Zillow drops legal threat against McMansion Hell - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Zillow drops legal threat against McMansion Hell

With the agreement to drop lawsuit threats, the satirical architecture blog run by a JHU grad student won't use Zillow photos.

A McMansion Hell entry.

(Photo via McMansion Hell)

Zillow is backing off threats to sue a blog that pokes fun at suburban houses with an amalgamation of architectural styles.

Earlier this week, lawyers for the real estate site sent a cease and desist letter to McMansion Hell and creator Kate Wagner for using photos without permission. Wagner, a grad student at Johns Hopkins’ Peabody Institute, was supported with legal help from the Electronic Frontier Foundation after the case got lots of internet attention. EFF argued in a written response Thursday that the photos were used under fair use. They used a graphic to illustrate:

Zillow Public Relations Manager Emily Heffter issued a statement Thursday saying the Seattle-based company decided not to take legal action. In turn, EFF agreed that McMansion Hell will not use Zillow photos in the future, the statement said.

“It was never our intent for McMansion Hell to shut down, or for this to appear as an attack on Kate’s freedom of expression,” Heffter said. “We acted out of an abundance of caution to protect our partners — the agents and brokers who entrust us to display photos of their clients’ homes.”

The site was down after the controversy erupted, but has since returned. Wagner said two new posts are coming soon.

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