Zillow hit with $8.32 million penalty in copyright infringement suit

by Anna Sobrevinas15 Feb 2017
Real estate photography company VHT Studios was awarded $8.32 million by a jury after suing Zillow for copyright infringement, according to HousingWire.

Zillow will have to pay VHT $79,875 in actual damages and $8.24 million in statutory damages.

In July 2015, VHT filed the complaint in July of 2015. The lawsuit alleged that Zillow’s home improvement and design division, Zillow Digs, used VHT photos without permission.

In January of last year, VHT added a claim of copyright infringement on Zillow’s listings site to the lawsuit, but that claim was dismissed by the court the same year.

Despite the heavy penalty, Zillow is not giving up just yet.

Zillow spokesperson Amanda Woolley said they believe the suit was “without merit.”

“We take copyright protection and enforcement seriously and will continue to respect copyright permissions across our platforms,” Woolley said. “While we are pleased that the majority of original claims were dismissed in this case, we regret that the jury did not find for us completely on those that remained, and will vigorously pursue all options to overturn their verdict.” 

Zillow’s SEC filing states “The Company intends to file motions in the district court seeking judgment for the Company on certain claims that are the subject of the verdict, and for a new trial on others.”

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