The PAR standard forms library is consistently ranked by members as one of the top three benefits provided by the association (biased opinion here, but I agree). Since the forms library is an invaluable member benefit, we make it a priority to protect our intellectual property and enforce the copyright protections available to us. That being said, we can’t do it alone.
First and foremost, we rely on our members to demonstrate acceptable forms use and follow simple rules that we have set out.
Rule 1: Do not just hand out usable copies of forms to friends, family or strangers. If you are working with a potential client who would like to review a copy of the listing contract or buyer agency contract, for example, you may absolutely provide them with a copy of the contract to review. However, we ask that you a) explain that this is for their use only and shouldn’t be provided to anyone else and b) mark the form itself so that it is unusable in a transaction and, if possible, uncopyable. Use a watermark, cross out spaces for signatures, or make a note on each page that it’s a reference copy only; whatever you do, try to prevent the illegal use of the form.
Rule 2: Do not upload electronic forms to the internet. The internet is a vast network and the place where you put your documents may not be as secure as you think. If you’re posting forms online where anyone can access them, then anyone will access them. Once they have that document, there’s no telling where it will show up or how it will be used.
Rule 3: Do not share your login credentials. Not only is this a violation of our forms use policy, but it is likely a violation of the user agreement you have with your forms provider.
Rule 4: Do not try to sneak language into our standard forms. This one is a little more complicated but possible. People have occasionally been known to mimic the font and layout of our forms to include or replace language so that it looks like no alterations have been made and then present it as the PAR standard form. You may strike out certain language in our forms or add clauses to suit your needs, but you can’t just delete and replace words, and any strikeouts/additions must be done in a way that is obvious to the reader that the changes are not the standard language.
Rule 5: Always read the forms you receive. See Rule #4, above. There are unscrupulous individuals who will try to make a subtle change to the form in the hopes that you, in the hustle and bustle of the transaction and having read the agreement of sale hundreds of times, will unknowingly overlook and fail to point out to your client or question. Don’t just pass along an offer to your client without making sure that all is as you think it is, because the fault may be on you if you didn’t at least try to catch it.
The full forms use policy is available on our website for you to review at any time. Along with the policy is a web form where you can submit possible violations of these policies. As stated above, we cannot do it alone. It is impossible for us to police all corners of the internet and track down the individuals who may be violating our copyright. While we do catch some on our own, your assistance in notifying us of potential violations is appreciated.