June 20, 2013
Recently, misleading and inaccurate information about C.A.R., its forms software product, and its relationships with its vendors has been circulated. C.A.R. has attempted to provide factual information to some of these entities; however, it is clear that some would rather engage in gross mischaracterizations for the sake of sensationalism than in the facts.
So, for the record, here are the facts.
C.A.R. offers Choice … and Security
It has been stated that C.A.R. doesn’t offer its members choice, and specifically, that C.A.R. has not allowed transaction management software platform provider, dotloop, to license C.A.R.’s forms.
That is correct and here’s why.
C.A.R. unapologetically protects its forms, because protecting its forms means protecting our members. C.A.R. exists to protect its members’ business interests and its members’ privacy. This commitment becomes evident if we examine three key comparisons between zipLogix and dotloop.
Second, dotloop does not take responsibility for compliance with copyright law, so the burden is pushed onto users, who must protect dotloop from intellectual property claims. Specifically, dotloop requires that the user indemnify dotloop if any forms or other content uploaded by the user violate someone else’s copyright or other intellectual property rights. By pushing liability onto C.A.R. members, dotloop can say it complies with copyright law, without bearing any responsibility to actually do so. In contrast, C.A.R. members can rest assured that users bear no risk of liability for copyright infringement under zipForm®.
Furthermore, with the C.A.R. User Protection Agreement (UPA), members receive protection in the legal arena because C.A.R. stands behind its forms in court, but only if members are using the most up-to-date forms. C.A.R. is a market-leader in terms of providing this UPA.
That said, C.A.R. understands its members want choice, so we’ve licensed our forms to other companies such as DocuSign®, Cartavi™, and SureClose® that offer a secure environment. Partnering with entities that provide high quality controls minimizes risks to our members.
Indeed, under proper protections, zipForm® interfaces with various transaction platforms, but those platforms must demonstrate that they meet C.A.R.’s security, privacy, licensing, and other high standards.
C.A.R. is all for offering choice, but protecting its members is its first and foremost concern. If it is not in members’ best interest, C.A.R. will not partner with any vendor. Period. C.A.R. wants to make it abundantly clear this is not about denying members a choice; rather, it is about protecting members' privacy and their business.
C.A.R. members benefit from zipLogix partnership
The notion that because C.A.R. is a trade association it somehow should not or does not have the ability to offer its members cutting edge technology is ridiculous. Since 1998, C.A.R., through a subsidiary, along with NAR and other state associations of REALTORS®, has owned zipLogix, which produces zipForm®. Currently utilized by more than 600,000 real estate professionals in 48 states, zipForm® and forms-related products developed by zipLogix represent significant market share—and to achieve that, one has to be a leader in the field.
Additionally, having a vested interest in a technology company means that C.A.R., via its 800 member directors and with input from numerous members in the field, makes the ultimate decisions regarding these key products that exist to benefit the membership. C.A.R. believes developing products by members for members is signature strength, not the other way around. Unlike other entities, whose primary concern is generating profits for their private venture capitalist investors, any profits realized by C.A.R.’s forms software company benefits its members. C.A.R., its for-profit subsidiary REBS, and zipLogix are on the same side. When C.A.R. benefits, members benefit.
Careless comments have been made regarding perceived conflicts of interest in terms of having the same CEO serve C.A.R. and its owned subsidiary. Having a CEO who is duty bound to maximize profits without any real allegiance to real estate professionals and the industry is the real conflict. To reiterate a simple fact: zipLogix is owned by REALTOR® organizations—all the profits go toward benefiting those organizations and their members.
C.A.R. Protects Its Intellectual Property—Yes, Yes We Do!
The suggestion that there is something amiss with the idea that C.A.R. copyrights its intellectual property, and that somehow this infringes on others’ choice to use that intellectual property as they wish seems counterintuitive to the concept of copyright in the first place. Of course C.A.R. copyrights its forms! C.A.R. continues to spend considerable resources, in terms of time (especially its members’ valuable time) and money, to ensure the utility, accuracy and completeness of its forms. And of course C.A.R. doesn’t want its forms to be altered—that could be disastrous for the members and their clients using those forms. These forms are designed for trained real estate professionals and must be protected from unauthorized use. Not only does C.A.R. stand behind its forms, but it goes even further in terms of providing a User Protection Agreement (UPA), which gives its members even more protection.
For more facts, click here to access a comprehensive fact sheet.