Breaking Down the Math Behind Urban Living’s $29 Million Dues

How exactly did lawyers for Preston Wood & Associates — the firm awarded $29 million from Urban Living and its partners yesterday for copyright infringement — come up with such a pricetag for the developer’s misdeeds? It all boils down to the number of times Urban Living shared versions of Preston Wood’s townhouse plans without including a credit to the firm.

Urban Living’s principal Vinod Ramani said in deposition that “somewhere between 8,000 and 15,000 emails” containing copycat images of Nagle Park Place — shown above — had been sent out. And a Google analytics report tallied up the number of times visitors had accessed the Urban Living website where Nagle marketing materials were presented to them. Each email and each transmission of a website image to viewer counts as a distinct violation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. By the jury’s accounting, Urban Living distributed uncredited versions of Preston Wood’s work 11,516 times. Multiply that by the statutory penalty of $2,500 per violation, and you’ve got your grand total: $28,790,000.


Preston Wood’s lawyers had initially gone after Urban Living for sending out uncredited plans of several other developments, too: Patterson Street Landing, EaDo Place, and Stanford Street Landing. Although the jury found that Urban Living had copied plans for those sites, it got hung up on whether the developer credited them properly or not. After 3 days of deliberations, Preston Wood’s attorneys withdrew the firm’s claim on those developments, so none of them factored into the penalty. A fifth development named in the suit, 4504 Mount Vernon St., didn’t make it into the math either.

Photo: HAR

Show Your Work

5 Comment