Wikipedia, Google and many other prominent websites took a stand against the Federal Anti-Piracy Legislation this week by “blacking out” their sites or leading readers to sign a petition against government involvement. While many Americans understand how SOPA and PIPA could affect their everyday internet use, may don’t realize that entire industries could be affected by the proposed changes.
One industry, in particular, that relies heavily on internet marketing and online listing services is the real estate industry. While the bill will focus on copyright-infringing websites, opponents believe that copyright infringement descriptions may be loosely defined, leaving all areas of the internet open for question. In the real estate industry, agents will try to gain as much online exposure for your home as possible, by listing your house in the MLS, sites like Zillow and Trulia and using pictures and videos to showcase your home in its best light.
Opponents of the bill in the real estate industry understand that blogs, postings and even entire websites could have thousands of pictures and videos of homes. If the SOPA and PIPA bills pass then these real estate sites could be removed or blocked for just one small picture out of thousands. This could take the years of progress and innovation in real estate internet marketing back to square one.
One Realtor based out of Portland said that “the real estate industry is a collaborative industry. We thrive on the ability to share listings, photos, information.” Not only will it change how the real estate industry can market houses for sale, search engine optimization will be affected, so websites that have had blog contributors who worked hard to achieve a high visibility could even be affected.
The SOPA/PIPA legislation would make it nearly impossible to show houses online or in virtual tours. One Agent noted that the legislation is so strict that he may have his entire site blocked if he were to take a video and there were copyrighted pictures or videos in the house.
Not only would it be close to impossible to manage your own website, the government would have to take major steps to enforce this legislation, which includes more tax dollars being spent where they aren’t necessary. It’s very apparent that any industry that does business online is against the passing of these acts. While the real estate business will still thrive with or without this setback, it would add a major inconvenience to all website owners and operators.