Photo Ownership

So, you booked a shoot for a listing and the photos were taken. Now you don’t have the listing any longer and another Agent wants to use them. You think because you paid for photos that possibly you own them so you sell them to that other person. But actually – you can’t.  That’s copyright infringement.


Under the Federal Copyright Act, photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation. Photographers have the exclusive right to reproduce their photographs. Unless you have permission from the photographer, you can’t copy, distribute (no scanning and sending them to others), transfer or sell to anyone else, publicly display, or create derivative works from photographs. Copyright infringements can result in civil and criminal penalties.

Images cannot be sold to another agent who takes over an expired or withdrawn listing. Image Use will only be relicensed (for a fee) by the photographer if the previous Listing Agent is agreeable and understanding to this although it is always preferred to just have me take new photos as the fee is the same cost. 

Commercial Photos may be licensed for use for other vendors only by myself.


In order to provide you with the best service and support at reasonable pricing, we do not sell our photos for Real Estate Photography. We license use/you commission the usage of the  photos for the duration the listing is Active in Residential or for a Period of time if Commercial and we allow the client to use the photos in any print, media or social site for marketing the listing.  Photos are Commissioned for use. My rates are dependent on using the photographs for a limited period and protecting you, myself and the clients by retaining copyright.  Basically it is the same as when you buy music- you are buying usage: You don’t own it and you can’t sell it.

Generally my photos are Licensed for use – *The photographer issues a limited license for the client to use the images under this contract in his or her MLS listing and in other promotional materials intended to sell the property under his/her current contract with the property owner. Those images may NOT be transferred or sold to subsequent listing agents or anyone else in the event that the property does not sell under the terms of the current contract. Images are not for use by anyone other than the Listing Agent(s). *

*Builders, stagers, designers, or “third parties” and homeowners that decide to sell themselves or hire an Agent must contact the photographer directly for licensing and fees. Photos may be licensed to these other parties only by the photographer.

EXAMPLE- Company A commissions license for me to create some photos (viewed as payinf for me to do some photos). Company B wants to use those photos because they did the actual work. Company A can’t give those photos to Company B as I am the only one that can sell License of Usage to Company B.

*Photo credit must be given to Robin Gatti Photography when used on any and all social media sites

*SALE or Transfer of images is a copyright violation.

*Photographer retains right to use photos in any sort of marketing/website/blog/social media and retains copyright. Home owner grants usage via MidGAMLS F1, Exclusive Seller Listing Agreement, in Marketing, the homeowner grants the agent the right to do any photos/marketing needed to get their home sold but homeowner acknowledges they have no rights to these items.


Home sellers and buyers may certainly request a copy of the photos from photographer only for their own keepsakes. However if they choose to sell themselves or hire an agent, they must purchase license through me. I will only give keepsake copies to homeowners. However, if a person decides to do For Sale By Owner- then they may purchase the existing photos, if they list with an Agent, they must let me know so I can grant the new Agent the right to use them while the listing is Active. The Agent otherwise has no rights to the photos.  Licensees may not give rights to, give copies or ‘transfer’ the photos to anyone else. Please have home sellers and buyers contact me.

Another Agent Wants to Use the Photos

No photos can be sold/transferred to any other agent it person except myself.  However, in Residential Real Estate – I always prefer to reshoot the home and not to re-license the listing photos.

What can’t the agent do?

Even if an agent has a copy of the photograph, they cannot give it to any person or entity to use that is not outlined in the usage license. The photos are simply not theirs to give or sell. Only the copyright holder can grant further licensing. The photos have in essence been rented as outlined by who can use the photos, for what purpose and the time frame in addition to any other stipulations. The licensee cannot assume more usage than they are granted. They also cannot transfer the usage to someone else.


Sometimes people just think they can save photos out there on the internet and use elsewhere or give/sell to other agents when they relist- but when someone uses copyrighted material without permission a variety of things can happen. It can range from nothing to take down orders and/or payment including damages to a Federal Lawsuit with damages up to $150,000 per photo. Also be aware that watermark removal is also a crime.

Do I inform the purchaser?

I have listed everywhere my Copyright information. Each invoice has included my copyright information. It is at the top of the Booking Page also. If there are any questions, they should be asked ahead of time. It is the Licensee/Client/Agent job to ALWAYS inform the home owner of these terms and conditions so they are aware.