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Joining Forces against Data Piracy: Nonprofit REDPLAN Creates Central Body for Protecting Real Estate Intellectual Property Rights

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By Reva Nelson

“One of REDPLAN’s goals is to create consensus about what the intellectual property rights are and to educate the industry about these,” said Larson.

Governed by a board of directors, including representatives of MLSs, associations, brokerages, franchises and information companies, REDPLAN aims to be a “central office” for alerts and advisories concerning data theft and misuse, a clearinghouse for litigation strategy, and an advocate and support network for class actions against those violating industry copyright and data license agreements, and more.

A Coordinated Effort to Stamp out Piracy
According to Jay Gaskill, CEO of Real Estate Digital, to date, there has been a lot of confusion around intellectual property rights for brokers, homeowners, MLS organizations and other industry stakeholders. A major contributing factor is the fragmented approach to protecting data in the real estate industry.

“Until now, there hasn’t been an approach that covered all of the groups and stakeholders,” says Gaskill. “Gregg (Larson) proposed founding REDPLAN as a not-for-profit to create consensus, education and, ultimately, enforcement about what the intellectual property rights are for various parties in the industry. This will pave the way for much better enforcement in the future than any of the individual players can do on our own.”

Gaskill noted that if every broker and MLS has to spend 70 percent of their time protecting their website against scraping, it would be a waste of valuable time and resources, and ultimately creates a very cloistered environment. Instead, with REDPLAN, industry participants can make the data available, but with clear-cut rules governing it.

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