RegulationsTechnology

Zillow Group and photography firm VHT taking battle to higher court

Rights to property photos have been the target of heightened scrutiny in recent years
  • Case could have implications for what happens to listing photos after a property sells, and who has rights to them.

Real estate listing photos appear to be the subject of increasing legal skirmishes lately, and there are at least two players in the industry not ready to give up the fight for their rights to them. Real estate giant Zillow Group and real estate photography firm VHT are both petitioning the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower, district court's final judgment on a two-year legal battle between the two companies. VHT 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 final judgment, issued July 10 by Judge James L. Robart of the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington in Seattle, upheld a $4.05 million verdict against Zillow Group, cut down from a previous $8.3 million verdict. Robart found that VHT failed to present sufficient evidence that Zillow directly infringed on 24,202 of VHT’s photos, but found that Zillow Group willfully infringed on 2,700 of VH...