But now that 3Taps has found an ingenious way to get at the data with zero extra bandwidth cost to Craigslist (by retrieving it from the Google cache rather than CL itself), it's clear that what Craigslist really dislikes is competition.
While Craigslist is probably within their legal rights here, this case shows that for all their talk about their benevolent aims, Craigslist is no different from other companies.
"Though the most successful founders are usually good people, they tend to have a piratical gleam in their eye. They're not Goody Two-Shoes type good. Morally, they care about getting the big questions right, but not about observing proprieties. That's why I'd use the word naughty rather than evil. They delight in breaking rules, but not rules that matter. This quality may be redundant though; it may be implied by imagination.
Sam Altman of Loopt is one of the most successful alumni, so we asked him what question we could put on the Y Combinator application that would help us discover more people like him. He said to ask about a time when they'd hacked something to their advantage—hacked in the sense of beating the system, not breaking into computers. It has become one of the questions we pay most attention to when judging applications."
Generally, I don't think you want your naughtiness to tie you up in a legal battle.
Can CL "win"? Can they stop everyone else, PadMapper is but the first of many, no doubt, from re-displaying facts (classified ads) in different formats?
I would really call this into question for the copyright claims. The key claim is copyright infringement, and the listings on Craigslist are almost certainly unprotected, much like telephone directory listings. They are statements of fact rather than creative works.
Craigslist may attempt to claim copyright over reproduction of their database as a whole (compilation), but the Supreme Court has ruled that in order to be eligible the compilation must be "original in its selection, coordination, and arrangement", and Craigslist can hardly claim that.
The breach of contract claims may be stronger though. The pages on the Google cache presumably still contain the ToS, and if they apply (who knows?) then PadMapper's use of Craigslist would likely constitute a breach. A ruling on this would be very interesting.
So there could be a entire listing for a SF apartment with lots of details and padmapper would not copy any of it- instead they would just make notes - 3 bedroom, location, price, pictures and then link back to CL if someone clicks the listing on PM
Would this work? Can a phonebook just put a section at the beginning of this page that by reading this book you are agreeing to the ToS which state you can't copy it?
I know most ToS contain a section about by using this service you are agreeing to the ToS.
But I think there is a good argument that Padmapper isn't actual using the service since they aren't getting the information from Craigslist's servers.
Am I using a service, and thus bound by contract if I look at a screengrab of a website on a third party website (that contains a ToS).
I've said before though that Craigslist could invent fictitious entries, and sue Padmapper for copying those creative works, just like mapmakers do with fake towns.
As for phone books, a shrink-wrap license on a CD-ROM phone book which prohibited copying was upheld by the US courts (ProCD), so that copying was a breach of contract even though the underlying data was unprotected.
> PadMapper isn't actually 'using' the service.
Using is a wonderfully subjective word, and I'd expect accesing, and making use of to be acceptable synonyms.
> I've said before though that Craigslist could invent fictitious entries, and sue Padmapper for copying those creative works, just like mapmakers do with fake towns.
These are known as "trap streets" and US federal court has ruled that they are not protectable. Map makers are able to sue because the rest of their map is protectable; the trap streets simply catch the infringer red-handed.
Hm, would you not say that what Craigslist really dislikes is their competition piggy-backing off their data? Craigslist seemed quite happy with the existing situation until Padmapper launched their own listing service.
Though I agree that it's not in the spirit of a .org, if such concept exists.
It's not their data. It's ours, as the users. Craigslist doesn't own anything I upload to them.
The reason PadMapper exists is because Craigslist refuses to not suck.
> You also expressly grant and assign to CL all rights and causes of action to prohibit and enforce against any unauthorized copying, performance, display, distribution...
Seems to be vital to this case.
My personal interpretation/hope is that the right to sue for copyright infringement is nontransferable, which would give Craigslist no standing to sue. Individual posters could sue, however.
 https://www.eff.org/files/filenode/righthaven_v_dem/order6-1... (See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Righthaven_LLC_v._Democratic_Un...)
I suspect this may have been one of the introduced terms.
It says that you own everything you post, but you are granting them the rights to use it. The only unusual bit is that you are additionally granting them the right to go after people who scrape your content on your behalf.
Craigslist is delivering exactly what it its users signed up for (no more no less). People posting ads on Craigslist do not necessarily want or intend for it to be reposted on other sites.
Still, I think there's something admirable in the simplicity and transparency of interacting with Craigslist. What you see is pretty much exactly what you get.
I had to giggle a little bit at this in the grand scheme of the internet, sorry.
When I posted something on Facebook Marketplace, I started getting emails and comments from other "market" sites that Facebook had cross-posted my listing to.
