Committee Puts Copyright Issue Front and Center

May 18, 2012

The National Association of REALTORS®’ Professional Standards Committee will be asking the NAR Board of Directors to consider a change to Standard of Practice 12-10 — one focused squarely on the increasing number of copyright complaints being lodged against members by content and image owners.

Article 12 of the Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to present a "true picture" in their advertising and representations to the public. According to Standard of Practice 12-10, NAR members must present a “true picture” in URLs and domain names; the committee’s addition would add the requirement to present a true picture of the source of content posted by members on their Web sites, blogs, or social media pages.

The committee’s motivation: to curb plagiarism.

It’s easy to copy and paste words and images from the Internet. Social media sites, such as Facebook and Pinterest, make it even easier to post others’ content with technologies that enable you to share with the touch of a button. But what’s acceptable sharing — and what’s stealing?

The committee’s commonsense change would apply the plagiarism warnings taught in every high school and college composition class. Namely:

· You can’t present others’ content as your own; it must be attributed to the copyright holder.

· You can’t present others’ content without their permission.

The NAR board is expected to vote on the proposed change at its Saturday, May 19, meeting.

— Stacey Moncrieff, REALTOR® Magazine