I'm always fascinated when companies make that one decision which seems to lead to their downfall -- and everyone seems to be able to see it, except the company itself.
I think this is a great thing -- if Craigslist can get enough bad press from this, then maybe a movement for "free and copyable" classifieds listings can take place, and there can be competition in the space again.
- kill Padmapper instantly by building a map function to view their listings.
- elect not to build a map feature because they think it's trivial and they believe no one cares. So Padmapper should languish.
- buy Padmapper for a little bit of money and have Eric help make their product better.
- hire Eric to make their product better.
- invest a little money into Padmapper as a hedge and hope it does well.
- charge Padmapper a data access fee
These are all totally reasonable options.
Instead, Craig turned to the lawyers and sued Padmapper for using Google's listings and decided that all CL posts are now their exclusive property. If CL really didn't want this data out in the wild, they'd prevent Google from indexing their site.
This is not only a dick thing to do, it's an especially dick thing to do if you sit on the board of The Sunlight Foundation and the advisory board of Wikimedia.
Craig Newmark is a lazy monopolist at this point. All profit taking, no innovation.
"Craig Newmark is a lazy monopolist at this point. All profit taking, no innovation."
This argument is way overblown. If you ask most companies for the data they generate, they would say no. So singling out Craigslist and using that as an argument as to why Craig is a "jerk" is silly because he would be in good company if that were the case.
Bottom line is that CL isn't a hard site to reproduce and even do it in a better fashion. The moment that other sites can start using CL data is the moment that the CL stranglehold will slip. Currently, others can build a product and then fight for users to come. If they were able to use CL data they would eliminate the chicken and egg problem and can slowly get their own data 'til they wouldn't need CL data. How is that in CL's interest to let that happen?
I don't think its overblown. The major issue here is CraigsList owns the network for internet classifieds, but hasn't done anything to improve their product in a decade. The Craigslist experience has been diminishing ever since:
1) Spam, Scams, and false postings
2) Postings not taken down because they've already been sold
3) Terrible interface for adding pictures, uploading media to help sell.
Generally, the guy is sitting on top of a monopoly and is actively choosing to do nothing with it other than collect money, and prevent anyone from usurping his throne.
Now, is PadMapper out of line by stealing their data? Sure, why not. Is CraigsList out of line for wanting exclusive license on their listings? Probably not.
But when you add that monopoly, and then stifle innovation because you are either lazy or incompetent is not doing the world any good. My guess is - everyone thinks CraigsList works wonderfully because we haven't had an opportunity to see anything better. Its like saying Camera phones are the best thing ever, but its because you've never seen an iPhone.
"Generally, the guy is sitting on top of a monopoly and is actively choosing to do nothing with it other than collect money, and prevent anyone from usurping his throne."
There is nothing stopping somebody from coming up with a site that beats craigslist, nothing at all. It will be hard, for sure, but it can and will be done eventually. So it isn't really preventing anybody from usurping his throne.
"But when you add that monopoly, and then stifle innovation because you are either lazy or incompetent is not doing the world any good. "
I hear this argument over and over, that CL is stifling innovation and I just don't see it. It seems like a bunch of would-be competitors want an easy in. There is nothing stopping a competitor from taking over, except a large amount of work. Just because a company won't let anybody use their data, doesn't mean they are stifling innovation. It would be a different story if CL tried to claim IP protection on internet classifieds but that isn't the case.
I didn't mean to say they are stifing innovation because they won't let some UI hipsters gain access to their data - but because they aren't willing to cooperate at all, AND don't do anything to make internet classifieds anything other than what it already is... from 12 years ago.
Those aren't reasons that they are stifling innovation. They are just not providing an easy in for other companies, which most companies don't do either. If Craigslist didn't exist the field would be exactly the same, the new companies would face a chicken and the egg problem. How do they get users without content and how to get content without users.
I feel that the people are being extraordinarily harsh on Craigslist with requests that would be laughed at if you brought them to another company. Although that being said, CL is in a unique position where they have been able to hold their market share without innovation or even much change.
This seems very naive to think that Craig gives a damn about padmapper, they (CL) have every right to license their data to whomever they want, and PM choose not to seek such a license so I seriously doubt Eric would really stand much of a chance getting a job with CL.
You speak as though CL is broken, and it clearly isn't, as a marketplace it functions well. You may not like the website, but it's marketplace first, website second. If you want to sell something, it has the inventory and the customers.
Craid had to sue PM, it's just business, it wasn't a personal attack or a "dick thing" as you seem to think.
Actually, Craig has a history of speaking personally with founders using CL data, acting nice, and then mysteriously shutting down their mechanism for getting data without replying. Even if they weren't trying to make money.
Craigslist is broken. And successful. Those aren't mutually exclusive things. Newspapers are broken yet they'll do nearly $20 billion of dollars in revenue this year. They were broken and did peak revenue in 2005. Nokia was broken but had record profits two years ago. RIM was broken and did record profits last year.
Craigslist will eventually lose. It's just going to take longer than any of us reasonably expect.
> You speak as though CL is broken, and it clearly isn't, as a marketplace it functions well.