While it was annoying to not know this up front, the fact that it was more visible and getting more bites because of it only helped me make the sale quicker. If a service wants to piggyback off of another to make my postings more buoyant, as a user and seller, I don't have a problem with it.
If this is illegal or otherwise objectionable without an explicit agreement from each Craigslist poster, I'm not really sure how a search engine or even descriptive hyperlinking is kosher without explicit agreement from each website indexed or referred to.
The point is Google respects publishers' desire not to be indexed. Padmapper does not. Robots.txt is simply a common method for conveying that message. It's not like Padmapper could argue they didn't know CL was unhappy; they got a certified letter!
This is just semantics. Google respects publishers who do not want their sites listed.
"folks, please remember, #craigslist community feedback massively against the use of their stuff for the profit of others."
The problem with a lot of startups in SV is that their only objective is to make money. Nothing else. Craigslist is very very rare exception.
Now lets downvoting starts...
Craigslist wastes several human lifetimes worth of time every month through maintaining a monopoly product with a shitty UI and refusing to let anyone innovate on top of it. They hold back progress and they are evil. They are the IE6 of classified ads.
That's a good one. I'm going to start using it. (Unless you make copyright objections.)
How many other websites use arguments like "bandwidth" to falsely portray competitors who access their publicly shared data as somehow in the wrong?
Many. Some here on HN. No need to name names.
No doubt even Google would complain about people "scraping" search results.
To me, it is a joke. Because the people who complain use automation to access, retrieve, organise and serve information and thereby establish their business. Only then to try to forbid others from using automation to do the same.
And all the while, it's NOT THEIR INFORMATION. This is not Craigslist's data. It's users' data.
It belongs to users, who are today's "publishers" and possess all those good ole publisher's rights. (Though they may naively license them out.)
They did give Craiglist permission to prevent others from using their data without permission. In this context, scraping any version of Craiglist's site (whether CL itself or a third party cache) falls within Craiglist's rights under the license they were given, and within the user's expectations of what Craiglist will do with their data.
Google is allowed in robots.txt. But that is not exactly what I would call an agreement.
The simple fact is this info is on the public web which, by its nature, copies and transfers data. That's what the web does. You upload something and it goes "viral". You have principles like the "Streisand effect" to contend with.
This goes back a long way. No doubt judges remember. The Ken Starr report on Ms. Lewinsky. Some random classified ad. Like it or not, information gets desseminated.
If you want to protect and restrict access to data, then you do not upload it to the public web. You put it behind access controls, e.g., a password. This is common sense.
If anyone has a claim here, it's users who do not want their ads on PadMapper (if there are any). CL has no standing and their motives are both pathetic and transparent.
Yes, they got an early advantage into the market and has the critical mass that many company can seem to compete with but why take that away from them because they refuse to update/add new features.
Instead of piggybacking on them and relying on their data to earn money, shouldn't Padmapper focus on building their own content. Isn't that where innovation comes from? Beating an existing company by creating a better platform?
And its not about a matter of choice the users have. There are many competitors in this market, and yes Craigslist dominates every one of them because they had an early advantage on the internet. Small sites can't just leech off the contents on their website and slap ads on it to make money.
Lets say Craigslist was a print company that produce and distribute classified as. Will it be right for a small company to steal their content and slap their ads on it and distribute it themselves?
Your argument won't work here, because there are many major newspaper that do 1000x in revenue and distribution than independent newspapers.
There is nothing forcing people to use Craiglist. They are not a monopoly, nor do they act like one.
The vast majority of people searching classified ads are searching craigslist, therefore if you're trying to list something in a classified ad, you're forced to use craigslist.
Sure you could use another service, but Netscape could have also just sold browsers only to Linux customers. It's all about the numbers.
People aren't really forced to use craigslist. That the vast majority of people choose to search CL isn't good enough. Another company could spend whatever it takes to get people to search their classifieds instead. As long as CL can't or doesn't block that (in contrast to stuff MS was doing that started the DOJ case against them), the competition is viable.
If they go to court and get an opinion it should be really helpful as a guide for other entrepreneurs who see re-processing the information on the web in new ways as the foundation for their business.
You mean, like Blekko?
The simple, inconvenient truth is most folks who are making money from the web, like search engines, are not content creators (nor content owners), they are content publishers... who publish for free. "Are you a non-technical person who wants to get something onto the web? No problem. We'll help you with that, for free. Just give us some personal info about you so we can solicit money from advertisers."
(Placement, e.g., paid placement, where the eyeballs are more likely to see something, for a fee, is another matter.)
