Zillow Group plans to appeal $8M photo copyright verdict

VHT awarded damages in jury trial

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A jury has ordered Zillow Group to pay $8.24 million in statutory damages for infringing photo company VHT's copyright on images displayed on Zillow Digs, according to a Feb. 9 Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The digital real estate giant intends to immediately appeal the decision. The background VHT filed a federal copyright infringement suit against Zillow Group in July 2015. The photography company alleged that Zillow Group had been stealing tens of thousands of VHT’s photos and illegally using them for its own profit and gain. The parties squared off on that issue at a Seattle jury trial starting Jan. 23., with the verdict returned Feb. 9. The verdict also awards VHT $79,875 in actual damages, for a total award amount of $8.3 million. The jury found that Zillow Group failed to prove it could use VHT's photos either under license or fair use and Zillow Group therefore infringed 28,125 of VHT's photos, according to the jury verdict form. Zillow Group respond...