I'm guessing you've never had to find an apartment on Craigslist. Sifting through spam, scams, fake listings by agents, listings that have already been sold... sure, you can do it, but it's not efficient.
Clearly people are still finding value on CL. Hacker News readers are in a demographic that views the internet and the web VERY differently from how people who do not create internet services for a living view them. We care about a completely other set of factors then they do.
We don't bookmark facebook.com we rely on the browser history, having typed it in to the address bar once. They use google to search for the link to the facebook login.
They hear that CL is the biggest site for classified ads, so they post there. They don't care that padmapper will put their apartment on a map, they don't care about other sites.
CL did the hard work of attracting the people to the marketplace. Padmapper is not doing any of that hard work. It is my opinion, if you're doing the hard work of building the community and attracting the users, then you'll agree with CL on this issue. If you're a repackager, then you'll side with padmapper.
If your business idea is "Some corner of Craigs List with a better UI" then by all means, build the UI and then convince people to GIVE you their data.
To me, the word community connotes a separate entity that you interact with in some way, usually due to proximity. You might define the Craigslist Community as only people visiting craiglist.com but to me it would imply sites such as Padmapper that extend and improve Craigslist data. They are symbiotic and support the same community of users, Padmapper is not "repackaging" Craigslist like some sort of parasite like you imply.
Anecdotally, whenever I've used Padmapper to find a new apartment I would end up on craiglist.com anyway as Padmapper would often not contain the real estate agent's contact information.
The query syntax for CL is reasonably sophisticated, it supports phrase match, grouping and it's possible to specify to specify a price range, using minAsk and maxAsk, you can also specify exclusion terms.
Depends on the market - I understand the incentives in new york are such that scamming by agents is common, and problematic. In the Bay Area, (indeed, all of california to the best of my knowledge) - it's rare (as in, I've never heard of it happening) for a renter to pay a fee for a new rental, and so there is very little incentive to scam them. I've moved five times since 2003, every time using craigslist. If I want a graphical/map view, I just use housingmaps.com - unlike padmaps, they are simply offering a service to the user base, so, to the best of my knowledge, they've always had free access to the CL data.
I've never spent more than a week looking for a new place, and wouldn't consider using any service other than craigslist to do so.
Clearly the experience in other markets is not so positive.
You speak as though CL is broken, and it clearly isn't, as a marketplace it functions well.
A marketplace can be popular and still broken. I think Craigslist's extreme insistence on not developing their product may have been a great move once upon a time but is catching up with them. PadMapper and apartment rentals is just one example.
It's not that simple. PM is trying to profit by innovating, CL is trying to profit by maintaining a monopoly position. They're entitled (legally) to do that, but they're not entitled to do so without losing the goodwill that they rely on for customers to give them their listing for free.
That's an extremely concise, and (I believe), correct, point.
The question is whether or not there's room for a craigslist clone, particularly one that can succeed by sharing its data openly with third-parties.
In truth, I'm doubtful. My reluctant conclusion is that there is, in fact, value in preventing the data from being spread across multiple interfaces and platforms, which itself could confuse users. This was essentially Twitter's stance when it came time to solidify their brand and reduce the number of clients.
There is real user value in knowing how their listing will be presented. I mean, if I'm listing a room for rent and "DruggieCriminalRoommateFinder" syndicates my listing, I'm probably not going to be happy with the response quality.
That's the thing though, remember that old adage "The customer is always right" it means that at the end of the day, right or wrong, good or bad, allowed or not-allowed, caring or cold, sue-happy or not if the people that use the website are complaining (and so far it seems they are) than cragislist is broken, because it's leadership lost the respect of it's market. There is absolutely nothing stopping someone from making a new place-to-list-stuff-for-sale, that's easier to use, safer, and open source for that matter.
People, why aren't we just getting together to do just this, we've got UX people, web people, team management types and coders out the wazoo here. Let's just make a new craiglist already.
PS: I forgot, we've got marketing genius's here to, that can make miracles happen with just about zero dollars.
PPS: It doesn't matter how much that saying irritates you, as a business owner, try being successful without customers. If anything the saying is truest only when a majority of the customers believe the same thing, but there is still truth in it. (Obviously a jerk customer that other customers would shun will have no impact on you if you say I won't serve you.) "The customers are always right" :)
The customer isn't always right, but they're still the customer. That saying really grinds my gears.
Someone said/typed once that there will be no big CL killer - that they'll be pecked to death by many small replacements, such as Etsy in the crafts space. PM should be the CL replacement for the housing market, and their biggest problem to solve now is getting listings from another source, hopefully from landlords listing directly with them.
However, if people don't buy what your building you have made a mistake. It can be slick, salable, cheap, and marketed to the high heavens, but it's customers that decide if you have a business or a really expensive hobby.
Sadly, while you and I and a lot of people on HN might care about this, I don't know if this decision will have that huge of an impact. I think the general public will really pay that much attention to this decision, and it won't affect their decisions to list or use Craigslist.
I think in the end they will die, as better sites replace them (piecewise probably, I doubt there will be another general purpose classified site that pops up), but it will be because there is a better alternative in place.