Now that use has generally not been highly contested, people want their pages to be found and so they tolerate search engines searching them. They can be explicit in what pages they want searched and which they don't using robots.txt. So that relationship is pretty well understood. People who ban Blekko (and presumably anyone else) from their robots.txt file are not crawled by us, we recognize and honor that it is there choice if they want to be in our index or not. On the copyright issue however it has been pretty clearly established that 'page rank', like someone's review rating on a movie or an application, constitutes an original work of the creator. There is a lot of experience with things like book reviews where the review, using snippets to illustrate the review, and a rating, are both fair use and the original work of the reviewer.
Google however got in trouble with their news aggregation service. And the bulk of much of the arguments there, were that the snippets were so complete on the news page as to exceed 'fair use' exemptions, and that by aggregating these pages they were 'stealing' traffic that might otherwise go to the news site. The results on those cases were mixed, with some newspapers being removed from Google's index, and others not. Generally everyone that was removed has since been replaced (at the request of the news source) because Google does drive more traffic to a web site than any other web service. So in this case while Google was found to violate the copyright of these news organizations by indexing their newspapers without their consent, the papers later found it in their best interest to give their consent.
Craigslist and Amazon and Ebay are a third kind of question. They are a collection of 'facts' (as many have pointed out) which are derived by a process (placing ads). And in the 'old' world the courts have generally sided with the person who had paid the economic cost for creating those collections. And as PadMapper and others before them have shown, is that there is a great temptation to use those same facts and re-package them into a new collection. This pretty naturally sets up a commercial tension between the original collector and the new user of those same facts. That seems to open another front in copyright litigation and policy. So if this court gets an opinion published it cannot help but be influential as there don't seem to be very many in this space. That could be because judges think the right answer is 'obvious' but I seriously doubt that to be the case.
I, for one, hate my competitors. Basic insticts perhaps?
Is not disliking your competitors something that is practiced by majority? OR is it at least very common? Common enough to point at a company that doesn't follow it?
Hmm, sounds familiar...
It's easy to interpret your post to mean that stealing/reusing data just because you can is fair competitive practice. Please do clarify because your words mean a lot to people and your post might be interpreted that way.
Hilarious to expose their sanctimonious nonsense though.
Is the endgame for these companies to replace the content source, or to hope (or fight for) a legal precedent to 'open' CL data for third party usage?
They're profitable alright, but let's not kid ourselves that they have by choice left a LOT of money on the table, which is why all these value-added services are trying to take a share of the CL-pie.
I suppose we do have some estimates for their revenue, but not how much profit they actually make.
>The case raises questions over whether Craigslist is stifling innovation or simply protecting its data
There is no question. Craigslist isn't stopping Padmapper from being built, its stopping Padmapper from using Craigslist data. The continuous attempts to reframe Craigslist's actions as an attempt to stifle innovation seem almost surreal. I just can't understand how a community of professionals could support Padmapper in this.
Any copying, aggregation, display, distribution, performance or derivative use of craigslist or any content posted on craigslist whether done directly or through intermediaries (including but not limited to by means of spiders, robots, crawlers, scrapers, framing, iframes or RSS feeds) is prohibited. As a limited exception, general purpose Internet search engines and noncommercial public archives will be entitled to access craigslist without individual written agreements executed with CL that specifically authorize an exception to this prohibition if, in all cases and individual instances: (a) they provide a direct hyperlink to the relevant craigslist website, service, forum or content; (b) they access craigslist from a stable IP address using an easily identifiable agent; and (c) they comply with CL's robots.txt file; provided however, that CL may terminate this limited exception as to any search engine or public archive (or any person or entity relying on this provision to access craigslist without their own written agreement executed with CL), at any time and in its sole discretion, upon written notice, including, without limitation, by email notice.
Furthermore, the publicly-accessible data isn't being copied, it's being consumed. I may consume the data to find an apartment. Someone might consume the data to calculate the average market prices in a city. Padmapper consumes the data to generate locations on a map.
From what you've written above it sounds like you believe any contract between two parties is absurd in the extreme.
Well, if nothing else, the submitting users' copyright applies. CL has a license to use it however they like, you don't.
But like padmapper, you would be completely screwed if it turned into a lawsuit.
Since CL offers their data freely to "the public", by what theory can they prevent the public from using their own chosen client browser to view it? Why should there be a distinction between software installed in my computer and a cloud-hosted application like Padmapper?
I believe that Padmapper, as an agent acting on behalf of its users, has every right to reformat the information originating on CL as long as it does not purposefully seek to cause confusion about the origin of the data (which they do not as they link to the source).
False. From the EFF: https://www.eff.org/wp/clicks-bind-ways-users-agree-online-t...
> Given the emphasis placed on a user’s assent, courts favor finding a binding agreement where the user engages in affirmative conduct acknowledging the terms of a TOS. For instance, a genuine clickwrap agreement, in which a service provider places a TOS just adjacent to or below a click-button (or check-box), has been held to be sufficient to indicate the user agreed to the listed terms. In these cases, requiring the user to click “I Agree,” after calling attention to the terms and affording the user an opportunity to review them, demonstrates the user agreed to the terms. However, courts generally do not require that you actually have read the terms, but just that you had reasonable notice and an opportunity to read them.
