Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Matt Cohen warned dotloop about “risky behavior”.

What No One Is Saying About DotLoop and the California Association of REALTORS

“Fairly recently, DotLoop started getting cease and desist letters alleging that it had misappropriated REALTOR® Association intellectual property (forms) in order to use them as the core of its document and transaction management system. This shouldn’t have been unexpected by DotLoop – I myself warned them about this risky behavior in person a few years ago. If they end up paying treble damages for the alleged large-scale copyright violation and leave their customers in the lurch, they will have only themselves to blame.”

Great post from Matt Cohen. He really nails it. These copyright problems could turn in to a big problem for dotloop and its customers.

There seems to be a lack of maturity and good business sense at dotloop. Making a slick video (that only 545 people have viewed BTW) isn’t going to solve their problems. Being a positive effect for change isn’t sexy, it takes time, requires a lot of work. There are no shortcuts to success.

UPDATE: Looks like both Joel Singer and Austin Allision will “face off” at the Inman Connect conference next month.

Wednesday, July 10 2013
Face Off: Working Through the Gnarly Details of the Digital Transaction
5:10PM

  1. But on the other hand, had CAR licensed access to the forms to dotloop or other vendors, maybe new and potentially better programs and services could be used by the members of CAR who already pay CAR $3-4 million a year for the privilege of using zipforms. Is this a case of protecting a copyright or protecting a revenue stream?

  2. Greg, by saying he “nailed it”, do you mean to say you agree that state Associations should continue exclusive licensing of forms or would you prefer to see competition in that space? Do you agree agents and brokers — who already pay a lot of fees to Associations — benefit from the restricted competition of exclusive licensing?

  3. I would prefer competition. I just disagree with dotloop’s methods.

    Where I think Matt nails it is when he says,

    “There is a legitimate path toward trying to improve competition in the market.”

    As I said, it may not be sexy, quick or easy but its a better path long term.

  4. “There is a legitimate path toward trying to improve competition in the market.”

    Was this directed at dotloop or CAR?

  5. I just feel sorry for the brokers and agents who get caught in the middle of these squabbles. They pay everyone — the software vendors, the Associations (local, state, national), etc. — and then they get crippled solutions that don’t work together. I agree that IP needs to be properly licensed, but exclusive licenses make that impossible and so the core question for the Associations is whether their highest and best value to their broker and agent customers is to build or site license one product, which we all have seen time and time again never works in the long term, or should they be focused on creating platforms on which others can innovate. The brokers and agents who are the customers here deserve the latter.

  6. An additional comment:

    This debate kind of reminds me of the challenge with local counties that want to charge an arm-and-a-leg for access to public property records. That issue has been litigated many times in many places, and most every court to address it has said that tax dollars have already paid for the creation of the public records and so the county can only charge the cost to copy them, which, in this digital age, is minimal.

    In this case, the members have already paid for the Association to create the forms and so it’s a bit of a head scratcher that they can’t use the forms in their software of choice.

    Again, as a creator of intellectual property with our software platform, I certainly understand and respect the intellectual property issues involved, and I’d simply suggest that the Associations should consider the brokers and agents who are members of the Association to be the true owners or at least intended beneficiaries of the intellectual property in the forms (not the software product) and they should create a licensing option that allows those members to choose the tools they want to use.

  7. Russ, when you ask regarding: “There is a legitimate path toward trying to improve competition in the market.” Was this directed at dotloop or CAR?

    It wasn’t really a point directed at one specific party. In the blog post, I suggested one path for example, where members and local associations and their MLSs could, if desired, work within the CAR decision-making structure to select alternate technology and to address the licensing issue. This is really a discussion that involves multiple parties – not one.

  8. Pingback: ZipLogix competitors never had a shot at licensing CAR forms | Long Island Real Estate Investment Association

  9. Pingback: Agentage | ZipLogix competitors never had a shot at licensing CAR forms

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