Does the chick down the street selling her old couch really care about exclusive rights or not? Not anymore than I care about the lubricant used on the subway wheels. I just want to get there cheaply and quickly and that chick just wants to sell her couch. The HN community is a very tiny subset of the population and our views often have little corespondence to those of muggles.
She doesn't think she does, but if she lists that couch on ebay as well she is technically in breach of craigslist's terms of service, and if they decide to enforce it then she is going to be forced to care.
Not that I expect them to actually try to enforce it in that way, of course.
And if I wrote a piece of software that helped you post the same thing simultaneously on Craigslist and EBay, I bet they'd sue me.
That's not what this is about. CL doesn't care where you post it, or how many times you post it. CL just doesn't want others scraping their website and posting it for you. This is direct action on CL against Padmapper.
They aren't going to care about one or two or even 100. When the majority of Padmapper's listings were scraped from CL, that is how we end up with this ToS change. CL told them to knock it off, so Padmapper did an end-around thinking they were ok. CL still didn't think it was kosher so they tightened up their ToS to effectively close the loophole.
Do you really think CL is just going to politely ask?
They can politely ask the poster and see if they posted it elsewhere. If yes, nothing else needs to be done. If no, they are probably going to find out the extent the external website has gone to.
No, the new terms of service may be intended to prevent other people from copying content, but what matters is what's written in the contract, not what the press release says. What the terms of service actually do is grant Craigslist the same license an author grants a publisher -- you can't grant Random House exclusive rights, then turn around and self-publish electronically.
You may be happy to rely on vague "oh, we don't actually enforce that clause" but some of us prefer not to sign away rights for nothing.
I'm sure Craigslist is counting on nobody bothering to read the fine print. As long as they don't start enforcing the clause on individuals there won't be any outcry outside of tech circles, and nobody's going to notice the difference. If you refuse to sign away your rights on principle you'll just be locking yourself out of the market.
interesting, didn't know there was already a little cottage industry here. I'm totally not advocating it, but I'm curious how would anyone know (assuming the spinner actually outputs quality copy)? I guess it would be up to to the prosecution to prove it, or the defense to lie about it, should it come to that.
It's mainly used for various kinds of black hat SEO (comment spam, automatically generating thousand-page websites and so on). From what I've seen, the quality ranges from atrocious (e.g. simply running random words through a thesaurus) to passable, but the goal is just to make the text look reasonably unique to a machine, not to skirt copyright law. If you were given the output and a list of potential source texts, you would not have any trouble figuring out which was the parent.
> I'm always fascinated when companies make that one decision which seems to lead to their downfall -- and everyone seems to be able to see it, except the company itself.
I just don't see this being the downfall of Craigslist.
Fact of the matter is, if I'm posting something on Craigslist then the important thing to me is that it show up on Craigslist. If I wanted it on some other service then I'd post it there. In fact, I'm surprised they haven't had that clause in there from day one. As a user of the site it would be disconcerting to get a response from a person using a site I've never heard of before.
The more I think about it, the more I'm siding with Craigslist on this.
Nice, you take the time to craft your listing on craigslist and now you've lost the right to repost your listing ANYWHERE else. I think we can safely assume that craigslist has a monopoly in (free) online classifieds and this reeks of very anti-competitive behavior. Wonder what the DOJ thinks of this.
Read the text. Exclusive license. That means you may not license your post to any other site; giving someone else permission to display your listing is a grant of a license, and such a license is explicitly mentioned in the terms of any UGC site, including Craigslist. The difference is those other terms always say NON-exclusive. Go ahead and stop by YouTube and do a search for the word.
Operationally, probably true. However, ethically this is no different than the people who said PadMapper should just use "Craigslist's" data regardless of what Craigslist thought about the situation. To be consistent, either you believe:
1) It's ok for PadMapper to re-list Craigslist's data without Craigslist's consent.
2) If you post a housing listing to Craigslist, you cannot post it anywhere else.
If CraigsList ever went after a poster who also posted their classified on another site, that would probably be the day they begin to unravel.
You don't want to instill fear into posters (IE, their product) that they could get sued by posting even a similar ad on a competing site. Then you enter the territory "I only have access to people who check craigslist" instead of an array of additional, complementary options. That doesn't sound very attractive.
Right, I don't think they would ever sue their own users. But the point is that you don't get to simply ignore parts of an agreement that you don't agree with, because "that's not what they meant". So the people who were saying that PadMapper has no right to use Craigslist's data should be careful not to submit to multiple listing services if they ever put a house up for rent on Craigslist, if they care at all about consistent application of their principles.
Padmapper scraping data put up on CraigsList and adding it to their own listings is very very different than me putting my own listing on multiple sites.
I don't see this as a "application of principles" issue. The principle I'm consistently applying is "I have the right to tell whomever I want about something I want to sell." And Craigslist is applying the consistent principle that the listing I provided belongs to them. If you ask me, putting my listing somewhere else makes it a different listing, because it didn't originate at craigslist (Like stolen listings on PadMapper), but instead, originated through me.
To apply my principle consistently, I wouldn't post a link to my Craigslist posting on another site, but I am perfectly entitled to re-post its content where-ever I please.