In other courts on the other hand in cases about copyright violations even if accuser provided IP address, logs clearly indicating defendants computer the case was dismissed because he still failed to indicate that it was in fact the defendant that downloaded and/or served the copyrighted file in question.
I'd say same way there's no possibility anyone could prove that it was I who checked the checkbox.
But please ignore me. I'm just venting.
When a group can interfere with how you hunt for a place to live something is up. Where you live is pretty fundamental.
What entitled bullshit. People/companies do that all the time. Padmapper could've run out of money and shut themselves down - would you pursue a court injunction on the basis that they shouldn't be able to interfere with how you hunt for an apartment? How about if they changed the UI in a way you didn't like?
Wanting the market to work isn't entitled BS. It's good civic thinking. Craigslist holding onto its incumbency, counter to the interests of the public is entitled BS.
> Padmapper could've run out of money and shut themselves down - would you pursue a court injunction on the basis that they shouldn't be able to interfere with how you hunt for an apartment? How about if they changed the UI in a way you didn't like?
The first would've been the market working as it should. Also, if Padmapper messes up its UI and goes out of business, then the market works as it should.
Craigslist holding onto its monopoly position is a broken market.
This sounds more like whining than anything based in reality. Craigslist has a monopoly on apartment rent listings?
Pedant posturing aside, to those who have "skin in the game," namely those renting and renting-out property and paying real money for leases, Craigslist is the 800 lb gorilla in most markets.
Craigslist invested in the infrastructure to enter, store, and display this information. They should be able to set their terms as to how it is used in aggregate.
the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a compilation work such as a database must contain a minimum level of creativity in order to be protectable under the Copyright Act.
The Supreme Court (...) held that Rural's white pages are not entitled to copyright protection, since the white pages did not meet the statutory requirement for originality under 17 U.S.C. §102(a).
Cragslist is completely automated. There's absolutely no creativity involved.
Unfortunately for them, "sweat of the brow" doesn't afford copyright protection in the US.
Whoa whoa whoa, the coding of the site didn't involve a species of creativity?
If you mean that the content of a posting didn't involve creativity on Craigslist's part, you'd be on firmer ground, but even there they made design decisions (however questionable...) about how to present it.
The design decision are irrelevant, since Padmapper isn't copying those.
In any case, Craigslist is completely unoriginal in its selection and arrangement of the data; the selection is "whatever people submit" and the arrangement is LIFO. I find it very hard to believe they'll be awarded copyright over it.
So would I—phone books are not subject to compilation copyright, because there's no editorial choice going on. That was settled in the _Feist_ case.
When I upload a video to YouTube, I do expect to retain control of it solely through my interactions with YouTube, and expect that when I take it down it gets taken down across all Google properties. I would be pretty angry if I found that my videos were on another site which had scraped YouTube's data and now was hosting my video without any ability for me to remove it.
It seems about time Craigslist re-evaluates creating an API. They have such vast amount of local data that others could use that they could easily charge for use and make some money there.
Edit: finished my thought that I left out mid-sentence.
As I have said elsewhere, I think Craigslist are within their rights here, but the situation still sucks. People want to browse apartment listings on a map, and Craigslist won't let us.
Does it suck for people on the other end - people with a property that they'd like to rent to others?
Why hasn't some other solution come onto the market to fix the problems of craigslist?
Are you asking why nobody has made a website that competes directly with Craiglist, but with a better interface? Padmapper allows you to post listing directly, but it's very difficult to get buyers or sellers to bother with a different marketplace when all the other buyers and sellers are already using Craigslist. You can't beat Craigslist on price, and many non-technical people are already comfortable with the existing system. Convincing them to switch to a different marketplace with fewer potential customers and a new interface is very difficult, no matter how great your features are.
Due to various factors (demographics, etc.), sellers also tend to be not the most tech savvy people. I can't believe that it is not standard procedure to post a video walk-through these days. A lot of listings lack even a photo.
Is it Craigslist's data? Does Craigslist own the posts that caused women to be murdered and stolen property to be sold? If they own that data, then they must be culpable (to some degree) for these bad acts.
If they own it, they are now more than just a service provider (IMO) and can no longer be protected by the DCA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Decency_Act
For example, they do not own the fact that you are selling a toothbrush. The do own the records on their servers which catalog the fact that you are selling a toothbrush.
Why? Because they are the ones who went to the trouble of gathering and storing those records.
