What is REDPLAN NOT?
REDPLAN is NOT a data aggregator.
REDPLAN is NOT a data syndicator.
REDPLAN is NOT a data licensor.
REDPLAN is NOT an organization that mandates policies.
REDPLAN is NOT a replacement for your local attorney.
REDPLAN is NOT a for-profit company.
REDPLAN is an organization focused on advocating for real estate intellectual property rights and copyright best practices, providing a “central office” for alerts and advisories concerning data theft and misuse, acting as a clearing-house for litigation strategy and – through an associational standing position – providing an organization to help class actions take hold against those violating industry copyright and data license agreements.
1. How will decisions be made at REDPLAN, and how will it determine whether to support or not support an issue?
REDPLAN will have a Board of Directors, which will likely be comprised of 7-9 members, who will be the initial leadership group for the organization. All decisions, during the incipient stages of the organization, will ultimately need the approval of the Board of Directors. As the institution develops, there could be certain delegation to others—such as administrative personnel—but that is further down the line. Moreover, given that not all issues or potential legal cases will be of the same magnitude—in terms of the legal issues, or the amount in controversy—there could be different decision making procedures applied.
2. Will Board members potentially be called on to decide whether to sue or send “cease and desist” letters to competitors?
This will obviously be a question that would need to be addressed in an ad hoc fashion. Many trade organizations have members in various levels of competition, or in different sectors of the same general industry. This is particularly true in the real estate world, where some trade organizations have broker members, appraisers, mortgage lenders and brokers, and others involved in the real estate business. There could be times when a REDPLAN member may raise a dispute against another member (such as commonly occurs in boards where brokers often seek to resolve commission disputes). Indeed, members might be able to use REDPLAN to resolve differences prior to having to commence suit in a court of law.
That said, REDPLAN shall have a “conflict of interest” policy, and will require members of the Board to recuse themselves, when necessary, in order to ensure the integrity of the decision-making process.
3. Will REDPLAN share the name of sites that have been identified as potential infringers with REDPLAN members?
This is obviously a decision for the Board in consultation with counsel and other advisors. However, it is anticipated that one of the functions of REDPLAN will be to advise REDPLAN members (and if the members choose, their subscribers/members) about potential infringers and their sites, as well as to assist in confirming the accuracy of all potential complaints about infringement.
4. Would REDPLAN focus only on infringement actions that affect every REDPLAN member? If not, when will REDPLAN take on matters that impact only a few of its members?
Obviously, the more egregious the infringement, the more likely that REDPLAN would be engaged in some capacity. However, there could be actions that would be taken with respect to less significant infringement –it all depends on the particulars of the situation. The REDPLAN Board of Directors would make the determination at what point REDPLAN would get involved and in what capacity.
5. How will REDPLAN be funded, and how will those funds be allocated?
As for funding, at least initially, some of the funding will come from dues paid by membership. Please see the REDPLAN website for the dues fee structure. Similarly, as potential legal actions succeed, certainly a portion of damages received could be contributed back to REDPLAN. Like other organizations, REDPLAN will have members of the Board (and others) assigned to the function of budgeting and allocations of financial resources.
6. Assuming that REDPLAN will be involved in funding lawsuits directly or indirectly, how will it collect resources from its members to fund them?
Funding will come from dues from members, as well as potentially receiving a portion of settlements from successful lawsuits. This is not unlike other trade associations. Costs of litigation are dependent on the facts and circumstances of each action, and can vary based on the actions taken by each potential adversary.
7. Will REDPLAN require members to agree to abide by and respect other firms’ properly registered copyright?
Yes. REDPLAN’s mission is to protect and promote the intellectual property rights of its members. Accordingly, like other associations, which ask members to abide by a Code of Ethics, REDPLAN shall ask its members to accept and agree that they will respect the properly registered intellectual property rights of other members.
8. If REDPLAN will engage in monitoring, does it plan to log or index approved data licensing or uses?
Any monitoring would only be done with the approval and cooperation of the MLS who identifies an issue. Moreover, there would not be monitoring of a fellow member, without having a discussion with the member making any sort of complaint/statement, and the party who might be the subject any such complaint/statement. The goal is not to create an atmosphere of mistrust, but rather to foster an atmosphere of trust and respect for properly registered copyrights, patents, and trademarks.
9. Would REDPLAN members be able to pursue their own copyright infringement actions outside of REDPLAN
Members clearly would be free to pursue their own litigation should they so desire. There would not be a requirement that a member would be required to only pursue an action in conjunction with or the approval of REDPLAN. One of the missions of REDPLAN is to educate members about the copyright laws, and to assist in strategy and planning for litigations, if that is what is required. REDPLAN seeks to work efficiently with its members, and would not want to create unnecessary impediments to the vindication of its members’ intellectual property rights.
10. Will REDPLAN confirm that its strategies keep MLS members in compliance with National Association of REALTOR® (NAR) MLS Policy?
REDPLAN would likely consult with NAR’s representatives and attorneys on matters of strategy to ensure compliance with NAR’s MLS Policy. That said, given that many of REDPLAN’s expected members will be MLSs and their attorneys, it is unlikely that non-compliance would be an issue: REDPLAN intends to remain current on relevant NAR Policies and to have a continuing dialogue with NAR relating to real estate intellectual property rights.
11. Why form REDPLAN? Can’t one of the existing industry leaders take on this role effectively?
Yes, it is necessary to form REDPLAN. The importance of intellectual property rights in the real estate industry cannot be overstated, and with the continued increasing importance of technological tools, for both professionals and consumers, the protection of intellectual property rights should be the central mission of an independent organization—not just an adjunct to one of the existing organizations. Your intellectual property is only getting more sophisticated, more complex and more important to your organization’s business mission.
In addition, because REDPLAN anticipates having members from various sectors of the real estate community, some of whom do not necessarily fit under the core mission of some of the existing industry organizations.
We want to be absolutely clear. The creation of REDPLAN is not about denigrating the work done by other organizations – which provide valuable services and assistance to the industry. The creation of REDPLAN is a recognition that protection and promotion of real estate intellectual property rights requires a group whose focus and central mission is precisely that—the protection and promotion of real estate intellectual property rights.
12. Is there any intention to deploy a technology that will help identify potential copyright infringement or protect against potential copyright infringement?
While the idea of deploying a technology to help identify copyright infringement is certainly an interesting idea, at the moment, there are no intentions to execute this idea. Nor is there any intention to deploy a technology to “protect against potential copyright infringement.”