The new agreement says that by posting on Craigslist, you give them an exclusive license to the content. You can't give them an exclusive license and then turn around and give the content to someone else.
The copyright is still with the post author; Craigslist is not asking for it to be transferred. The author still has the ability to license the content to the other sites. In doing so, they breach the agreement with Craigslist saying their license was exclusive. So it's simple breach of contract between the listing author and CL; the other site has done no wrong and is not a party to the breach.
IOW: This text gives Craigslist some ammo to go after a site they can prove got the listing from copying Craigslist, but not sites the listing author also posted to.
To be fair, consumer organisations here in Holland once took 25 EULA's to a judge.
Less than 1% of what was stated would ever be held up in a dutch court. Things like the concept that a company can just define their liabilty themselves. Or how they have the right to share personal data with 3rd parties. The laws can not overwritten with contracts, esspecially ones without signatures.
In essence, and this was quite funny to realize. There is no EULA that would reduce liability, or increase rights of the seller. An EULA can really only be used against the company.
Im not sure about the situation in the US. But the same should be true to some extend. EULA are fake legal documents lawyers sell as if they have any value.
> Im not sure about the situation in the US. But the same
> should be true to some extend.
My understanding is that it's not true to much of any extent in the US. The contract will generally win. It'll depend on the jurisdiction and the case, but it's certainly not the case that all EULAs are per se invalid. Nor is it the case that "the laws cannot be overwritten with contracts." Overwriting the legal default rules is what contracts do.
Only if those legal "default" rules, are specified as "default"
A good example is rape. It does not make sex illegal, it just makes consent a requirement. There is no analogue for murder, so event consent would not allow murder.
Thats the extend of such liscences: they can ask consent for things that require consent. But most of them are filled with stuff that either does not require consent, or where consent is irrelevent.
But when i hear about the type of frivolent lawsuits, i do believe at least liability is defined very differently. Here companies are not liable for misuse by idiots. If an average person understands you can not microwave your cat, then there is no liability when an idiot does that. On the other hand, companies can not distance themselves from being liable for harm due to defects.
Either case, legal terms are not very relevant either way. Because they do not constitute a proper effort of informing. That last part is very relevant. Implicit terms can not define the context, only try to formalize it.
When a user posts, they are representing that the content is theirs. If the real owner of the content posts somewhere else, that CL would have a claim against the fraudulent poster, not the actual creator. Either way, these contracts do hold up in court.
EDIT: Okay, let me be less flippant. I ask about you being a lawyer because we don't know how Craigslist will enforce this policy. Everyone is assuming the worst -- CL will not let you post anywhere else! -- when, in practice, such a policy is probably not enforceable in court.
You have a well-reasoned comment, sure, but someone can't really speak to the enforceability of this without practicing law.
Whatever the agenda behind pushing this might be, the "legalese" has real implications IRL. You don't own the content of your listings anymore if you post on craigslist - so you're going to be liable if you're going to use any of the content elsewhere (including pictures).
But it will be suing those sites. So If you have a site where people can put their advertisements you better look if they haven't posted same advertisement on craigslist and when they do don't publish it on your site.
Of course you can just slap the same lawyer silliness on your form and claim that you have also been given exclusive licence by your users and counter sue craigslist. I'm not sure if court is required to resolve the matter if you both have identical claims. Not sure if who got their "exclusive" licence first matters anything in such case.
Actually, if you do the cross-posting, Craigslist would be entitled to sue you for violating their exclusivity agreement, not the other site. What this would put on a poster is the extra work to make the copyrightable content different between sites.
I agree on that. Likely they may consider banning you from posting for violating their terms of service. I was just trying to refute that if users cross-posted, they, and not the site to which they posted would be in violation of the agreement.
Banning probably would be another PR no-no, as it might bring their recent "legal" stunt to public attention. One thing is to write something in the fine print at the bottom of the form on your website to help your lawyers get out of the place that they cornered themselves into. Another is persecuting your users for not obeying something so obviously stupid that most people would consider it a typo.
Exclusive license means exactly what it says. You are giving Craigslist essentially full copyright ownership over your listing. The only exception is that in moral rights jurisdictions you aren't giving them moral rights.
It's not anti-competitive any more than a book publisher not allowing you to serialize your novel in some other company's publication.
No one is forcing anyone to use Craigslist. You are free not to post and free to not agree to those terms. Why should a publisher (which is what CL is) grant non exclusive rights? It's a business. If you don't like the terms, you aren't forced to sign the contract. You can always post a newspaper ad, or start your own site. Just because CL has the user base doesn't mean that they are preventing competitors from entering the market any more than Stephen King's publisher is stopping other writers from writing and publishing novels. Stephen King is well known and sells lots of books, but that's not a monopoly, it's a competitive advantage.
Should all companies be forced to give up their competitive advantage to make it easier for competition? Of course not. Competitors need to create their own advantage. It's like suggesting that FB has a monopoly on social simply because they have the most users. You can start your own. Facebook (and CL) aren't preventing users from visiting your site, nor are they preventing sellers from writing a different post for a different site. They're claiming rights to the specific ad posting. It's exactly like the publishing industry.