This is somewhat akin to recording a verbal note from a customer in a book, and storing that book in a giant library. Sure, the user owns the information, but that doesn't mean you are obligated to let every Tom, Dick, and Harry come in and use your library how they see fit- it's your library, even though you do not hold the copyright to all the information stored there.
Im sure that's why their try this lowball trick to defend themselves and show it to judge "hey we want to innovate, and Craiglist does not want to".
But sure its not their business what CL does...
Well, for one thing: different ideas about what constitutes fair game for property/control claims.
Not everything can be copyrighted or patented, and specifically, it's really not clear that a rental/for sale/wanted listing is actually a copyrightable work.
If that weren't enough, though, there's also not really a clear difference between what Padmapper does and a search engine -- it doesn't "steal" listings and put them wholesale on their site without attribution, it provides a geographic search that yields a limited digest and then points users to the original source.
Note that these are free links, not paid-for API calls.
Who's free-riding whom?
It would be different if Craiglist embedded the maps from GM or MQ, but in such case CL would probably do so with permission from those companies (possibly even--gasp--paying for the right to embed maps).
I also noted that API usage would have been paid (or at least licensed), so in that sense, CL are (legitimately) freeloading on Google and Yahoo. While the argument could be made that CL are sending traffic to these sites, that same argument would apply to Padmapper.
The facts themselves aren't subject to copyright.
Access through the CL site is governed by various computer use statutes. Though aggregation-via-proxy as PM are doing through Google cache raises some interesting issues.
But on the other hand, "users and developers are exasperated with Craigslist’s insistence on preserving an outdated interface and design."
I don't know the legal merits of either party's position, but from an ethical perspective, I tend to side with Craigslist here. Dissatisfaction with a commercial site's UI is not just cause for using their data without permission, particularly if they had made an effort to offer a licensing agreement, whatever the terms might have been.
In my (personal) opinion, I would argue that the content providers or aggregators and search engines benefit synergistically. CL and Belgian newspapers appear to disagree.
That's why 3taps is getting the data from google's cache without touching craigslist servers.
The two that jump to mind are Authority Labs and SEOmoz.
I guess: a shed load of proxies. :)
"I'm okay with people finding this listing through another service."
Perhaps because they don't want people to get to their listings that way even if they want to, and thus don't want your opinion? (Edit: and perhaps they really aren't as interested as they claim in making it easier for buyers and sellers to find each other?)
Look, it's obvious that even PadMapper believes Craigslist is THE data source they must have.
Google News could drop any given data source and not blink. PadMapper simply is not in the same position.
[edit for clarity, and for misspelling clarity]
While I agree the web is full of lowlifes engaged in web development, many of them in porn or some other area that appeals to base instincts, I find this comment perplexing. Because it is so subjective, yet it tries to seem objective by focusing on some random criteria.
Google employs a "bot army" to scrape the entire web. So what?
If the comment was something like "I don't like Company X." Or even "I don't like Company X because...", it would make sense to me.
But that is not how this common type of comment goes. Instead it suggests that bot=evil, i.e. any sort of automation or any sort of data collection by anyone other than [your favorite company] is "shady".
That's crazy. IMO.
It's what a company does with the data that matters.
Anyway, I'm not keen on 3Taps because they are not provinding bulk data, only API's that require "developer keys". Why?
Either you are going to democratise data, or you are just another schemer trying to find ways to collect infromation about people, in this case people using "your API".
I don't want API's I want the data. I can make my own interfaces thank you.
But robots.txt has no special legal authority, it's just a convention used to communicate a publisher's intent. I'm pretty sure the C&D letter made it 100% clear that CL did not want Padmapper crawling their site or using their data.
Lock-in is super common(and often unintentional or unavoidable), but it goes against the ideal of equal opportunity and competitive markets that rewards companies for a continuous commitment to quality and innovation.
I feel that craigslist has done nothing wrong except for standing in the doorway when other people who want to innovate and improve things are trying to get through (like PadMapper).
It's not Craigslist's content. It's our content, the general public's. Craigslist is just a caretaker. Right now, it's a caretaker acting in its own interests against the public's.
Again, disingenuous. CL has the network effect. That's like Microsoft saying, Users are free to install their own browsers. Their current actions are only to preserve that, not to squash abuses. (Which is what they usually do with the power of their TOU.)
The real reason: Craigslist wants to hold onto their monopoly position.
A Craigslist competitor doesn't need a huge market share to be viable. For me as a seller, it just has to expand my audience of buyers enough to justify the small amount of time it takes to post and manage a second listing.
Craigslist has no divine right to its users' information; it just happens to be the only viable option. If Craigslist didn't exist, someone else would, and would probably do it better.
If Craigslist wants to continue existing, they should take advantage of the fact that they are the go-to for online classifieds, create a modest subscription-based API and let the information flow.
