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McMansion Hell Blog in Legal Hot Water with Real Estate Site Zillow

[Updated June 29, 2017] It's been a mixed bag for viral sensation McMansion Hell. The same day as a feature video by The Washington Post, the news broke that the website is facing potential legal charges from real estate site Zillow.
June 27, 2017, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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John Arehart

Natt Garun reports:

McMansion Hell is a Tumblr blog that highlights the absurdity of giant real estate properties and the ridiculous staging and photography that are omnipresent in their sales listings. The blog, started by 23-year-old Johns Hopkins graduate student Kate Wagner, began in July 2016 as a way to poke fun at pretentious architecture. It has since gone viral, but now she’s facing potential legal charges by real estate site Zillow for allegedly violating the site’s terms of service by reproducing the images on her blog.

Wagner posted on June 26, 2017, announcing that Zillow is threatening to sue if most of the site's posts aren't deleted. An appeal for help is included with a notice that the blog is going offline for "a while."

The bad legal news for the McMansion Hell came the same day as The Washington Post featured a well-produced video, giving the website and Wagner some major screen time. The video also includes the design details of why McMansions lend themselves to so many design criticisms. The discussion gives Wagner a chance to showcase her wit, like when she talks about the infamous "nubs" that are seen on the roof of many McMansions. "I've seen a lot of heinous nubs in my life," says Wagner. 

Update: Zillow will not pursue legal action against McMansion Hell, according to another article by Natt Garun. Zillow also released the following statement via email:

We have decided not to pursue any legal action against Kate Wagner and McMansion Hell. We’ve had a lot of conversations about this, including with attorneys from the EFF, whose advocacy and work we respect. EFF has stated that McMansion Hell won’t use photos from Zillow moving forward.

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. 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.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, June 26, 2017 in The Verge
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