This anger seems to stem directly from Padmapper blatantly stealing CL data and acting as if it was perfectly fine. I'm no fan of CL, but they have the right to do whatever they want with their data, just as users have the right to not use CL. Don't like the terms, don't do business with them.
The Padmapper guys could take on CL and likely succeed I they had any clue about business development. Instead they spend their time trying to game CL instead of building their own business. If they started hyper locally and focused on a small area or neighborhood, they could easily dominate in that neighborhood with just the cost of some kinkos flyers (assuming they have a great product.) they need only contact landlords in their area, offer to post their ads for free and then flyer the neighborhood advertising 'Park Slope Apartments for Rent' or whatever neighborhood they choose. They'll start to build users. Then they add another neighborhood until eventually they reach critical mass in a specific city. CL took years to get where they were. It takes hard work and getting out from behind the computer screen from time to time. In the rental listings market, the code and UX is easy, the hard work is getting out there and building the business.
I din't get why CL has any obligation to help a competitor short circuit CL's 10+ years of hard work. Do some hard work yourself -- CL is beatable. Look at MySpace: millions of engaged users suffering through a horrid UX, yet they fell to some geographically marketed site called Facebook. You want to build a better CL -- learn from Zuck and Co how they beat MySpace. It's a hell of a lot more than just code.
Bad metaphor. If I make a commercial, am I allowed to run it on more than one television network? Can the TV network say, "you can only run this on our networks?"
I don't know the answer to this question, but I would be annoyed if the network were allowed to lock me in like this. Other networks should be annoyed too.
Should all companies be forced to give up their competitive advantage to make it easier for competition?
Depends on the competitive advantage. Fast code? Theirs. Marketing know-how? Theirs. Monopolistic or illegal practices? Can't keep. Sorry. I definitely disagree with the "companies can do whatever they want" crowd and side with the "you have a business here you play by our rules" crowd.
There's a big difference between a tv ad and a classified ad. The content of CL IS ads. The content of a TV station, ie the competitive differentiator, is based on the quality of its shows, not the ads. If you made a TV show, a network wouldn't allow you to broadcast it on other networks.
Still, CL isn't a public good. Don't like them, turn the channel.
(Sorry I didn't get back to you in a timely fashion)
I see your point but I don't think the difference between TV ads and classified ads is as big as you think it is. In both cases the ad content provider is paying the medium to display the ad. For a TV show, the provider is being paid, and therefore subject to the terms of sale (some shows do show on more than one network, for instance, but not until they are "old" episodes).
In the US there are even some TV stations that spend a major chunk of their time showing commercials ("infomercials"). In these cases content is not a differentiator.
There are also print-based classified-ad (magazines) (Auto-Trader, for example) that don't restrict re-using your ad.
You didn't address the monopoly argument at all. There is behavior that is fine under proper market conditions, but is considered under anti-trust laws to be anti-competitive when one has a monopoly (or near monopoly).
80% market share = monopoly. It varies industry-to-industry, but governments have long recognized that you get many of the monopoly powers before you reach 100%. This is even more true when there are network effects.
Standard Oil only had 64% market share when it was broken up.
Edit (since I can't reply): We aren't expecting a FB breakup for the same reason we don't expect a CL breakup; the US Justice department has been taking a hands-off approach. Given their expertise and the possibility of doing damage, that might be the right approach, but that doesn't mean the monopolies don't exists and aren't doing damage. (Remember, I'm not arguing for a CL breakup, just for the fact that the monopoly exists and must be discussed.) Frankly, I would support a FB breakup, especially if it could lead to an open social-media protocol for federations.
There are plenty of CL competitors. It's just that nobody uses them.
I'll put it this way: do you really think CL has 80% market share because no one can build a better competitor? The site UI is crap.
Should we be expecting a Facebook breakup soon? Sure CL and FB have huge userbases, but how are you determining CL in fact is a monopoly and stifling competition? Or is there no competition because no one is successfully (and legally) trying to start their own CL competitor?
Since AirBnB has tight Craigslist integration, allowing the user to post their listing after they have posted on AirBnB, this sounds like a total paradoxical situation (for lack of a better word). AirBnB kind of set up a listing acting a "proxy", but the owner of the listing hits the final "confirm" to post.
How much does Yardsale rely on Craigslist to stay alive? I posted a few items on Yardsale but got empty, flaky replies from Craigslist and still had the "crazy inbox" problem. Using this as a jumping off point to divorce from Craigslist, it would be good for Yardsale to differentiate itself with quality of buyers and manageability of enquiries rather than act as just a portal with all of the same problems and no real benefits.
From Wikipedia: "In December 2006, at the UBS Global Media Conference in New York, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster told Wall Street analysts that Craigslist has little interest in maximizing profit, instead it prefers to help users find cars, apartments, jobs, and dates."
Did I say they don't have the legal right to do that? No, I didn't. I doubt anybody did.
There's no particular reason to think that spiders are a giant problem for them. Any high-volume site deals with crawlers all the time. If it were a problem because of some site architecture weirdness, it'd be easy enough to set up something that wouldn't be problematic. For example, the RSS feeds they already offer.
