Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Century 21 Wins Lawsuit Against Zoocasa

 For consumers, the Internet has had a very profound impact on the way in which we search for products and or services that we may be looking to procure.  Perhaps no other commodity has been so broadly impacted as real estate.  This stems partly from the fact that unlike many countries including the U.S., Canada has a nationwide MLS® system that allows consumers to universally search for properties virtually anywhere in the country.
 In Canada, the MLS® system and trademark are owned and maintained by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).  CREA maintains the consumer real estate website http://www.realtor.ca/ which hosts MLS® property listings coast-to-coast.  This site regularly draws 3 million+ visitors per month making it the most frequented consumer real estate website in Canada. 
  Given the success and far reaching impact of Canada's MLS® system, third parties have tried to replicate its success.  Individual REALTORS® as well as companies have on occasion lifted or "scraped" MLS® data from http://www.realtor.ca/ and other legitimate real estate websites for posting on their own online sites.  Often, the integrity of MLS® data and property details are compromised in the scraping process, resulting in consumers getting information on a property that may be inaccurate and or misleading
  Century 21 Canada recently won a court case against the real estate website http://www.zoocasa.com/  which is a subsidiary of Rogers CommunicationsCentury 21 successfully argued that the listing information and data was their property and essentially it is.  When sellers sign an MLS® Listing Agreement, that Agreement is essentially the property of that given real estate brokerage.  As such it is not free to be used by either individuals or companies for their own commercial gain without permission. 
  As consumers, we have come to rely quite heavily on our ability to research things online.  Whether it's for a house, car, clothing, books or whatever, online information needs to be both timely and accurate in order for it to best serve a buyer's needs.  Increasingly, consumer's permission is also needed in order to effectively post some information online.  When that information is then acquired unlawfully by a third party and posted online, accuracy is often compromised and privacy perhaps violated so Century 21's success challenge of Zoocasa's activity was justified.

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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.