3 Count: Zillow Digging

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1: Zillow Hit with Copyright Suit That Claims ‘Brazen Theft’ of Hundreds of Images

First off today, John Cook at GeekWire reports that real estate image provider VHT has sued Zillow, the company best known for its real estate database, over its Zillow Digs home improvement site.

Zillow Digs is a Pinterest-like site that allows users to get inspiration for their home improvement projects. According to VHT, the site is filled with photographs that VHT holds the rights to and were licensed only for the purpose of marketing and sale of the property. VHT claims that Digs makes no effort to remove images after a sale and many of the photos on there are for properties no longer on the market.

VHT is asking for damages and an injunction against Zillow using the photos on its Digs site. The lawsuit claims that, after a cursory check, they found over 300 photos of theirs used improperly but are seeking access to the Zillow Digs database so they can search for more. Zillow has responded and said that they abide by the licenses works are placed under and plan on fighting the lawsuit.

2: Turtles Move to Block $210 Million Sirius Deal with Record Labels

Next up today, Allison Frankel at Reuters reports that Flo & Eddie of the 1960s band The Turtles have filed a motion seeking to block a settlement between Sirius XM and the major record labels saying that it would dramatically impact the rights of those in their class action lawsuit.

The Turtles sued Sirius alleging that the satellite radio provider had failed to pay royalties for broadcasting pre-1972 sound recordings. Such sound recordings are not protected under federal copyright law but, instead, under state laws, prompting the band to sue in New York, California and Florida courts.

The group found success in New York and California, getting their lawsuit certified as a class action case there and winning some key early victories. However, the record labels filed their own suit and now Sirius is looking to settle with them to the tune of $210 million. The Turtles and their lawyers are trying to prevent Sirius from funding the settlement saying it disadvantages those in their class action lawsuit and circumvents the class action process.

3: Joseph Goebbels’ Family Win Legal Battle to be Paid Royalties for Diary Extracts

Finally today, Dayla Alberge at The Guardian reports that a German court has ruled the estate of Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, is entitled to royalties from Random House Germany after Random House published portions of Goebbels diary as part of a biography on him.

The diaries, first published in Germany in 2010, were used heavily by Random House in its biography. The estate argued that, since the copyright was still valid on the books, that they were owed royalties. However, Random House said they did not wish to pay royalties to the estate of a war criminal who helped Hitler craft his final solution.

The court did acknowledge that the rights the Goebbels estate holds will lapse at the end of this year, 70 years after his death. On those grounds, the court said it did not expect to see many, if any, similar cases in the future.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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