Worst case, they could charge people like Padmapper a fee to license the data. Which in fact they already do, but they insist on it being mobile only.
So Craigslist's behavior is purely a business choice, not driven by any technical necessity.
Padmapper alone isn't the existential threat. But other well-funded competitors using the same arguments/techniques to offer 'all Craiglist ads, and then more' could be. Hence Craiglist's assertiveness before the principle of reuse is established.
Their argument was at one stage that they can keep most of the site free by keeping their costs way down by having a simple site. The though free & simple was better than fancier for a price or even that the simplicity was good in itself.
For a long time that argument was interesting and seemed to be working. Now it seems to be not working as well.
It may be that technology & UI brought to the table in 2002 would have been a net loss for Craigslist & that in 2007 improvements would have been too small to bother with. In 2012 there is mounting proof that tech & UI have improved enough that the potential improvements are huge.
When the gap between what a big provider is doing and what is possible gets that big, that's economic pressure. It will be felt in all sorts of ways: competition, users trying to access the data via different interfaces, etc.
Tightening up TCs or setting legal precedents is plugging leaks that happened because of the pressure. Not only does plugging leaks not relieve pressure, it increases it.
If they were honestly all about helping people solve their problems, would they really care if it was them providing the solution, someone else building upon their data, or someone else cutting them out of the action?
If they were honestly all about helping people, surely Craigslist would let the market decide what is most helpful to them.
They are letting the market decide.. They just aren't letting people use their content. Craig is a bit of a nut, but it is a business. People are free to use other sites an post ads on other sites. CL isn't stopping them. Even the smallest indie record label would sue if another record company released an album with that label's songs. They may be in it 'for the music' but they aren't going to cut off their own foot or let people shoplift the product, even if the recording quality is bad and the packaging ugly.
No, but the content is hosted on their servers. Services scraping this content will hit CL's infrastructure hard. It's actually in the interest of their users to minimize server load, so they can browse listings more quickly.
And no, people don't appear to be legally free to use other sites as well as Craigslist with the same content they've created.
If you're not a lawyer, this is conjecture. We don't know how this will be enforced in the future.
You can't protect facts with copyright anywhere, AFAIK. The listing consists of more than facts, including a descriptive title, the descriptive text of the listing, and the attached images. These are all protected. At the moment, PadMapper does not copy any of these things. It's been pointed out. Let's not rehash what's already been said ad nauseum in the PadMapper story comments and stick to discussing this submission.
I don't think that copyright for photographs would be covered by the Craigslist claim though:
'Clicking "Continue" confirms that craigslist is the exclusive licensee of this content, with the exclusive right to enforce copyrights against anyone copying, republishing, distributing or preparing derivative works without its consent.'
I have an original photo and publish it as part of a listing ('the content'). The photo is not a derivative work.
> craigslist is the exclusive licensee of this content, with the exclusive right to enforce copyrights against anyone copying, republishing, distributing or preparing derivative works without its consent.'
> I have an original photo and publish it as part of a listing ('the content'). The photo is not a derivative work.
No, but if someone uses that photo (from the listing) to make something else, that something else is a derivative work, and thus covered by the craigslist license.
I suspect that the craigslist wording isn't intended to be restricted to derivative works. That is, I think that they meant to include content as is in addition to derived work from said content.
Yes, becuse if you grant someone exclusive rights then you need to possess those exclusive rights in the first place. If the material is not protectable, then you don't have any rights to grant to others.
I would be surprised if an author really wanted to do such a thing. The authors I know would be livid if a publisher, say, changed the ending. Publishers typically get the right to publish, and that's it. Opening a few books from my library randomly, the authors or their heirs all hold the copyright.
It's a bit more complicated: We don't have copyright as the americans do, it's split in "Urheberrecht" which is the part the the creator owns and cannot license or sell and the "Verwertungsrecht" which is the right to use the work.
Urheberrecht encompasses thing such as the right do defend against modifications that go against the spirit of the work or the author or against defacing it, the right to be named as the creator (though this one can be waived by contract depending on the circumstance) etc. The Urheberrecht can only be transferred by inheritance.
The Verwertungsrechte is anything related to the use of the work, such as selling, buying, (sub)licensing it.
Please keep in mind that this is a gross oversimplification and IANAL. The copyright situation is complicated enough for experts in the field and cannot be explained in a short post I guess :)
Why don't they just add a damn map mode already? I get it, they don't want to change "the secret formula", so make craigslistmapper.com as an extension of craigslist. Everyone who doesn't want to deal with mapping can stay at craigslist.
Wow. Under the disguise of a pseudo-charity, Craigslist just revealed it's true intentions. They foolishly just opened themselves up to a lot of hate and possibly gave people a huge reason to try out competitors. This may be the beginning of the end of Craigslist's Empire. This is usually how it starts, users being held hostage, increased control, and decreased satisfaction with the service with no way out due to network effects.
We all believed in Craigslist and this is our reward? WE built up Craigslist to be what it is and now we're held hostage for it? I feel like a fool, why do we keep falling for this? Help the little grow until he becomes king and screws us all.
