license to use the photographs only in connection with active property listings. VHT, Inc. v. Zillow Group, Inc., No. 2:15-cv-1096 (W.D. Wash. 2015).

As part of a Risk Management Strategy, the article recommends that you:

  1. Review photography agreements to assess how you can use the photographs
  2. Audit photographs to ensure compliance with the relevant agreements
  3. Determine how you want to use listing photographs and ensure that future agreements permit those uses
  4. Maintain a record of all photography agreements

To that end, NAR provides some Sample Photography Agreements for you to review with your attorney:

So, what happens when you display on your website listing photos provided by other brokers under IDX rules and it turns out that one of those photos is now the subject of a copyright infringement claim by the photographer? There was no way for you to know about the infringement claim. How can you protect yourself?

As suggested by NAR’s Associate Counsel Chloe Hecht in a five minute video clip “Window to the Law: Listing Photo Copyright Issues,” you can limit your liability for copyright infringement by complying with the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which provides a “safe harbor” if a third party uploads infringing content on your website. You’ll need to designate a copyright agent on your website and with the Copyright Office; implement a DMCA-compliant website policy; comply with the DMCA takedown procedure; and have no knowledge of the complained-of infringing activity.


In short, be respectful of the photography rights of others and be clear about what rights you grant others to use your listing photographs. And, as recommended in these articles, carefully review the relevant photography agreements.



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MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

Congratulations Tim Dain and Austin REALTORS!

AUSTIN, Texas – Aug. 3, 2015 – Today, the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) announced the appointment of Tim Dain as Multiple Listing Service Director.

A seasoned MLS executive, Dain brings a unique combination of experience to ABoR, including leading a regional MLS, where he oversaw significant growth for the MLS; working as a REALTOR®, both as an agent and a broker; working in information technology outside the REALTOR® organization; and serving four years in the U.S. military.

ABoR CEO Paul Hilgers commented on the announcement, “Tim’s extensive experience in evolving MLS organizations and his industry acumen will be central to helping ABoR deliver even more value to its MLS members. We’re preparing for future growth and I’m fully confident Tim will help take our MLS to the next level.”

ABoR retained executive search firm WAV Group, Inc., to assist in finding a new MLS Director. Dain will assume that role on Sept. 8, reporting to CEO Paul Hilgers and working with ABoR’s Board of Directors and committees dedicated to MLS services.

Barb Cooper, 2015 ABoR President, said, “We recognize that being aggressive in technology innovation is the best way to serve our members and homeowners in the Austin area. With Tim’s well-rounded experience and track record for successful innovation, we believe he will help us continue to be a leader in MLS services.”

Prior to accepting this role, Dain was Executive Director of the Southern Illinois Regional MLS. He began work there as Technology Director and was promoted to CEO in less than two years. During his five-year tenure with the organization, Dain was responsible for creating a virtual MLS and helped achieve cost reduction of more than 30 percent while streamlining processes to enhance daily operations and strengthen relationships with participants. He also partnered with the Illinois Association of REALTORS® local government affairs director in utilizing MLS data to enhance political advocacy efforts.

Dain is also active in the MLS industry generally, currently serving a member of the executive advisory team for Move, Inc., Dotloop and the interim executive committee for the Broker Public Portal. He has also served on the board of directors for the Council of MLS and as the chairperson for Corelogic Advisory Group. As part of that involvement, Dain was instrumental in Move Inc.’s decision to build FIND™ Mobile, a national mobile MLS application provided for free to any MLS.
Prior to his career in the MLS industry, Dain was a REALTOR®, working first for a large franchise organization in his region as an agent and then opening his own brokerage. He also worked in information technology for several organizations including the Harrah’s Casino and Aristocrat Technologies, where he served the technology needs for over 20,000 employees.

The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) builds connections through the use of technology, education and advocacy to strengthen the careers of its 11,000 members and improve the lives of Central Texas families. We empower Austin REALTORS® to connect their clients to the region’s most complete, accurate and up-to-date listings data. For more, contact the ABoR Department of Public Affairs at or 512-454-7636. For the latest local housing market listings, visit

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MLS (Multiple Listing Service) NAR

The Evolution of Upstream/AMP – Dale Ross, RPR CEO

At the May NAR Legislative Meetings in Washington D.C., a partnership was announced between NAR and UpstreamRE, LLC to leverage the RPR technology platform to develop a new data management service for Brokers known as Project Upstream. The announcement culminated several months of discussions between the leaders of many of the nation’s largest brokerages and franchise networks and NAR, and represents a significant opportunity to leverage RPR’s five-year investment in data and technology on behalf of the industry.

