With a head start in the Canadian market with its autotrader.ca website, Trader Corp., had the practice of training its employees and contractors to take vehicle photos in a certain way, with specific staging and lighting.
CarGurus, arrived on the scene in 2015. CarGurus obtained its vehicle images by "indexing" or "scraping" dealers' websites, and ended up using some of AutoTrader.ca's images.
As part of its “indexing” or “scraping,” it seems that the CarGurus website included photos that were owned by Trader; after communication ensued regarding the images, and their consequent takedown from CarGurus' site, the dispute escalated into a litigation – the 2015 lawsuit by Trader alleged copyright infringement in relation to thousands of photos over which Trader claimed ownership.
Trader was only able to establish ownership in 152,532 photos. There were thousands of photos for which Trader could not show convincing evidence of ownership. This speaks to the inherent difficulty in establishing a solid evidentiary record of ownership of individual images across a complex business operation.
CarGurus raised a number of noteworthy defences.
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