JHU grad student who runs McMansion Hell gets support after Zillow's legal threats - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Jun. 28, 2017 12:07 pm

JHU grad student who runs McMansion Hell gets support after Zillow’s legal threats

The cease-and-desist letter from Zillow claimed copyright violations. Lawyers are questioning those claims.

A McMansion Hell entry.

(Photo via McMansion Hell)

At McMansion HellKate Wagner chronicles homes where architects went overboard.

This week, the grad student at Johns Hopkins’ Peabody Institute is facing pushback from real estate site Zillow. It’s about the photos, not the words.

According to Gizmodo, lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to Wagner, claiming that she took photos from Zillow without permission. Along with copyright violations, a letter also claimed Wagner could be in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. McMansion Hell is currently offline (It’s still on Tumblr). In a statement, Wagner said the blog and freelancing gigs helped her support herself, and receiving the letter was “utterly terrifying.”

The claim got immediate attention from lawyers, and she is receiving from the Electronic Frontier FoundationArs Technica reports that Zillow doesn’t own the photos in question. Besides, she posted that the photos came from Zillow, and were used under the Fair Use doctrine since her commentary was funny.

Zillow is catching its own heat as a result.

But the site is sticking with the request, and said in a statement provided to Fortune that it didn’t intend to shut McMansion Hell down.

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