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Home > Rules and Policies > Digital Images, Virtual Staging and Unauthorized Use of Listing Content
Digital Images, Virtual Staging and Unauthorized Use of Listing Content
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Digital Image Required

At least one digital image (photo/plat map/rendering) of each property listed in the MLS shall be submitted to the MLS immediately upon saving the listing as Active, except where Sellers expressly direct that photographs of their property not appear in the MLS compilations. However, an image or photo is not required of any listing in Coming Soon-No Show status until such time that the listing’s status is changed. Written documentation requesting that a digital image not be submitted, signed by the seller, should be available for review if requested by the MLS compliance staff. At least one photo must be an exterior view of the property structure for sale with the exception that for land, a plat or map of the specific property is acceptable. All photos uploaded must be representative of the property, landscape, views, neighborhood and surrounding community. If using a photograph (excluding artist renderings) that is similar to but not a photograph of the actual listing, users must include a disclaimer “example photo” across the photograph. (Section 1.18 of the Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations)


Do not delete photos from off-market listings

Section 1.18: Media (above) requires all listings (excluding the exceptions noted above) to have at least one digital image, regardless of the listing’s status.  


Additional photo standards

The Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations (Section 1.7) prohibits putting company, agent or seller contact information in the fields that appear on a Customer Report (Photos, Photo Captions, Unbranded Virtual Tours, Directions and Public Remarks). Click here to read Canopy MLS’s branding policy.


Virtual Staging

“Virtual Staging” is defined as using photo editing software to create a photo or conceptual rendering of what a room and/or property could look like, if it were staged or lived in. (Section 1.18.1 of the Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations)

  1. Prohibited Inclusions: Modifying photo(s)/rendering(s) to include visual elements not within a property owner’s control is strictly prohibited. Example: Editing in a view of the Charlotte skyline or football stadium that is not physically possible from the specified location in the real world.
  2. Prohibited Exclusions: Modifying photo(s)/rendering(s) to exclude visual elements not within a property owner’s control is strictly prohibited. Example: Removing power lines, water towers and/or nearby highways.
  3. Permitted Uses: Modifying photo(s)/rendering(s) to include personal property items not conveyed with the real property is permitted. Permitted personal property modifications include, but are not limited to:
    • Applying digital photos of furniture, mirrors, artwork, plants, etc. into a photo of an empty room.
    • Removing existing furniture from a photo and replacing it with digital images of furniture, mirrors, artwork, plants, etc. 
    Disclosure of virtually-staged photo(s) is required to be readily visible on the image, and a non-staged image must be included immediately following or preceding the virtually-staged photo(s).
  4. Permitted Virtual Staging and Listings of Properties Not Fully Constructed: Virtually-staged photo(s)/rendering(s) on either "proposed" or "under construction" listings is permitted for all facets of real property to be conveyed to a buyer in a sale. Disclosure of virtually-staged photo(s)/rendering(s) is required on the image.


Unauthorized Use of Listing Content: Canopy MLS requires the Listing Brokerage to obtain the necessary rights to use and reproduce the photographs, images, graphics, drawings, descriptions, remarks, narratives, pricing information, PDF documents, text files, artist renderings, audio or video recordings, including virtual tours and the like and other details or information related to real property listing data (collectively, "Listing Content") from the copyright holder for use by the MLS and all other authorized entities anywhere the Listing Content is intended to appear. By submitting Listing Content to the MLS, the submitting Listing Brokerage licenses the use of the Listing Content to Canopy MLS. Canopy MLS reserves the right to reject or remove any digital image submitted that includes any embedded, overlaid, or digitally stamped text, personal advertising or promotion as well as people or persons. Before a Member Participant or Subscriber copies the Listing Content submitted by another Listing Brokerage to a new listing, the Member Participant or Subscriber must obtain the written permission of the owner of the Listing Content. 


Member Participants and Subscribers are prohibited from using Listing Content submitted by another Listing Brokerage for any purpose other than to market the property to bona fide prospective buyers, to support market evaluations or appraisals, to develop statistics, market condition reports and broker or agent metrics, subject to Section 3.8 - Advertising of Listings Submitted to Canopy MLS, Appendix A - MLS Grid IDX Rules, and Article 12 of the Realtor® Code of Ethics, as illustrated by Standard of Practice 12-10, or as otherwise specifically permitted herein. Any other use of Listing Content is expressly prohibited. Any use by a Member Participant or Subscriber of Listing Content submitted to the MLS by another Listing Brokerage, including but not limited to unauthorized use on social media and in printed materials such as flyers and sold postcards, requires prior written authorization from the Listing Brokerage.  The Listing Brokerage indemnifies Canopy MLS in the event of any legal proceeding relating to the reproduction of the Listing Content by Canopy MLS or other authorized entities. 


Any Member Participant, who believes another Member Participant has engaged in the unauthorized use or display of Listing Content shall send notice of such alleged unauthorized use to the MLS in writing, and as specified in the Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations. Alleged violations will be processed as Category I violations as described in Section 8.4.1.  No Member Participant may pursue action over the alleged unauthorized use and display of listing content and Media in a court of law without first completing the notice, response, and appeal procedures outlined in the MLS rules.  


Canopy MLS Watermark on Photos.  A Canopy MLS watermark is placed on all photos submitted to the MLS. The primary purpose is to help protect the listing data from unauthorized use. Placement of the watermark on photos submitted to the MLS helps thwart copyright infringement and detect copyright infringement should it occur.  


The listings appearing in the Canopy MLS system are individually owned by listing brokerages who hold membership in the MLS.  In the event of litigation arising out of the misuse by another Subscriber or a third party of a photo submitted to the MLS, the Member Participant, and not Canopy MLS, shall be responsible for pursuit or defense of the lawsuit.  


Has another agent copied your Listing Content?  The Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations prohibit Subscribers from copying Listing Content submitted by another Listing Brokerage to a new listing unless authorized in writing by the owner of the Listing Content. Need to report a violation? From the Agent Full Display, click the yellow caution icon at the top of the listing in Matrix, call 704-940-3159 Opt. 4, or email [email protected]

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