Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Jun 2017 09:13 UTC
Legal

Cyrus Farivar, for Ars:

An architecture blogger has temporarily disabled her website, McMansionHell.com, after receiving a demand letter from Zillow and posting it on Twitter.

On Monday, Zillow threatened to sue Kate Wagner, saying that that she was violating its terms of use, copyright law, and possibly the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act because she took images from the company's website without permission. However, on each of her posts, she acknowledged that the images came from Zillow and were posted under the fair use doctrine, as she was providing (often humorous) commentary on various architectural styles. Her website was featured on the design podcast 99% Invisible in October 2016.

Confusingly, Zillow does not even own the images in question. Instead, Zillow licenses them from the rights holders. As such, it remains unclear why the company would have standing to bring a lawsuit against Wagner.

Her website is incredibly entertaining, and you'd think such use of photos falls squarely under fair use. It sucks that she had to shutdown her website, and I'm hoping Zillow loses this case hard.

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RE[2]: fair use vs plagiarism
by sj87 on Tue 27th Jun 2017 10:12 UTC in reply to "RE: fair use vs plagiarism"
sj87
Member since:
2007-12-16

Edit: in this case there is obviously no plagiarism taking place.

Obvious not plagiarism as the source was identified, but I wonder if 'fair use' would cover extensive, even professional-level, copying of someone else's work.

It is one thing to create a parody out of one or two or three pieces, but here it seems that the sole purpose of existence for mcmansionhell.com was to copy Zillow's content and re-publish it in a slightly different context for their own profit.

Edited 2017-06-27 10:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: fair use vs plagiarism
by Megol on Tue 27th Jun 2017 13:00 in reply to "RE[2]: fair use vs plagiarism"
Megol Member since:
2011-04-11

"Edit: in this case there is obviously no plagiarism taking place.

Obvious not plagiarism as the source was identified, but I wonder if 'fair use' would cover extensive, even professional-level, copying of someone else's work.

It is one thing to create a parody out of one or two or three pieces, but here it seems that the sole purpose of existence for mcmansionhell.com was to copy Zillow's content and re-publish it in a slightly different context for their own profit.
"

I actually don't think this is covered by fair use. I've never looked at the site in question and if it's based wholly on Zillow's content then it should be shut down completely.

Fair use isn't based on taking some picture (or other media) and writing some words for "fun" - fair use is about taking something in order to comment on that piece. This seems like someone taking a picture from someone else (that Zillow doesn't own but use under some licence) _against_ the usage terms Zillow have and then getting upset when Zillow point out that they have agreed not to do those things (goes again their usage contract) and that it goes against copyright laws.

I can't legally find a picture that someone else have taken of a third party and then publicize that picture but with "fun" text pointing out how ugly that third party is. That is a copyright violation and not covered by fair use.
The only difference to this case is that there are _many_ violations and most likely (again I haven't look at the site this is about) economical gain in doing these copyright violations through ads.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

I actually don't think this is covered by fair use. I've never looked at the site in question and if it's based wholly on Zillow's content then it should be shut down completely.


Well, the pictures being used are clearly criticism of the subject matter. That is obviously fair use.

But, beyond that, Zillow does not actually own the copyright on the pictures used - the people who post their pictures of their houses are the actual copyright owner.

Reply Parent Score: 2