Internet and Social Networking

IAR Legal Counsel Steve Bochenek reminded attendees at the IAR Business Conference for Owners and Managers on Jan. 28 in Lombard about maintaining an appropriate company policy as regards to the Internet and social networking. 

  1. Brokers need to have copyright policies. You cannot use materials from another Web site without permission. You need to ensure you have a license to use or permission to use that information. Sponsored licensees need to be aware of your copyright policy.
  2. All Internet marketing is subject to the same general rules that apply to traditional marketing such as state and federal fair housing laws. Be mindful of this when including language on an Internet site.
  3. Don’t just link to an Internet site until you have reviewed the site you are linking to and are comfortable with the content that is published on the site you are linking to. Make sure you have permission to link to a site.
  4. Be careful of how you might drive traffic to your site to make sure you are not engaging in illegal activities such as raffles or games of chance.
  5. Designate one person who can be contacted at your office regarding Internet questions in your office.
  6. Ensure all Internet advertising is current and correct including Web site content.
  7. If you collect consumer information from a Web site you need to inform consumers that you are doing so, what you are going to do with that information, and how you are protecting their information. 
  8. E-mails, even through social networking, are subject to CAN-SPAM and federal and state laws with regards to e-mailing.
  9. If REALTORS® in your office have blogs, do you have restrictions on blogging and are those restrictions outlined in your company policy.
  10. Do you have restrictions on use of the Internet by employees? If so, these restrictions should also be identified in your company office policy.
  11. Include in your policy any limitations on the privacy expectations of sponsored licensees and employees.
  12. Include your company's electronic document (such as e-mails) retention policy.