MLS ownership of selection, coordination, and arrangement
When you put listing and related information into the Triangle MLS, Inc. (Triangle) System you make decisions to classify, categorize, order, and group material or data. In copyright-law terms, you are “selecting,” “coordinating,” and “arranging” this information, and these acts are components of a “compilation copyright.” Pursuant to Triangle’s policies, Triangle owns the compilation copyright in the Triangle database and as a condition of accessing the Triangle System, you must agree that your provision of the selection, coordination, and arrangement to the Triangle System is a work made for hire under the Copyright Act of 1976. If for any reason it cannot be provided as work made for hire, you agree to assign your selection, coordination, and arrangement in the Triangle System to Triangle.
Your agreement that the selection, coordination, and arrangement is a work for hire or to assign the same in the event it is not provided as a work for hire, does not change ownership of the original text (like public remarks), photographs, or videos that you create for your listings.
This “click-through” changes your legal rights and if you have questions about it you should consult an attorney.
By proceeding I AGREE and assert that the selection, coordination, and arrangement I contribute to Triangle’s database compilation is a work made for hire on behalf of Triangle and that Triangle is author of those works for purposes of copyright, or in the alternative, to assign and hereby do assign any copyright in the selection, coordination, and arrangement I contribute to Triangle’s database compilation to Triangle. If I DO NOT AGREE that the selection, coordination, and arrangement I contribute to be a work made for hire or to assign the selection, coordination, and arrangement I contribute, I understand I will not be permitted further access to the Triangle System.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is this happening?
Triangle MLS, Inc. is charged with protecting the data Participants and Subscribers enter into the MLS system. This protection covers both the compilation (the database as a whole) as well as the data that appears in individual listings within the TMLS database for certain participants. The compilation of the selection, coordination, or arrangement of materials in the database: the fields, options, order of information, etc. of the data that is collected. For a number of years, TMLS has copyrighted the compilation as a tool to help enable protection of the database and thwart unauthorized use. In 2017, the Copyright Office raised questions related to compilation copyright applications. As a result, TMLS proactively made changes to the applications it files, including implementing this TOU, which clearly spells out the ownership rights of the TMLS compilation.
Why does copyrighting of the compilation matter?
The TMLS database may only be used for specified purposes and under an agreement with TMLS. Any other uses of the TMLS database are not permitted. Copyright enforcement is one method for TMLS to impede unpermitted uses of the TMLS database.
Am I giving TMLS ownership of the listing agreement or listing content (such as photos) when I agree to the TOU?
No, this TOU relates to the compilation, which does not encompass the listing agreement or listing content. The compilation is effectively the structure of the database and the choices related to structure; choices such as field options, data types, enumerations, etc. that involve a modicum of creativity contribute to the compilation. This EULA applies only to the MLS compilation that is being registered with the Copyright Office. It does not apply to listing content, such as photos, free form text, or any data itself.
Some BICs participating in TMLS have opted to register their own copyrights for the portions of individual listing data held by their office. Other BICs have opted to have TMLS register the copyright via the TMLS Participant Agreement, a different agreement than this TOU.
What does the TOU do to help TMLS protect listing data and the compilation?
This TOU addresses the ownership of the MLS compilation, the compilation described in question 3. In the TOU you agree that Triangle MLS, Inc. has the ownership required to register the copyright of the compilation. This will help to strengthen TMLS’s position that the compilation is subject to copyright.
Didn’t I already agree to this TOU or something similar?
It’s possible that you may have agreed to TMLS’s copyright TOU previously. TMLS has been using a copyright TOU since 2017, and a matter of routine administration requires its Participants and Subscribers to agree to the TOU on an annual basis.
Can an office or individual Participant or Subscriber copyright the TMLS compilation?
No. While some offices or firms may choose to take responsibility for registering the copyright of the office or firm’s listings, none may claim ownership of the compilation except TMLS.
Are Licensed Home Inspectors required to complete this?
Licensed Home Inspector subscribers do not have access to the MLS database and will not be affected by the TOU.
What if I do not agree to accept the TOU?
You will not be allowed to access Paragon to search, edit or add listings to Triangle MLS.
Whom do I contact if I have questions?
Allan Nielsen, AllanN@TriangleMLS.com or call 919-654-5419.