You are using an unsupported browser. Please update your browser to the latest version on or before July 31, 2020.
For information about our recent system conversion, see our Data Done Better site.
announcement close button
Home > Rules and Policies > Digital Images, Virtual Staging and Unauthorized Use of Listing Content
Digital Images, Virtual Staging and Unauthorized Use of Listing Content
print icon

Digital Image Required

With the exception of land, at least one digital image (photo/plat map/rendering) of each property listed in the MLS shall be submitted to the Service 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 Service. 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 1.22 of the Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations)


Do not delete photos from off-market listings

Section 1.22: 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 1.8) prohibits putting company, agent or seller contact information in the fields that appear on a Customer Report (“Photos,” “Photo Captions,” “Virtual Tours,” “Directions” and “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 1.22.1 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 (a) To-Be Built or (b) Under Construction 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, PDF documents, text files and artist renderings, audio or video recordings, and virtual tours (“Media”) from the copyright holder for use by the MLS and all other authorized entities anywhere the MLS data is intended to appear. The Listing Brokerage indemnifies Canopy MLS in the event of any legal proceeding relating to the reproduction of the Media by Canopy MLS or other authorized or unauthorized entities. By submitting Media to the MLS, the submitting Listing Brokerage grants the MLS and the other Member Participants and Subscribers the right to reproduce and display the Media in accordance with these rules and regulations. Member Participants and Subscribers may use Media from the MLS only for purposes of finding buyers for properties listed in the Service or for the preparation of appraisals, consistent with the rules and regulations. 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 Media submitted by another Listing Brokerage to a new listing, the Member Participant or Subscriber must obtain the written permission of the owner of the Media. 


Any Member Participant, who believes another Member Participant has engaged in the unauthorized use or display of listing content and Media shall send notice of such alleged unauthorized use to the MLS in writing, specifically identifying the allegedly unauthorized content.  Alleged violations will be processed as Category I violations as described in Section 9.4.1.  No 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 Section 9 of the MLS rules.  If after (10) days following the final determination by the Executive Committee the alleged violation remains uncured (i.e. the content is not removed or the rules violation remains uncured), then the complaining party may seek action through a court of law.


Canopy MLS Watermark on Photos.  Canopy MLS puts a watermark on photos submitted to the service. The primary purpose is to protect the listing data. The Canopy MLS watermark serves as notice to members and nonmembers that Canopy MLS claims copyrights in the compilation of MLS data, but not each individual photo. Furthermore, the addition of the Canopy MLS watermark on each photograph helps thwart copyright infringement and detect copyright infringement if it occurs. Canopy MLS aggressively pursues anyone who uses listing data without authorization. 


The listings appearing in the Canopy MLS system compilation are owned by each individual firm.  In the event of litigation arising out of the misuse by another Subscriber or a third party of a photo submitted to the Service, the Member Participant, and not Canopy MLS, shall be responsible for pursuit or defense of the lawsuit.  


Has another agent copied your photos?  The Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations prohibit Subscribers from copying photos submitted by another listing brokerage to a new listing unless authorized in writing by the owner of the photos. The listing photos may be used only for the purposes of finding buyers for properties listed in the Service or for the preparation of CMAs or appraisals. Further, using content created by another in advertising, marketing or other representations without permission or attribution is potentially a violation of Article 12 of the Code of Ethics (Standard of Practice 12-10).  Need to report a violation? From the Agent Full Display, click the yellow caution sign under the listing photo in Matrix, call 704-940-3159 or email [email protected]

2 out of 7 found this helpful

scroll to top icon