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CoStar Sues RealMassive, Alleges Copyright Infringement

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CoStar Realty Information, Inc., a subsidiary of real estate research giant CoStar Group Inc. (CSGP - Free Report) , is suing Austin-based listings website and sharing platform RealMassive. The lawsuit alleges copyright infringement by the real estate listings company concerning CoStar’s intellectual property.

CoStar is seeking millions of dollars in damages and a permanent injunction against RealMassive and its senior executives, claiming that the company features CoStar’s copyrighted photographs in listings posted on its site. The research firm has also submitted concrete evidence of the national-scale copyright violations to the court, including photos showed on RealMassive.com with the CoStar logo or watermark still on them.

RealMassive has also used CoStar’s photographs in its marketing materials, such as a print brochure and an online presentation. CoStar found over a 100 photographs that violated copyright laws within a span of just a few days. In all probability, RealMassive’s alleged systematic theft has been conducted on a much larger scale, and the discovery process will shed light on the actual extent of the same.

RealMassive launched an aggressive public relations and marketing program, exhibiting itself as a “sharing” platform, in which commercial property owners willingly share data about their properties with users of the site for free. However, a quick assessment of the site and its content reveals a platform of stolen content. In fact, in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Austin, CoStar asserts that RealMassive is driven by a strategy built upon infringing proprietary content.

RealMassive’s founder and president, who is also the primary principal implicated in the lawsuit, Joshua McClure, has had a history of litigations. His previous company, Troopal Strategies, Inc. was sued in 2009 by Craigslist, which alleged that Troopal’s software was designed to explicitly spam users and violate the terms of use of Craigslist. Subsequently, Troopal was held liable for $8.2 million in damages, and a permanent injunction was issued against the company and McClure.

In April 2014, CoStar had filed a similar lawsuit against CompStak, alleging that some of CompStak’s users had unlawfully shared and published CoStar’s proprietary data. Subsequently, a judge ordered CompStak to disclose the identities of those users. After some time, CoStar dropped the case and did not take any further legal action.

CoStar currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks that look promising and are worth considering now include IMS Health Holdings, Inc. , Computer Task Group Inc. (CTG - Free Report) and Barracuda Networks, Inc. (CUDA - Free Report) , all of which carry the same rank as CoStar.

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