April 22, 2018

2 MLSs Sue Web Site Over Copyright Infringement

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2 MLSs Sue Web Site Over Copyright Infringement

Two regional multiple listing services are suing, a real estate search site, alleging the Web site is violating copyright laws by using agents’ data without their permission. recently has begun assigning performance scores to real estate agents, based on the number of properties they’ve sold, the number of days their listings have spent on the market, and the difference between the final sales price and asking price. The performance scores allow potential buyers and sellers who visit the site to see a list of recommended real estate agents and their score, in comparing how they measure up to other agents. 

Jonathan Cardella, NeighborCity’s chief executive, says the site has information on about 80 percent of real estate agents nationally.

Cardella told The New York Times that the reason for the tool is to help match buyers and sellers with active agents who’ve demonstrated success with similar properties. 

But several agents aren’t happy about the performance scores. 

MLSs -- Metropolitan Regional Information Systems in Rockville, Md., and NorthStar MLS in St. Paul, Minn. -- have filed separate lawsuits in federal court against the Web site’s operator, American Home Realty Network, saying the sales information is being used without agents’ permission. The MLSs declined to comment publicly about the pending lawsuit. 

Cardella also declined to comment about the litigation, but he told The New York Times "that brokers do give us permission to use their own listings and apparently the MLSs are not recognizing our broker agreements, which convey the right to use the listing data available on our Web site."

Source: “New Battle on Providing Real Estate Agent Performance Data,” The New York Times (May 1, 2012)

Editor's Note: This article originally had the headline "2 MLSs Sue Web Site Over Agent Performance Scores." It was corrected to more accurately reflect the nature of the lawsuit.

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