They're changing it to have legal grounds to fend off sites like Padmapper. If they have the exclusive license and another site copies the add and gussies up the display, they have legal grounds to go after the infringing site now. Prior to the explicit issuance of an exclusive license, lawyers for alternative services could make a compelling argument that Craigslist did not assert any license to the content and therefore couldn't legally prevent them from offering a service on top of Craigslist. Adding the copyright license closes that loophole. Now, whether or not an exclusive copyright license is the best way to go is a different question.
Standard IANAL disclaimer.
Edit: replaced copyright with license. Low caffeine morning.
It should also mean though that cross-posting to other sites like Kijiji (very common) could result in having take-down notices sent for your ad (- since it's an exclusive license you're granting them). [IANAL]
You're right. That's where the exclusive vs. non-exclusive copyright license comes into play. I also wonder what this will do to the rentals market. For instance, local realty company lists all their properties on their website and posts them on Craigslist to increase traction. Craigslist now sends the realty company a takedown notice, for the realtor's website listing, since they copied the listing onto CL. Depending on the level of enforcement CL pursues, this could have the effect of cooling professional usage of CL--especially by organizations that have to run things by legal first.
The information that is used to build the ad remains open to be used wherever and whenever the poster wants. I believe this storm is caused by third parties leeching off their ads and not users posting the ad in multiple places. Let's not get too dramatic about it.
Correct, the information remains open--however, how many people are going to go about writing a new ad for each site they post on and make sure it's different enough to avoid triggering someone else's license protection? Reading real estate ads in the area, both on realty websites and Craigslist, they look almost identical.
"BRAND NEW CONDO 1BA 1Br wood floors!!!! sends us an email. $1200/mo!!"
If you take that same ad and post it on Craigslist and another ad service, the license with Craigslist gives them exclusive rights to the ad--if I'm reading this right it means they can then tell the 2nd ad service to take the content down since CL has the exclusive license. I'm not saying CL will do this, just that having that kind of license up front opens the door to such a scenario.
I don't think people outside the US understand how large Craigslist is. I spend 1 hour, each work day, looking at the national OMPL gig feed after its been filtered for charity/stupidity/things I don't do, to see if I can pick up supplemental clients between larger accounts.
The amount of spam and high expectations / low financial reward is high, but a lot of my small business contracts are from Craigslist.
the "ebay meets dating" impression is not correct. Craigslist is closer to an "Online Classified Ads" which is popular for posting jobs, apartment rentals, cars, sporting equipment, musical instruments, and pretty much everything else you might post in a classified ad.
I'm told it is one of the 100 most popular sites on the internet (and one of the 50 most popular in the US).
One of the reasons people feel strongly about it the platform nature. If you don't like the Craigslist interface for finding apartments, you don't have much choice. That is where everyone lists their apartments. Similarly, it is the first place everyone lists apartments because it is widely known that this is where users check.
For that reason, it's been hard for competitors to get any traction... even when the competitor has better technology.
>> it's been hard for competitors to get any traction... even when the competitor has better technology.
This. CraigsList's search features for cars are abysmal. AutoTrader.com, on the other hand, lets you do awesome stuff like "find me a Toyota or Honda sedan costing less than $12,000 within 15 miles of me", save that search, and get email alerts when new matches come in.
But in my market, all the sellers were on Craigslist.
Alright. That sounds very anti competitive. And if they truly have a monopoly likely illegal as well.
I really wish, we had proper laws to deal with all these vendor lockin tricks. Its as if the free market, without proper regulation just ends up promoting innovation in loopholes that give an unfair advantage.
Everyone wants to be a cable company these days, and be selling access to customers. Instead of contributing something of actual value themselves, they just want to tax others when they do. Hijack the customer, and be the middle man.
They all essentially implement the same bussiness model as the mob.
It's not really anti-competitive, and it's very unlikely to be illegal. It's just a fairly classic natural monopoly.
There's only likely to be one major classified ad company, because advertisers want to use the site with the most users, and users want to use the site with the most classified ads. That's hard for a competitor to break into, not because of anticompetitive behavior by Craigslist, but because of the nature of the market.
As for the law, the general rule of thumb, in the US at least, is that it's not illegal to have a monopoly, but it is illegal to use your monopoly to dominate a second market.
I read it as this posting is exclusive. I can make a similar posting somewhere else. Sure, I can't copy-pasta, but if CraigsList thinks that because I post on their site that I can't post it on other sites as well I would LOVE to see them try to sue me.
You cant copy pasta your own content. I totally agree though: this will never hold up in court.
If they want to "own" user submitted content, they need a signature. Just putting some terms up will not suffice, unless the site "sell us your exclusive content" with big "make CL own this content" buttons.
I don't know about Holland, but CL is HUGE in the U.S, and I mean REALLY HUGE. I've sold stuff, rented apartments etc from CL, because that is where the crowd is. I know of people who use it for everything, and they are very happy. Takes a minute to post the ad, it is free, and even 70 year olds know it.
