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VHT rival PlanOmatic changes photo copyright terms after Zillow lawsuit

02/28/2017

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Earlier this month, a federal court awarded real estate photography company VHT $8.3 million in a copyright infringement suit against Zillow Group.Now, in what may seem like a counterintuitive move, VHT rival PlanOmatic announced that it will assign ownership and copyright of the listing photos taken by its photographers to its real estate broker clients.In its announcement, PlanOmatic specifically referenced the VHT case and said the verdict in that case convinced PlanOmatic that listing photos should be owned by the listing broker.VHT did not name any brokers or MLSs in its case against Zillow — but the possibility that brokers or MLSs could be liable if they tried to give third parties (like Zillow) additional photo rights hung over the case like a specter.In their 2016 book Real Estate Listings & Copyright, attorneys Brian Larson and Mitchell Skinner wrote, “f the brokers or MLSs are purporting to license these photos to Zillow after the listings go off-mark…

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