MLS Data Licensing – A Fresh Start

by | Feb 10, 2014 | Data | 0 comments

Point2 has begun the process of taking both of its new MLS Data Distribution Contracts to the Industry. This is a project that Industry Principal Saul Klein refers to as Contract Alignment.

The two contracts to align are:

  • Content Provider Data Distribution Agreement
  •  Recipient Data Distribution Agreement

It is Point2’s belief that widespread adoption of these contracts has the potential to be a game changer in the world of Data Distribution (also known as Syndication), providing a better result for all stakeholders over time.

After two years of study, analysis, counsel and conversation, the Contract Alignment project is consistent with the Realty Alliance Fair Display Guidelines, and numerous other best practices resource studies and documents.

Contract Alignment will facilitate an industry friendly approach to data distribution, allowing and promoting conscious control to the providers of the data — the MLSs and listing brokers.

The following is a list of the requirements imposed on third party publishers receiving a feed of listing data under Recipient Data Distribution Agreements with Point2. Our objective is to give brokers and MLSs the ability to eliminate many of the objectionable practices with display of data that have arisen in recent years, and of which brokers, agents and MLSs have been very vocal.

Point2 Data Distribution Restrictions on Recipients (Publishers)

  1. The Recipient agrees to display Licensed Data only in the context of a Consumer Display.
  2. Recipient shall not sublicense the Licensed Data or use or display the Licensed Data in any derivative works.
  3. The Recipient agrees not to retain or display any of the Licensed Data after termination of this Agreement; and not to retain or display Participant Content after a Participant has opted out of display on Recipient’s website.
  4. The Recipient agrees that it shall not feature any other persons or companies associated with a specific listing broker’s listing in an as prominent or more prominent manner as the listing broker in any advertisement or promotion.
  5. Recipient will not capture prospects or leads from the display of specific real estate listings derived from Licensed Data and sell them back to Participants or Subscribers or divert any such captured prospects and leads to third parties.
  6. The Recipient agrees that it must retain custody of the Licensed Data; the Recipient may not operate sites on behalf of third parties, even if the data remains in Recipient’s custody, is “framed” on a third party’s site, and is labeled as “powered by” the Recipient.
  7. The Recipient may not retransmit, redistribute, or re-syndicate any Licensed Data.
  8. The Recipient acknowledges that it receives Licensed Data “as-is” and that Content Provider is not responsible for data quality or accuracy and makes no warranties to Recipient regarding the Licensed Data, including warranties of non-infringement.
  9. The Recipient shall provide a link on each listing display that directs consumers to the URL provided with each listing where consumers can access extended property information.
  10. The Recipient agrees to display all the Licensed Data supplied to it under this Agreement, unless the Recipient has a defined “niche” (such as ranches, lake properties, etc.) and then Recipient shall display all Licensed Data relevant to such specified “niche.”
  11. The Recipient agrees that it shall not modify the Licensed Data in any material way including, but not limited to, removing Licensed Marks, removing the Participant’s contact information or hyperlink to the Participant’s website, removing security measures, or removing any watermark from photographic images in the Licensed Data.
  12. Recipient shall not use the Personal Information to market or contact any Participant or Subscriber, nor will Recipient sell or supply this information to any third party for any reason.
  13. Distribution of the Licensed Data by Recipient to third-party websites or other mediums is strictly prohibited.  Licensed Data must remain resident in the Recipient’s database and under the Recipient’s control.
  14. The Recipient agrees to show the listing agent’s or broker’s contact information in a prominent manner, which requirement will include at a minimum displaying information in the following manner: (i) name, a “non-scrapable” email link, phone number and link to their personal website, when provided; and (ii) the MLS number and the address of each listing (except where the Data Interface indicates that the seller of the property does not wish the address to be displayed).
  15. The Recipient agrees to promptly update their site upon any update of Licensed Data from Content Provider and Point2.
  16. Recipient must provide reporting metrics for display to the applicable Content Provider through Point2.
  17. The Recipient agrees to use reasonable care to protect the Licensed Data from screen-scraping and other forms of misappropriation and misuse.
  18. The Recipient shall display a valid copyright notice on each display screen, web page, and printout displaying any part of the Licensed Data, as may be required by the Content Provider.
  19. Recipient will not scrape any websites supplied or powered by Point2.
  20. The Recipient will have appropriate terms of use or an end-user license agreement (“TOU”) requiring the users of the Recipient site to agree to the following terms: (i) Display of the Licensed Data is for the consumer’s personal non-commercial use; (ii) The consumer will not attempt to gather or “scrape” Licensed Data from the Recipient via automated means; (iii) The consumer agrees that Content Provider is a third-party beneficiary of these portions of the TOU and is entitled to enforce them against the consumer; (iv) The consumer agrees that the consumer’s breach of the foregoing provisions would cause Content Provider irreparable harm and entitle Content Provider to equitable relief.
  21. The Recipient agrees that any fees that it charges Participants whose Participant Content it receives under this Agreement shall be marketing fees or advertising fees charged on a per-Participant, per-Subscriber, per-listing, or per-consumer-contact basis; and not brokerage commissions or referral fees requiring a brokerage license paid only in the event that a transaction closes. The only fees payable to Point2 from Participants or Subscribers will be from separate agreements signed with such Participants or Subscribers.
  22. Any exceptions or additions to this Section as may be approved by a Content Provider.

Realty Alliance Fair Display Guidelines for MLS Public Facing Web Sites – 

These guidelines are not offered as being either for or against the concept of MLSs operating public facing websites; however, if an MLS does decide to operate a public facing website they should adhere to these concepts to be labeled as conforming to the “Fair Display” guidelines.

1. Brokers may opt-out of displaying their listings on the MLS operated public facing website.
2. Unbiased display of all listings. Search results will return listings sorted/ranked based upon the consumer’s search parameters. The search results list will not give preference to any type of featured listing, or paid placement.
3. Consistent display of listing data. Each MLS will determine the amount of listing data and photos to display on a public facing website. There will not be charges for displaying any data related to the listing or the agent, such as fees for additional photographs or the broker or agents’ contact information.
4. No ads for other brokerages or agents displayed on or with a brokerage’s listing. Only the actual listing broker and agent may be displayed on the property details page. No ads from companies that may compete with a broker’s affiliated business such as mortgage, title, or escrow companies will be displayed on an individual property listing page.
5. Leads Distributed at No Charge to the Listing Brokerage Firm. All leads will go directly to the listing brokerage firm or the agent, as directed by the firm. No leads will be diverted elsewhere. No fees will be charged for leads. Every listing will have the brokerage name and logo prominently displayed, and contact information as provided by the broker including a link directly back to the brokerage website (or other site as dictated by brokerage).
6. Make reports available to the broker. Brokerages will receive or be able to access complete reports on any traceable activities related to their listings.
7. Brokerage maintains control of all of their data. No syndication of the broker’s listing data without the broker’s consent.
8. MLSs and Brokerage Firms will work together locally to make decisions about allowing ads and other revenue generation methods on the MLS public facing website. If there are ads or other revenue generators the MLS and Brokers will work together to determine the types of ads allowable; and the types of revenue generators allowable; and an appropriate revenue share between the MLS and the listing brokers of the revenue generated.




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