Project Upstream will be built on RPR’s Advanced Multi-list Platform™ (AMP™). AMP provides a new technology foundation for MLSs to serve brokers and agents. This unified platform will have two distinct servicing components:

Upstream is a single point of listing entry, management, and distribution for brokerages.
AMP is parcel-centric database to power MLS services.
While a great deal has already been reported about the NAR/UpstreamRE partnership, I’d like to outline how the projects came together over the previous months, beginning in 2013.

• June 2013-RPR was approached by Rob Hahn of 7DS Consulting to assess the current and future technology options being considered by MLSs.

• October 2013-Craig Cheatham, CEO of The Realty Alliance addressed a CMLS Conference in Boise ID, with a list of Realty Alliance concerns related to MLS technology. This begins the discussion of a potential broker-centric technology project.

• November 2013-Clareity Consulting publishes a list of broker concerns. RPR is approached at the NAR Annual Convention in San Francisco about its interest in submitting a response to the coming Project Upstream Request For Proposals (RFP).

• December 2013-RPR receives the first formal request to discuss an MLS technology project from Tim Dain CEO of Southern Illinois Regional MLS (SIRMLS). 7DS Consulting delivers a report outlining the opportunity for a front-end/back-end MLS concept.

• February/March 2014-The Upstream RFP is issued and the Upstream Technology Task Force is formed to assess RFP responses from multiple vendors.

• April-September 2014-RFP responses are assessed by Upstream. RPR engages Bob Bemis of Procuring Cause Consultants to begin to assess inquiries from multiple MLSs regarding an extension of the RPR Platform into an MLS “back-end” solution.

• October 2014-Upstream’s governance model is established, creating the UpstreamRE Board of Managers. UpstreamRE, LLC is incorporated. RPR receives additional formal letters of requests from MLSs interested in a front-end/back-end split and creates a project initiative named Advanced Multi-list Platform™ (AMP™).

• November 2014-RPR meets with several large brokerage and franchise CEOs to discuss AMP™, seeking to inform the Upstream participants of the parallel development and gain their input on RPR’s AMP™ project.

• January 2015-RPR reports to the NAR Leadership Team in Chicago, IL on the progress of AMP™. RPR’s Senior Management Team also participates in additional meetings with the leadership of Large Franchise companies, creating the first combined assessment of the Upstream/AMP™ unified development concept.

• February-April 2015-Numerous meetings occur between NAR Leadership and UpstreamRE, LLC, focused on leveraging the RPR asset to fulfill Project Upstream’s stated goals. As a result, RPR was requested to submit a revised technology proposal.

• May 2015-NAR Leadership, RPR and the UpstreamRE, LLC Board of Managers meet in Washington D.C. and execute a Letter of Intent, subject to the NAR Board of Directors approval. The NAR Board of Directors approves funding for the Upstream/AMP initiative.

While the concept moved very quickly during the NAR Legislative Conference, the discussion, deliberation and input received occurred over some 18 months prior to the formation of the NAR/UpstreamRE, LLC partnership. During the next few months UpstreamRE/NAR/RPR will be focusing on the completion of the final agreement and the beginning of the development process.

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Listing Syndication Major Real Estate Portals MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

First American Title, and all of their Data

Property Wiki (Living Data Base of all Homes) – All they need to know is what is for sale, and it appears like competition to Zillow/T.


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Listing Syndication Major Real Estate Portals MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Public Portals

MLS – Where are we now? How did we get here, and where are we headed?

MLS Past, Present, and Future all in

this video clip!


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Data Licensing Listing Syndication MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Zillow

Basic Data Rights To Photos

It seems at least once a week I hear a broker complain that Zillow Group (ZG) is still displaying listing photos and property description remarks even after the listing has been sold or removed from the syndication feed. How can that be, they ask? What right does ZG have to continue the display when the property is now off-market? In some cases, even the new owner is heard to complain that they do not want photos of their home made public on an active website.

Well, typically ZG refers to the very broad language in their Terms of Service such as “For materials you post or otherwise provide to Zillow Group in connection with the Services (your “Submission”), you grant Zillow Group an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free worldwide license to (a) use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, prepare derivative works of or incorporate into other works, and translate your Submission, in connection with the Services or in any other media, and (b) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law.”

Similar language covering perpetual license and derivative works was found in past syndication agreements, although questions arose whether photos and agent remarks were considered “data” and could be used off-market.