I move to a new city every year, usually on short notice, and I often go into the process of apartment hunting with no knowledge of local neighborhoods, the public transportation system, or general geography. Without Padmapper, the process would be unbearable.
If you build it, doesn't automatically mean that they will come.
This is not to address the issue of ownership of listing data, or the case law, which latter isn't settled anyway.
The conundrum is that it is 'easy' to take an existing, quality data source, and re-skin it for broader market appeal. This is something that Craigslist should be doing but perhaps through poor management are not. It is 'hard' to take a conceptual model of skinning and building a quality data source behind it.
As I said elsewhere, the PadMapper guys might have taken this to Craigslist and said "Look what we can do with your data, lets make happy music together." and then debated the terms. Or they could take their UX to the venture capital world and say "Look at this cool product we could build if we had access to a database with Craig list's quality" and debate cap tables and dilution (assuming they got to that stage of a term sheet).
But they chose the third route, "Lets see how long we can get away with this..." and the timer on that just ran out.
Sadly, this third path makes the first two paths much harder. Craigslist already sees them as the 'enemy' and VCs will see them as a team that makes poor choices. Both views make it harder (but certainly not impossible) to consummate a deal. However, from the blog and from previous postings here it seems they made those choices with their eyes open.
But that's the thing. It isn't their data. They specifically say so in their TOS. The copyright belongs to the user.
You can't say the listing belongs to the user (to protect you from liability) on one hand, and then say the data belongs to craigslist on the other.
They could always do what map companies have done forever to prevent copyright. Facts can't be copyrighted so map makers insert fictional cities.
If someone copies the map they are copying the fictional city and thus violating their copyright.
Craigslist could add a fictional listing here and there that they do own the copyright to.
If PadMapper wanted to legally exploit the fact that the users own the listings, not Craigslist, they would have to establish a relationship with the user and get the information directly from them. They could contact the listing owners and suggest they list on PadListing. They can 'spiff' people who do so (meaning give them some benefit if they list on PadListing and the person discovers and rents through PadMapper). If they can prove that the listing owner asked them to list their property, Craigslist can't sue.
Alternatively PadMapper "need only" create their own apartment listing service to have their own database where people listing apartments go to them directly. And that is a much harder thing to do than something which scrapes the listings from Craigslist and drops them on to a Google Map.
As a proof-of-concept, PadMapper is excellent. As a product, it has a data contamination issue.
 The scare quotes are there to acknowledge that its a challenge to get people to move from the known, to the new. I am trying to move people from Google to a new search service, its hard, its slow, but its the only way to do this and avoid this sort of litigation.
Look at the Rightshaven case. The judge ruled that Rightshaven didn't have standing to sue on behalf just because the copyright holder granted it license to.
If that theory holds up, Craigslist wouldn't have standing to sue on behalf of the copyright holders.
Additionally copyright would only apply if the listings are considered creative works. Most of them are clearly simple statements of fact that wouldn't merit copyright protection in the first place.
I did a quick Blekko for the case with the Yellow Pages that was litigated this way (but alas did not find it) where a AT&T sued the maker of a competitive Yellow Pages over using the collection of businesses in their book. The defendant argument was similar to yours, that they could have walked down the street and collected the information so the information wasn't copyrightable, but the judge ruled in favor of AT&T because it was clear the defendant could have done that but they didn't do that. There was some errors and omissions that mirrored the Yellow pages and 'proved' the defendant took their data from the Yellow Pages rather than collect it themselves.
For PadMapper to escape liability they have to be able to prove they came to know about these listings in some other way than through Craigslist's collection of them. They argued in their blog that 3Taps did that for them because they got them from 3Taps they aren't liable for what ever 3Taps is doing. And my take on it is that given the case law it will be a very hard thing to prove. If Eric Goldman is reading he could probably whip out a definitive argument here.
If it goes to trial I'll definitely follow the case to see how it plays out.
In Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service Co, a phone directory was ruled to be protected by copyright only if the selection and arrangement of facts was an original creative act (listing numbers alphabetically was not).
I'm aware of a case after Feist where a yellow pages for chinese immigrants was copyrightable because of the creativity involved in selection of the facts and the arrangement into categories. But even then the facts themselves are not copyrightable.
Craigslist's selection is nonexistent, you send it they publish it. And the arrangement of the subset that padmapper is using is solely by geographic location and time. In addition padmapper is not copying the arrangement.
Righthaven did not have a copyright, it had a "right to sue" on behalf of the original copyright holder's copyright. The court deemed that insufficient to give Righthaven grounds to enforce the copyright, because Righthaven did not have any copyright or license therein. A right to sue is not considered a "copy right" because it involves no right to copy the material (i.e., by distribution or reproduction).
