National Association of Realtors asks photographer to hand over his work for free

Veteran photographer David Hobby says “the ballsiest request for free picture use that I have ever gotten” recently came from the National Association of Realtors.

The organization, which spent over $41 million on lobbying last year, apparently doesn’t have much in its budget for its HouseLogic website. It not only asked Hobby for free use of his “Cardinals in Snow” photo for that site, the realtors group also told him “we would appreciate if you could provide a high resolution version of this image, at least 1200 x 800 pixels” for use in a slideshow.

The letter to Hobby continues:

The image may also appear as a link back to that slideshow in such places as our email newsletter; social media, including Pinterest; marketing;cheap1 companion site for REALTORS®; and website home page. The use may require that we resize the image to fit the size constraints of our website.

We are asking you to grant the National Association of REALTORS® the non-exclusive, royalty-free right to use the image as described above for as long as the topic is included on the HouseLogic site.9 We would include a credit to you in the caption accompanying the image in its primary location on HouseLogic. If you would like we could also link that credit to your website.

I asked the realtors group about its letter to Hobby and got this response from media and consumer communications vice-president Stephanie Singer:

NAR is diligent about ensuring that any imagery used in our print and online properties adheres to the usage rights granted by the photographerreal and we frequently pay for photography and illustration. Like the letter sent to Mr. Hobby, HouseLogic frequently sends requests about imagery to professional and non-professional photographers to open the door to negotiate the use or cost of a photo. In this situation, Mr. Hobby’s response was such that we didn’t pursue the conversation further.

The next time I buy a house, I’m going to start my negotiations with the seller’s realtor this way: “How about I take it off your hands for free?”

* Your realtor would like some free photography, please (