Fast forward to today and we see some clarification of the issue of using photos and remarks when the listing is no longer active and part of the feed. If this truly is a change in ZG policy, it is indeed a very good sign that ZG is making greater effort to work closer with the real estate industry.

Specifically, where are we seeing some clarification with respect to ZG no longer seeking a perpetual license to property photos and descriptions?  When ListHub stopped sending its syndication feed to Zillow Group effective April 8, 2015, Zillow introduced a “Stopgap License Proposal Agreement” with MLSs as a temporary measure (6 months) to continue the flow of listings to ZG while negotiating for a permanent direct syndication arrangement. In that stopgap agreement, ZG claimed a right to “Basic Data” but specifically excluded photos and free form property descriptions (agent remarks). Here’s the key language:

“MLS grants to Zillow a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license and right to reproduce, distribute, publicly display and perform, and create derivative works of the Licensed Data only on and in connection with the operation, marketing and promotion of the web sites and other properties owned, operated or powered by Zillow and Zillow’s authorized licensees. …(b) Licensed Data includes only active listings (listings currently for sale) and, except as provided in Section 4 subsection (c) below, when a listing is no longer active and is dropped from the RETS feed, Zillow’s license to that listing terminates. (c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, MLS grants to Zillow a perpetual license to “Basic Data” as defined in Exhibit A attached hereto (see Zillow Listings Feed Guide at

For avoidance of doubt, “Basic Data” does not include any free form property descriptions or photos and in no event will Zillow receive a perpetual license to free form property descriptions or photos.”

In its FAQs, ZG asks “Why does Zillow need to retain some of the “basic data?”

Their response: “When new home facts and information are added to our database, it helps to build information about the history of a home and assist in the overall customer experience. Since we will get this data from county records anyway, we prefer to not give our customers an inconsistent experience when looking at homes by adding data, removing it, and adding it again. So, when “basic data” is added to a home via a listing feed, it becomes part of the house history on Zillow.”

Will the ZG clarification of Basic Data rights along with its exclusion of property photos and remarks carry over to its long term direct syndication license agreements with MLSs and brokerages? Will ZG discontinue use of photos and remarks that it acquired in the past? Time will tell, though it is a healthy sign that MLSs are starting to see some gains in their negotiations with the portals.

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MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

Eco System of Innovation

We envision, on a grand scale,  future vendors developing valuable real estate applications without being required to source the data and develop complex aggregation and data interpretation algorithms. Through the use of Open APIs that provide access to listing data, support existing authentication, and facilitate authorization, applications that leverage existing data can be built very cost-effectively leading to a richer ecosystem of features that will benefit real estate professionals.

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MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

MLS as seen in 2008

We must redefine the role of the REALTOR®, the MLS, and the Association in the evolution of technology, the Internet, and an engaged world

This will require a Conversation at all levels of our organizations.The Future of MLS

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Major Real Estate Portals MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Zillow

No Deal – Sandicor / Zillow Syndication Update

Official Notice from the San Diego Regional MLS (18,000 Subscribers and Participants)

Dear Brokers,

As you may know, the relationship between Zillow and ListHub ends on Tuesday April 7th.  If your listings are going to Zillow by some means other than ListHub, this does not affect you.  However, if you have been using ListHub, your listings will no longer be going to Zillow on the 7th.  Sandicor has been in the process of implementing a replacement syndication system and negotiating an agreement with Zillow that would offer substantial benefits and protections for you and your listings along with protections for Sandicor, in the event you elected to send your listings to Zillow.  While our syndication system is being put into production, our negotiations with Zillow have not resulted with an acceptable agreement between us.

Please know that the terms of the agreement were developed by a fifteen member Broker Group, representing a wide variety of brokers, from a 2 person office to our largest brokerages.  All were unanimous in the terms developed, which included protections for the listing data, brokers / agents and Sandicor.  The terms are very similar to other licensing agreements we have with IDX vendors and other vendors.  Unfortunately Zillow was not agreeable to those terms and appeared to be unwilling to consider much beyond their terms.  We revised the agreement such that we felt we addressed some of Zillow’s issues, at which point we were told they didn’t have the legal resources available to discuss it any further.  We then tried to negotiate an interim agreement, which also was not successful.  While Zillow does not have the resources to negotiate with us at this time, we have not given up and will endeavor to work on an agreement that is acceptable to all parties.

We will continue to keep you updated as we work further on an agreement.

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