Recently, we discovered a local real estate agent copied a food image from one of our restaurant client’s Instagram accounts and posted it on her own account. This was not a share, but an actual copy of the image which was used as an original post on her account. In the caption the real estate agent tagged our client, an audacious move, including the sentence “all rights reserved to the respective copyright owners.” The post text included the name of the real estate agency, phone number, and email addresses.
This practice is wrong on multiple levels. First, it’s in violation of community standards on Instagram, and adding the copyright sentence does not make it legal. Second, the food image was out of context with the other posts on the real estate agent’s account. What does a food image have to do with selling houses? Lastly, what sort of professional marketing tactic is this, and does the brokerage provide this sort of training to their agents? Who would hire a real estate agent who would take the time and energy to steal a restaurant’s content? Where are the ethics? What is the point? Is this considered marketing?
If you’re faced with this type of scenario, remain calm but vigilant in having the post in question removed. Do some fact checking and then politely reach out to the offender’s superiors, informing them of the violation and requesting the offending post be removed. If you must contact the offender directly, be polite, offer them an “off ramp” to the situation so that they will comply with your request. If these tactics don’t work, Instagram has specific information on copyright violations and how to report them.
Here’s a link to Instagram’s Community Guidelines. https://help.instagram.com/477434105621119
Here’s a link to report content on Instagram. https://help.instagram.com/2922067214679225/?helpref=hc_fnav