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melvinmt 624 days ago | link | parent

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.


briandear 624 days ago | link

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.

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dhimes 624 days ago | link

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.

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briandear 624 days ago | link

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.

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dhimes 622 days ago | link

(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.

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jessriedel 624 days ago | link

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).

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res0nat0r 624 days ago | link

Large user base != monopoly.

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jessriedel 624 days ago | link

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.

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res0nat0r 624 days ago | link

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?

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achompas 624 days ago | link

This is a bit knee-jerk, no? I highly doubt you waive the right to repost your listing ANYWHERE; rather, this is legalese allowing them to sue anyone using their listings without consent.

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dangrossman 624 days ago | link

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.

This isn't boilerplate legalese.

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jc123 624 days ago | link

Hard to see the day when craigslist tries to sue posters for this "violation"; so effectively posters can ignore this legalese as it's targeted to give craiglist ammunition against other sites.

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defen 624 days ago | link

> effectively posters can ignore this legalese

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.

OR

2) If you post a housing listing to Craigslist, you cannot post it anywhere else.

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alttab 624 days ago | link

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.

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defen 624 days ago | link

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.

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alttab 624 days ago | link

I don't conflate the two at all.

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.

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defen 624 days ago | link

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.

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icebraining 624 days ago | link

They may not sue posters, but what if they sue the sites to where the poster voluntarily submitted copies of his post?

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loceng 624 days ago | link

Clearly that's what they want to do or at least have the ability to threaten suit with this in their TOS.

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biafra 624 days ago | link

And then those sites will tell CL to sue the users who entered it into their site.

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icebraining 624 days ago | link

Is it that simple? If the license that those sites have is invalid - and it would be - then they're committing copyright infringement, and CL has an explicit license to go after those.

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dangrossman 624 days ago | link

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.

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talaketu 624 days ago | link

Probably not the best advice from a legal or ethical standpoint.

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ralfn 624 days ago | link

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.

Its a complete scam.

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icebraining 624 days ago | link

This is not an EULA.

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ralfn 624 days ago | link

You are right. Although it comes down to the same thing. They are all just synonyms for contracts. ( a liscene is just a type of contract )

And this could very well be a good example of the 1% that would actually be uphold.

If they had your signature, that is. Getting exclusive content liscence without explicit permission? They cant even prove it was you that submitted the content in the first place.

Imagine a store having a sign that they own your bag, whenever you enter. Come on, this will not hold up in court.

Compare certain opensoure companies that require contributions to assign copyright to them. They all demand a real piece of paper, with a real signature.

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briandear 624 days ago | link

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.

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zopa 624 days ago | link

> 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.

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ralfn 624 days ago | link

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.

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achompas 624 days ago | link

Are you a lawyer?

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.

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melvinmt 624 days ago | link

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).

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wilfra 624 days ago | link

That might technically be true but that clearly isn't the intent here. Craigslist is not going to be suing their users for copy/pasting the same listing across multiple sites...

This is clearly directed to services like Padmapper - which, by the way, I strongly support and wish Craigslist would leave TF alone.

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scotty79 624 days ago | link

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.

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sageikosa 624 days ago | link

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.

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scotty79 624 days ago | link

I don't think any company would sue their users. PR in at least remotely sane companies trumps legal.

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sageikosa 624 days ago | link

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.

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scotty79 624 days ago | link

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.

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dchest 624 days ago | link

"Exclusive licensee" is exactly what it says -- you agree not to use the same content anywhere else.

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einhverfr 624 days ago | link

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.

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andrewflnr 624 days ago | link

Couldn't you just substantially rephrase your post for other sites?

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badclient 624 days ago | link

Usually you can't "just substantially" do something without a huge inconvenience.

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