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Update On The CoreLogic Class Action Suit

In: 
Published: 13/07/2016
By: larry

copyrightToday Joel Rothman sent me the following status update on the CoreLogic Class Action suit we've been following for the last 2 years:

On behalf of plaintiffs Robert Stevens and Steven Vandel, we are disappointed at the decision of the District Court for the Southern District of California dismissing the plaintiffs’ complaint against CoreLogic for removal of copyright management information.

The decision is contrary to the evidence showing that Corelogic knew it was stripping photo metadata, and that even after CoreLogic claimed to have fixed its software, violations continued.

Plaintiffs also presented evidence that CoreLogic is currently removing metadata fields that relate to usage rights such as: Copyright Owner Name, Creator Work Email, Creator Work Telephone, Creator Work URL and Copyright Flag.

Even today, CoreLogic continues to remove certain copyright management information metadata and distribute photographs with the metadata stripped out in violation of 17 USC §1202, including on CoreLogic’s Partner InfoNet Program.

Plaintiffs plan to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Plaintiffs and their lawyers appreciate all the support they have received from the real estate photographer community and look forward to the day when a jury will decide this case on the merits.

Here is the complete text of the decision. Also, here is a post today (non-subscribers can only read this once) on the suit that was on Inman.com. For readers that are new to this subject here is a list of previous PFRE posts related to this subject.

6 comments on “Update On The CoreLogic Class Action Suit”

  1. "...Plaintiffs cannot point to a single photograph that had CMI at the time of upload. At most, the named Plaintiffs can say that some of the photographs they gave to real estate agents had CMI in the metadata, but since they, in general, were not the uploaders, they can’t say whether
    the CMI existed at the time of upload. This flaw is fatal to Plaintiffs’ argument."

    It is hard for me to see the point of pursuing such a lawsuit without being able to prove that the plaintiffs delivered the photos with electronic copyright notices and that it was the defendant that removed these notices. To me, it seems as though appealing this judgement is a waste of time.

    This leads me to wonder how one can prove these things.

  2. Wow, just wow. The court actually bought the argument that couldn't prove that was there at upload inferring that the Realtor clients actually had the desire, time or even knowledge to remove to alter the EFIX data prior to uploading. What if one of the plaintiffs was both a photographer and a Realtor who personally uploaded the photos for their listing (no assistant involved). Then of course the argument would be that the photographer/realtor had the knowledge of how to alter the EFIX data after the fact to present to the court and wasn't there at the time of upload.

  3. This case appears pointless and was a poor case to bring to court. They couldn't prove that the data was there at upload, nor could the show harm. I'm not surprised at the judgement.

  4. The case is import due to the wrangling over "Orphan Works". With no meta-data, a defendant may claim that the photos they are using fall under Orphan Works guidelines. I agree with the case being brought forward so that a precedent is established about removing meta-data without permission of the copyright holder.

    Because I license images, Copyright is important to me. If somebody finds one of my images, it would be great if they could find my contact information in the meta-data so they can contact me about purchasing a license. If an agent likes my images, they could possibly find me. If they ripped it off, I still might get credit for the image. There is no good reason to strip the meta-data from the images. It doesn't interfere with displaying the image and it's only a tiny increase in the file size. With no GOOD reason to remove the information, what is the BAD reason they are doing it?

  5. It looks like from the decision that the only stumbling block to proving the case is the chain of custody of the photographs from when the photographers delivered them to the client to when they were uploaded to the MLS. The plaintiffs will need to work with some of their customers by delivering the images in person, uploading them and then inspecting them after they are posted. It looks like the DMCA laws do prohibit stripping any copyright information.

  6. We had an situation this week where a client refused to pay for the images we shot for them. The photos were removed from RealEstate.com.au. A couple of weeks later the images have re-appeared, listed under a different Real Estate Agency, who claimed they got the images from CoreLogic.

    So not only did we not get paid for the shoot but our 'stolen' photos were allegedly sold by both RealEstate.com.au and CoreLogic. Everyone except us has profited from our work. And this is legal? I'm not sure how this is any different than selling pirated movies.

    If nothing else, it was an important reminder to always get paid upfront, especially if the vendor is picking up the bill.

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