Support Availability & Address Changes

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CEO Faith Geronimo lends a hand with the painting, adding some color to our office.
CEO Faith Geronimo lends a hand with the painting, adding some color to our office.
During the transition, we shifted from cubicles into startup mode.
During the transition, we shifted from cubicles into ‘startup mode.’
Our new office is less than half the size of our current space, but already feels like home!
Our new office is less than half the size of our current space, but already feels like home!

We’re moving!¬†Customer Support phone lines will be down on the morning of Friday, Sept. 6.

The Hawaii Information Service office will be moving next week! While our entire staff has been working over the past several months to ensure as smooth a transition as possible, there will be some unavoidable downtime and a few administrative changes that may affect you.

Phone System Downtime

The final cut-over of phone and network services will take place the morning of Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. We are happy to report that REsearch will not be affected. However, our phone lines will be down that morning. If you need to reach customer support, membership or accounting that day, we encourage you to send an email to:

support@hiinfo.com

Our customer support team will be monitoring this email address closely, and we will get back in touch with you as soon as possible.

Email Address Changes

As part of a larger effort to streamline our infrastructure, we are also migrating our email system to a new provider. As a result, over the next few weeks, you will notice our staff email addresses will change to name@hiinfo.com. Fortunately, we will still receive email sent to our older addresses (including @hawaiiinformation.com and @useresearch.com).

Mailing Address Change

If you need to send us anything in the mail, or would like to visit our office, please note our new location! We are still located in the Dole Office Building in Iwilei, but our suite number has changed:

Hawaii Information Service
680 Iwilei Road, Suite 670
Honolulu, HI 96817-5392

As with any move, there are sure to be some bumps along the way. We greatly appreciate your understanding and patience during this transition.

Office Closed on Monday

Labor Day Photo from Constant ContactThe Hawaii Information Service office will be closed on Monday, September 2, 2013 in observance of Labor Day. Normal office hours will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

As always, you can reach us after hours and on weekends by leaving a message on our emergency line. Just call (808) 599-4224 or (800) 628-3121 from the neighbor islands, and press * (star). Our phone system will notify our on-call staff, and someone will return your call as soon as possible.

The next observed holiday will be Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 28.

REMINDER: Upload Only Photos You Own

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CameraHawaii Information Service would like to remind you that you must have the appropriate rights to upload and display all photos used to represent your listings. Copying photos from other listings or taking them from the web could lead to copyright claims and payment demands from the entities that own them.

The safest way to ensure this is to take your own photos, but if you must hire a photographer to take them for you, please make sure that you have secured in writing all rights to use them.

Of course, these issues apply to photos used on agent and broker websites as well. Here’s a simple rule of thumb: “If you don’t know where the photo came from, don’t use it.”

An Expensive Scenario

Agents in a hurry to enter a listing or build a website can sometimes grab a photo off the internet to illustrate their neighborhood or a nearby attraction. Perhaps it’s a scenic aerial shot of the coastline, or a beautiful sunset on a golf course. But that photo is owned by someone. There is a whole industry built around acquiring and selling the rights to use images… and threatening legal action and demanding settlements from anyone who uses them without permission.

Companies like Getty Images have sophisticated tools that allow them to scour the web (and even archived older versions of websites) to find their licensed images. Hawaii Information Service has built websites for hundreds of agents over the years, and while we are incredibly careful about verifying or securing rights to the images used in website designs, a handful of agents have received settlement demands for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

And under copyright law, the company or person who displays the photo or image on their website is the one liable for unauthorized use. This means the situation for Realtors gets exponentially more complicated if an unlicensed photo is uploaded to the MLS with a listing, and is then displayed on dozens of other real estate websites via IDX or RETS.

In a recent case, an agent uploaded a Getty Images photo with a listing. That photo then appeared on another agent’s website, and that second agent received a notice from Getty Images seeking a $700 settlement. As the owner of the website where the image appeared, the second agent was technically liable, but fortunately the first agent agreed to pay the settlement.

As you might imagine, not every case will be settled so smoothly.

MLS Rules

As subscribers to the MLS and users of the REsearch system, you are bound by the MLS Rules and Regulations. Section VII covers licensing and copyright, indemnifying HIS from claims of copyright infringement. This section even includes sample language you should use when engaging a photographer to take listing photos.

If you have any questions regarding the rules, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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