How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask socrateaser Your Own Question

socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 33551
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
Type Your Intellectual Property Law Question Here...
socrateaser is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am a licensed real estate agent and pay dues to the local

Customer Question

I am a licensed real estate agent and pay dues to the local and state association. The state association creates the standardized forms that we use. They are now telling me that I do not have access to these forms unless I use the vendor of their choice. However, anyone from the public can get a copy of the forms if they want to use them. When something is copyrighted and I have permission to use the forms, can the association holding the copyright tell me what vendor I have to use and refuse to allow me to get the forms direct from the association. I am unclear as to the copyright laws and whether or not the state has the right to restrict my usage of the forms. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

The association is probably formed as a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation. The association owns the copyright of all of its forms, and it can control who can and cannot obtain copies of the forms and under what conditions.

It seems to me (as I'm sure it does to you), absurd to make it more difficult for members to obtain real estate forms than the general public. However, if the Arizona association of realtors is similar to California, where I practice, then I would assume that you pay less than a member of the general pubic does for the forms.

Also, in California, we are given a free subscription to Zipforms as part of our association membership. This makes the forms and any updates free, and it allows a realtor to fill-in-the-blanks and print any form at any time from their computer at will. I can't frankly think of any real estate agent who still uses the multipart forms to write an offer or listing agreement -- because Zipforms is so much less costly and more efficient.

Anyway, back your direct question, a copyright holder can absolutely control to whom copies of a creative work may be distributed and under what conditions. 17 U.S.C. 106-106A. So, if your association wants to make it difficult for you to use the forms, then it can do so, and your only recourse is to comply, or use some other form -- or, try and have the board of directors of the association removed and replaced with a board that is more accommodating to members.

I'm sure that you cannot be the only person who has a problem with this issue. With political matters, such as this one, it's votes that count.

Hope this helps.
socrateaser, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 33551
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your answer. It confirmed what I thought. I just do not like the answer. Why should my company be forced to use Zipforms? I found a vendor that will allow us to put the forms on the site, sign on the site and manage the transaction on the same site. Currently, that takes 3 different vendors. I have started the process to get the company licensed that I want to do business with but it is a long process and the association is not playing nicely. They keep talking about "keeping the integrity" of the forms as if I do not want to keep the same standards. Sorry, I am just venting. Thank you for your time.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
I understand your annoyance. Unfortunately, the association of realtors is a de facto monopoly, and there's little that can be done, because most agents would be (understandably) afraid to use a contract not issued by the association.

Anyway, I wish you the best. Let me know if I can help you again sometime.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Alex Reese

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2588
    Experienced in intellectual property law
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/sosolid007/2010-08-05_070536_Suitpic.jpg Alex Reese's Avatar

    Alex Reese

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2588
    Experienced in intellectual property law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/scottymacesq/2009-6-10_221523_small.jpg Robert McEwen, Esq.'s Avatar

    Robert McEwen, Esq.

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    387
    Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/tswartz123/2010-02-08_225658_Tommy.jpg Thomas Swartz's Avatar

    Thomas Swartz

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    374
    Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    371
    I assist my clients with IP questions that arise in their daily course of doing business.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/personwilt/2010-1-10_164828_person1.jpg Wilton A. Person's Avatar

    Wilton A. Person

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    339
    MBA, Experienced and Knowledgeable in Intellectual Property Law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/bart0358/2012-1-23_232424_1056.64x64.JPG BartEsq's Avatar

    BartEsq

    Researcher

    Satisfied Customers:

    192
    Juris Doctor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IP/ipesq/2012-1-9_164431_RetouchPortraitHighResCopy.64x64.jpg ipesq's Avatar

    ipesq

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    134
    Specializing in patent prosecution, trademark and copyright registration/enforcement.