Zillow uses VHT’s photos to display in home listings on its main website. However, Zillow continued to use these photos on expired home listings and additionally used these works on their “Digs” site which was focused on home interior designs. VHT eventually sued Zillow in the Western District of Washington for copyright infringement of photographs of homes used on Zillow’s listing site and “Digs” site.
Judge Robart granted Zillow summary judgment on the volitional conduct claim and denied both parties’ summary judgment motions on direct and secondary infringement claims regarding the “Digs” site. The jury found Zillow liable for willful infringement and awarded VHT around $8 million in combined statutory and actual damages. Judge Robart reduced the award to around $4 million and only found Zillow liable for infringements of certain photographs. Judge Robart additionally found insufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict on secondary liability. Both parties filed cross-appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded on March 15, 2019. VHT filed a cert petition, which was distributed for conference by the Supreme Court October 1, 2019.