PropertyGuru, Singapore’s largest property classifieds portal in terms of traffic, is suing rival startup 99.co over reproducing content from its website, according to court documents obtained by Tech in Asia.
The next hearing will be held on September 20 in the Singapore Supreme Court.
PropertyGuru claims there are three causes of action:
99.co breached a settlement agreement that both parties entered into on September 2015.
99.co violated PropertyGuru’s copyright by reproducing photos with the latter’s watermark.
At the center of these three claims is Xpressor, a third-party app which property agents have been using to cross-post property listings from PropertyGuru to 99.co.
99.co is contesting all three accusations, and counterclaiming that PropertyGuru is making groundless threats.
In its defense, 99.co argues that:
End users (the property agents) were the ones who reproduced the content that allegedly belongs to PropertyGuru.
Property agents are merely exercising their own copyright information by cross-posting content from PropertyGuru to 99.co using a third-party software.
The case follows intensifying competition between the two for Singapore’s property market.
What the courts will have to decide is whether or not 99.co, by using Xpressor, is responsible for the watermarked images that wound up on its website. Furthermore, there is a question as to whether or not they are even copyrightable material.