Photo infringement case against Zillow

I saw an article a while back about Zillow being sued for more than $8 million for infringing on photo copyrights. Here is the full story, for those interested.


Zillow is appealing the decision, which was originally brought to court in July 2015 by VHT. They are a photography company that alleged Zillow had been stealing thousands of VHT photos and using them illegally on their new “Zillow Digs,” which shows what is currently trending in residential interior design.

I haven’t heard anything about the outcome of the appeal, but thought it was interesting, as I’ve had my own share of run-ins with claims of copyright infringement for pictures used on my blog. We use Google Images, but only the ones tagged for reuse. Most images for sale have a water mark to indicate it is copyrighted and if you click on it, it takes you to the site where you can pay for the use. Apparently, the legal representative told me the owner has no obligation to indicate you have to pay for it and then if you use the photo thinking it is a free image, you are liable for payment.

One company wanted $7,000 from me for seven views on my blog before I took it down. They are really after deep pockets such as a Zillow, who should have staff that is aware of that process. I think Zillow will end up paying, but who knows how much. I am now much more cautious about the pictures we use.

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