It is beyond me, why they refuse to improve the service. They could do it one small step at a time, carefully and slowly, so they don't upset their not so tech savvy audience (much of their audience falls in this category)
Things might change soon if they keep behaving this way, but at this moment, no-one comes close to CL (ebay may be, but you can't rent apartments from ebay)
The judge in the Righthaven (copyright troll) case ruled they didn't have standing to sue, specifically because they didn't have an exclusive license. I guess this is a response to that.
I still don't think most craigslist posts are copyrightable though.
I think the only real long term solution is for craigslist to build and charge for an API, because I really don't think their copyright claims will hold up in court if someone with enough money to handle the legal battle shows up one day.
It will also allow them to argue that subject to compliance with the licence, the information could only have been accessed from CL.
The reality of course is that for a certain number people (perhaps limited) CL will be the only site where the submit content and will therefore not be concerned about granting an exclusive licence.
However, I'm sure a greater percentage of people will not necessarily grasp what Craigslist are asking for here and will not be put off posting elsewhere. Of course, CL will not go around enforcing the terms of the exclusive licence against the user.
The grant of exclusivity will simply allow them to argue that subject to compliance with the licence, the information could only have been accessed from CL, or at least is more likely to have been obtained from CL.
If Craigslist are serious about ensuring they can rely on the exclusive licence it should be made clear that the grant means the user can't post the content anywhere else however this may mean that people would be more put off using the site.
My view is that it's a shame that CL are now attempting to assert an even tighter stranglehold over information originating from users. In the long run it may assist Padmapper in pushing people away from using CL in the first instance.
This decision is the early sign that Craigslist is a dying company. It won't have a big direct impact: users won't notice and the PR impact won't go beyond entrepreneur circles.
But it shows their confidence is suffering and they're starting to focus on defensive measures - even defensive measure that go against their original values. Its not a sign of impending doom, just a sign that a long decline is underway.
Seems to me that would only apply to the specific instance of content you posted on CL.
If you create another post somewhere else, just make it different - it's not a work derived from that content.. it's derived from facts that you already know.
You could post different content on another site all you like.. but nobody can take CL's content and use it.
I believe that Craigslist is an immense, rich resource where the inertia of it's community to move en-masse to another service means it highly unlikely that another site will take over in the near or near-far future. I am saddened that Craigslist can't simply provide (paid or whatever) API access to their data and encourage a healthy sub-ecosystem.
Saying you have something doesn't really mean you have something - I'm not sure that would stand in court. IANAL, of course, and anything can happen, especially in bizarro world of computerized information where there's no legal practice refined by hundreds of years of common sense applications, so such thing may probably be useful for Craigslist to go after some content scrappers. But I seriously doubt they would ever go after the post owner for reporting his own content.
Um, dont most people just click OK, Accept or whatever, with out ever reading on? Cant see the vast majority giving a toss. How many stories have there been about ebay, paypal, facebook, etc, and none of those sites seem to be losing loads of users, if any.
I mean, I even had a facebook "friend" forward a circular about the evils of facebook, saying "we" should all be up in arms. I asked her if she was going to close her FB account. Yeah, you all know the answer.
One thing that never comes up in these discussions is community moderation. Craigslist relies on the community to flag off content that's inappropriate (spam, overpost, whatever).
I wonder of the Craigslist folks are looking at alternative interfaces as ways people will get the good stuff (real listings) without having to do the work of wading through and flagging off the bad stuff.
It's no wonder, more people try to take craigslist data and push it in their own site while serving ads it's crazy. Yes, when I post an ad on craigslist I want that ad to be on craigslist, don't have a problem with that at all.
IANAL, of course, but before we all bring out the pitchforks, what does the word "content" mean in
Clicking "Continue" confirms that craigslist is the exclusive licensee of this content
Does it refer, as many posters suggest below, to the item sold in the listing? Or does it only refer to the contents of the listing? If it's the former, I question its legal defensibility (oh man I'm not a lawyer, but I think that's right). If it's the latter, this is a clear pre-emptive move against future PadMapper-type problems.
It's not very standard. The standard text in a UGC site's terms is to grant a non-exclusive license to the submitted content, and does not grant the sole rights to enforce the copyright in that content. This text on the submission form is both new and non-standard; it doesn't even agree with what's in their TOS document.
An exclusive license means landlords themselves are giving up their right to post the same listing on other rental listing sites, for example, by using a tool that would post the exact same listing to multiple sites.
Honestly I have no stake in this, but I'm happy CL is doing that change. 3TAP and Padmapper and just trying to build a "buisness" sucking up posts from CL and tried to find doggy way around it. CL don't want their post used somehwere else, no fancy UI it's their right and it's now becoming their clear LEGAL right. I have zero sympathy for padmapper I actually think their buisness practices are disgusting (CL offered them a licence they just dind't want to pay).
Craigslist offered a useless mobile-only license that wouldn't have permitted padmapper to remain on the web. And forbidding landlords from pasting their own ad into any other site is shockingly anticompetitive.
CL offered them a mobile license and Padmapper is primarily a web only application.
Besides this trying to search for an apartment on mobile would be incredibly tedious. And this is likely why CL is willing to offer a mobile license.