Real EstateFinTech

Zillow on track to pay $4 million to VHT after judge chops jury award in half

Jury originally awarded $8.32 million in damages in copyright infringement lawsuit

VHT, a real estate photography company, was all set to receive $8.32 million in damages from Zillow Group after a jury found that images from VHT appeared on the Zillow Digs site without VHT’s consent, but that’s not the case anymore.

According to Law360, a judge cut the original $8.32 million award in half because there was “insufficient evidence anyone saw the vast majority of the photos.”

In February, a jury awarded VHT $79,875 in actual damages and $8.24 million in statutory damages in the copyright infringement lawsuit.

Back in July 2015, VHT filed a complaint against Zillow alleging copyright infringement of VHT’s images on the Zillow Digs site. VHT later amended its complaint, alleging copyright infringement of VHT’s images on the Zillow Digs site, as well as the Zillow’s main listings site, Zillow.com.

In 2016, the court dismissed VHT’s claims with respect to Zillow.com.

But there was still the issue of VHT’s images on Zillow Digs. The jury’s decision brought that lengthy legal battle to a close, or so it seemed.

At the time, Zillow said that it planned to “vigorously pursue all options to overturn (the jury’s) verdict.”

And this week, a judge overturned the jury’s verdict for 24,202 of the 28,125 images in question and cut the judgment in half.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Zillow confirmed the judge’s ruling and said that the judge found that VHT failed to present sufficient evidence to prove direct copyright infringement of almost all the images involved in the case.

“We have persistently maintained our belief that this suit was without merit and we are pleased that the court largely supported our position,” Zillow spokesperson Amanda Wooley said. “We take copyright protection and enforcement seriously and will continue to respect copyright permissions across our platforms.”

[Update: The headline of this article is updated to reflect the fact that the case is still ongoing.]

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