Craiglist does have a license to copyrighted content. It can actually "copy" the content. Ergo, it has the right to enforce its license against non-licensed users.
"Because the SAA (lawsuit contract) prevents Righthaven from obtaining any of the exclusive rights necessary to maintain standing in a copyright infringement action, the court finds that Righthaven lacks standing in this case,"
Craigslist ToS doesn't grant them exclusive rights, thus by that judge's definition they don't have standing to sue.
Care to share? I've been trying to move away from google, but DuckDuckGo's search results are so often massively inferior. Other suggestions would be nice to have!
You can't say the listing belongs to the user on one hand, and then say the data belongs to craigslist on the other.
You can in fact make this argument in the case of compilations in copyright law - think a compilation of short stories or one of those "Songs of the 90s albums" - the initial authors still own their work, but the entity which creates the compilation still owns the right to the entire compiled work.
(I intentionally edited your statement - don't want to bring liability into this, I think its a separate issue and a bit of a red herring w/r/t this discussion).
Here is the relevant wikipedia section on compilation copyright
>Copyright Act allows for the protection of "compilations," provided there is a "creative" or "original" act involved in such a compilation, such as in the selection (deciding which things to include or exclude), and arrangement (how they are shown and in what order). The protection is limited only to the selection and arrangement, not to the facts themselves, which may be freely copied.
>The Supreme Court decision in Feist v. Rural..rejected what was known as the "sweat of the brow" doctrine, in ruling that no matter how much work was necessary to create a compilation, a non-selective collection of facts ordered in a non-creative way is not subject to copyright protection.
I think there is a good argument that there is no creativity on Craigslist's part in selecting postings, since they aren't selecting them--users are uploading them. If true selection wouldn't be covered.
The arrangement might be (if it can be said to be creative), but I'm assuming padmapper isn't copying their arrangement.
1) You are comparing physical media to a web service
2) You are confusing content with access to content
Since you mentioned Phonebook, let's take yellowpages.com This site has much of the same information that a phonebook does. I would argue that it would be illegal for company B to scrape yellowpages.com for this information in order to make money without express permission from yellowpages.com. However, if Company B found another way to access the same information (ex: scanning physical phonebooks or asking people to sign up to their site) then I'd say they're within the law.
Craigslist is 100% within their rights to control who accesses their service and how. If CL users want to register for Padmapper and post the same ads on both services then that's their prerogative.
Company B has found another way. They are getting the data from Google's cache of the craigslist.
Padmapper is not touching Craigslist's servers at all.
>the TOS also grants CL the right to prevent others from displaying it without CL's permission.
Just because the ToS says it doesn't mean it will work. Recently a judge said that a copyright troll called Rightshaven didn't have standing to sue on behalf of copyright holders for works that they licensed.
Regarding Righthaven, the original media company never gave Righthaven control of the copyright of their data, just the right to sue. This is why it was struck down.
As for Righthaven's lack of standing to sue over Review-Journal content, Hunt wrote the recently unsealed lawsuit contract between Righthaven and Stephens Media -- called the Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) -- clearly leaves Stephens Media in control of the copyrights and gives Righthaven only the right to sue.
In order to file lawsuits, copyright plaintiffs have to have actual control of the copyrights, not just the right to sue, Hunt found.
Phone books are not protected by copyright unless there is something original about their selection or organization.
Assemblages of fact aren't protected, only the selection and arrangement of those facts. In addition the selection and arrangement has to be "creative."
The selection is definitely not a creative act on craigslist's part b/c they don't select anything, users post the information.
Craigslist posting selection is nonexistent. Therefore they are only left with "creative" arrangement for protection.
You could argue that the arrangement is a creative act. I don't think the arrangement counts because they are only using a subset of craigslist and that is merely arranged by geographical location, definitely not an original "creative" arrangement, but it doesn't matter because Padmapper isn't copying the arrangement.
See this for more information. http://www.copyright.gov/reports/dbase.html
>Regarding Righthaven, the original media company never gave Righthaven control of the copyright of their data, just the right to sue. This is why it was struck down.
The judge in the Righthaven case said this...
An article in the same interest, "Why Craigslist Is Such a Mess" ( http://www.wired.com/entertainment/theweb/magazine/17-09/ff_... ).
CL just put them on the map in a big way as being "Craigslist with a good UI" -- so good, they had to sue. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
"The search tool is antiquated, the images are poor or nonexistent, locations of listings are hardly dependable, and you can forget about an integrated way to save anything for later reference. There is a litany of shortcomings that come with the Craigslist apartment search; they are many and they are painful..."
If you don't like the site, don't like the UI, and can't stand the UX, then don't use the site. Nobody is forcing you to search for an apartment on CL. Nobody is forcing owners to list apartments on CL.
