Lawyer warns MLSs to read data sharing contracts.

Glen Roberts Jr. over at Inman News reports on a paper written by Brian Larson, a Minneapolis lawyer, about the sorts of risks multiple listing services are taking by signing contracts with Zillow et al.

The main points seem to be:

  • Signing anything without negotiating is bad form
  • Even though the listings are free, there are costs associated with setting up a data feed (don’t I know it)
  • All legal risks associated with publishing at the sites tends to default to the MLS
  • The question of when will a listing be removed is murky and often undefined, leading to a listing remaining on a site long after it becomes inactive
  • Some contracts grant the sites “almost complete control” of the data
  • Potential brand risks
  • Promises such as providing data that is “free from defects” is boilerplate in many of the contracts, something that the MLS can’t guarantee.

I would have liked to see a little more meat in this but I haven’t been able to locate the original paper.