One of my favorite blogs is McMansion Hell. But if you follow that link today you’ll find no blog there. That’s because Zillow doesn’t like Wagner mocking its clients’ houses, and is threatening to sue McMansion Hell because Zillow doesn’t understand the nature of US copyright law i.e. 1) Zillow doesn’t own the copyright to the photos on its site and therefore has no standing to sue 2) Kate Wagner, the genius behind Mcmansion Hell,definitely did not “violate the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse act” in copying the images from the site, and 3) fair use is a thing.
Wagner doesn’t only mock. She’s written some in-depth and very readable articles about domestic architecture, and is the reason I now own A Field Guide to American Houses.I wish I could link you to one. But I can’t, because Zillow, and fuck them for that. (Wagner is also the reason I look at any tiny framed print on a large wall and think “An art!” )
So bookmark McMansion Hell, and when Zillow inevitably cower back into their burrow and the site is restored, go check it out. In the meantime you could just go and marvel at this New Zealand McMansion I actually wanted to submit to Wagner today. I’ll just have to make up my own snarky commentary.
Interestingly, fair use is not a thing in New Zealand. Hairy Mclary is a beloved canine character from a best-selling series of children’s books. The publisher just successfully demanded an art work by Kiwi street artist Milton Springsteen be pulled from a charity auction for flood victims because it breached copyright. A spokesperson for Penguin Random House said, “it was probably a simple oversight on the part of the artist,” and “the artist would appreciate the need to accept artistic copyright.”
Milton Springsteen’s Beefed Up, and Kiwi icon Rita Angus’s seminal Cass (1936).
It might be true that “New Zealand copyright law [has] no defence for appropriation art” but the law is an ass. So is Zillow.
Update: 30 June
Zillow released this statement today:
Surprisingly, Emily Heffter emailed me a copy directly, which I guess they did to everyone who blogged about the issue. Makes me feel like my insignificant singular voice adds some tiny contribution to resisting our dystopian times.
McMansion Hell will be posting tomorrow as scheduled. Check them out.