And so now we get to the meat ...
"...Your site is chock-full of data I need..."
Ahh...data you NEED.
So here's the thing. If you truly need the data, then you need Craigslist and you have an obligation to use it the way they (and only they) want you to use it. If you don't like the way they want you to use it, there are several choices:
* Go work for them and convince them to improve it.
* Build a better mousetrap.
The former probably won't succeed, so the latter seems to be the way to go.
Look, there's nothing preventing landlords from listing their apartments on Craigslist AND your new Craigslist replacement/improvement. They're not locked in. If they were, that would be a whole different discussion - then we can talk about anti-competitive, innovation-stifling behavior. But that's not the case - the only reason people list apartments on CL is because it works. Despite the bad UI. Hence the reason CL hasn't changed it.
So it's the job of some enterprising entrepreneur not only ro build a better mousetrap, but convince people to use it. Until that happens, as much as I too dislike the Craigslist UI, I can't say I support PadMapper on this one.
Apartments aren't a fungible item. If I'm looking for an apartment in a certain area and 75% of the apartments in that area are only being listed on Craigslist, then how can I realistically "choose" to use another avenue for apartment listings?
Look, there's nothing preventing landlords from listing their apartments on Craigslist AND your new Craigslist replacement/improvement.
There are huge barriers preventing landlords from listing their apartments outside of craigslist. Nothing is as popular, so why waste the time? They don't have hours to scour the internet looking for alternatives, nor do they probably want to have to manage listings at many difference sites.
I think you have a flawed idea of what constitutes "huge barriers". The only thing stopping them from listing elsewhere is a cost-benefit analysis? I weep.
There is absolutely no reason that PadMapper cannot call them on the phone, and ask them to list with PadMapper. They can make it trivially easy supporting email, phone, or fax listings. They can sell them on using PadMapper.
Many apartments are owned by Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) there are dozens (not hundreds) of those. You can sell the REIT on the concept of easy listings that are so much better/cleaner/easier than Craigslist.
Craigslist was created when near every apartment was listed in the Classified Ads in the print newspaper. That wasn't "lock in" it was an opportunity, they sold these folks on lower costs (since Classifieds were a money fund for newspapers) Landlords hated the extortionate prices that the newspapers charged but they didn't have an alternative, Craigslist gave them that alternative, they moved.
So the 'answer' here is to actually build a classifieds business around rental space. That takes more than slinging some node.js and scraping other sites. Granted its 'easier' for a technical person to do it that way, but its not a 'sustainable' way of doing it.
But you are using an example in which there was a clear downside to using the existing listing model. The price. If you are a landlord and you have no problem renting out apartments in a reasonable amount of time on Craigslist, and it's free, what exactly can another site offer that is "better"?
They are already getting their apartments rented, there is minimal overhead to using Craigslist. You can't compete with Craigslist on price, unless you are actually giving landlords money for listing on your site. And trying to say "It's easier for users to find your properties." doesn't help if they aren't having a problem with renting out their properties.
This is what we call a monopoly. Many people (apartment hunters in this context) need to use Craigslist because there are no viable alternatives. Just like you have to pay your local utility for water or power -- there are alternatives, but not viable ones.
And a two-sided monopoly is a very real monopoly.
The difference is that other monopolies get regulated; Craigslist is not. Given their current behavior, I'd strongly support a law that explicitly denies craigslist any exclusive right to their listing data.
Yes they are being "forced" to list on CL, because as much as you hate the UX, UI, etc., that's where the buyers are. And as much as the buyers hate the site, that's where the sellers are. I hate CL, but I was forced to use it because lock-in makes it impossible for anyone else to compete.
That's disingenuous. Craigslist is pretty much the only game in town in many places. Let's say you need to find a person with a specific need, willing to pay $2000 a month. If you don't find this person, you have to pay the $2000 a month. How do you feel about not using Craigslist now?
What people really "need" is the raw data.
If they want to make some UI that they like, then they can do it. If they want to offer this to others, they can do it.
If they want to load the data into some SQL database, they can do it.
If they want split the data into some other format using csplit and load into some other faster database, they can do it.
If they want to extract a portion of a raw file and just use agrep on that, they can do it.
The point is that UI is a personal decision.
Because some people do not like CL's bare bones UI doesn't give them the right to do anything. Because some people don't like bloated and clumsy web interfaces and prefer text commands doesn't give them the right to do anything either.
But people can't be stopped from making personal decisions about how to process data. Public data.
It's funny how some websites think they "own" data that is given to them. Do they "need" this data? Yes, they do.
"The company said it offered a license that would have allowed PadMapper to use its data on mobile applications but that the competitor did not accept the terms."
From the original:
> They allow mobile apps to display their listings if you buy a license from them, but not websites.