Photographs’ copyright belongs to agents, not PropertyGuru: 99.co founder

Photographs’ copyright belongs to agents, not PropertyGuru: 99.co founder

99.co office
File photo of 99.co's office at Ayer Rajah. 

SINGAPORE: The copyright of contents for a listing belongs to property agents, not PropertyGuru, said the CEO and co-founder of online property portal 99.co Darius Cheung. 

Mr Cheung continued to take the stand on the fourth day of a hearing for a civil suit between PropertyGuru and 99.co on Tuesday (Sep 26), where PropertyGuru is suing 99.co over alleged copyright infringements.

99.co has denied the claims and is countersuing.

Both websites allow buyers and sellers of property, including real estate agents, to view and advertise listings.

Mr Cheung was questioned for about five hours on Tuesday by PropertyGuru's lawyer Sathinathan Karuppiah.

During the exchange, the court heard more about the Xpressor mobile app, which PropertyGuru said 99.co was using to allow agents to violate its policies.

Mr Cheung maintained that 99.co did not breach PropertyGuru's terms and conditions when their photographs were cross-posted to the 99.co website using the Xpressor app. Just because PropertyGuru modified the photographs and placed a watermark on them, does not mean that copyright now belongs to the company, he argued.

In response, PropertyGuru's lawyer, Sathinathan Karuppiah said the copyright belonged to PropertyGuru as agents had "assigned" the rights to the content once they uploaded it on PropertyGuru's website, based on their site’s terms and conditions.

During the exchange, Mr Cheung re-emphasised that 99.co did not own the Xpressor app, stating that it belonged to Media Publishing Group, Xpressor’s parent company.

The app was launched in June 2015 but removed from app stores in January 2016. When Mr Karuppiah asked if agents who still have the app can use it, Mr Cheung agreed.

99.co also has a "Posting Assistance" service which it has offered since August 2016. It helps 99.co's clients cross-post their listings from other portals onto 99.co manually.

The hearing continues tomorrow, with 99.co's Chief Operating Officer and co-founder Phun Yan Yan on the witness stand. 

Source: CNA/ad

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