Aug 19, 2013
Changing your IP address to access a blocked site might violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act — the 1980s anti-hacking law used to help prosecute Aaron Swartz, Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, Bradley Manning, and others. Late last week, a Californian US district court handed down a ruling that allowed Craigslist to go forward with part of its lawsuit against 3Taps, which aggregated its classified ads without permission. Because 3Taps continued to scrape and republish ads even after Craigslist banned a set of its IP addresses, Judge Charles Breyer found that it had intentionally accessed the company's servers without authorization, meeting the conditions of the CFAA.Read Article >
The suit against 3Taps dates back to 2012, when Craigslist filed copyright cases against third-party sites that were mapping out or otherwise collecting listings in hopes of making them more user-friendly. But earlier this year, Judge Breyer dismissed Craigslist's copyright suit on the grounds that it didn't have an exclusive license on posts. That left only the CFAA charge, based on a cat and mouse game between Craigslist and 3Taps. In its attempt to stop third-party services, Craigslist sent a cease and desist letter to 3Taps, saying it was "prohibited from accessing craigslist's website or services for any reason." Then, it blocked all IP addresses associated with 3Taps from the site, but the service kept copying data, changing its IP addresses or running through proxy servers.
May 1, 2013
It wasn’t a complete victory for the challengers, however — the judge refused to dismiss Craigslist’s claims that 3taps violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by circumventing technical barriers that Craigslist put in place to keep the competitor off its site, including IP blocking. Despite the mixed results, 3taps is declaring the ruling a victory, saying that Judge Breyer "put an end to further sham litigation" from Craigslist.
Nov 5, 2012
Rumors of Craigslist’s death have been greatly exaggerated, but the dot-com era site may be losing its dominance in the American real estate market. Craigslist’s revenue from real estate listings is down a hefty 23.8 percent from last year, falling from $13 million to $9.9 million in 2012, according to a report today from research firm AIM Group, which tracks the online classifieds industry.Read Article >
Such a dramatic loss in real estate listings would help explain why Craigslist pulled out all the stops this summer to quash the popular housing search tool Padmapper, which aggregates listings from Craigslist and other sites and displays them on a map with extra search tools. Craigslist sued the one-man operation and its data provider 3Taps, added an "exclusive license" to its terms of service, and ordered search engines to stop caching its listings. Craigslist introduced its own "Map View," similar to Padmapper’s, about a month later.
Sep 25, 2012
A new chapter is unfolding in the legal drama between classified ad service Craigslist, and third parties that repurpose its ads. Two months ago Craigslist asserted copyright claims against apartment hunting site PadMapper and its data provider 3Taps for using its user-submitted ads without permission, and now 3Taps is swinging back with a counterclaim accusing Craigslist of using anticompetitive tactics to maintain a monopoly on online classified ad markets.Read Article >
The counterclaim, filed on September 24th, denies that Craigslist exclusively owns its users’ posts (which the company itself has recently conceded), and claims that by preventing others from searching its publicly available ads in more efficient ways, Craigslist is behaving like a monopolist. According to 3Taps, the company’s "‘strategy’ of ‘unbranding,’ ‘demonetizing,’ and ‘uncompeting’" has enabled it to generate revenues between $100 and $300 million a year "without sinking any significant costs into research and development or innovation."
Aug 10, 2012
The change likely won’t affect the suit Craigslist filed last month against apartment search provider PadMapper and its data provider 3Taps, though. The updated Terms appear to explicitly prohibit third-party services tapping into its ads while still giving users the freedom to post their own content elsewhere.
Aug 1, 2012
Craigslist has made a dramatic alteration to its terms and conditions that establishes the company as "exclusive licensee" and copyright owner of all classified ads posted on its site. The alarming shift in policy was first spotted by Jon Berger, who noticed the new language at the bottom of Craigslist's post creation form. With the sweeping changes, Craigslist theoretically gains the ability to sue anyone (read: both individuals and businesses) it feels is "copying, republishing, distributing or preparing derivative works" without permission — clearly addressing the ongoing scuffle with Padmapper.Read Article >
Essentially, the new terms allow Craigslist to pursue anyone caught posting (or hosting) an ad already displayed among its classifieds elsewhere on the web. Under copyright law, the company cannot claim ownership of core "facts" within each ad — things like an item's price, the location of an apartment, and other basic information can be freely duplicated. What Craigslist can say it holds copyright over is the posting as a whole including description, photos, and other information.
Jul 24, 2012
Craigslist is suing apartment-searching web app PadMapper and its data provider, 3Taps, over allegations of copyright infringement, breach of contract, and several other charges. The suit comes after the company's cease-and-desist letters were dismissed by PadMapper founder Eric DeMenthon earlier this month.Read Article >
Jul 9, 2012
Padmapper skirts around Craigslist cease and desist, brings back apartment listings with third-party API
Padmapper got some unwanted attention from Craigslist last month in the form of a cease and desist letter, which led the apartment listings aggregator to remove all content sourced from the classifieds site. It was a devastating blow for the tool, and founder Eric DeMenthon implored users to contact Craigslist executives in support of Padmapper's cause. Thus far the company hasn't budged on the matter, but DeMenthon has just announced plans to bring back Craigslist apartment results anyway.Read Article >
Citing the major inconvenience that the situation is causing his users, DeMenthon says he plans to again integrate Craigslist listings into Padmapper with the help of a company called 3taps. They've developed an API that provides data from Craigslist while skirting around the Terms of Service that were cited in Craigslist's original complaint. It's an imperfect solution, he admits. "It’s not nice of me to do from Craigslist’s perspective, and I’d really love to just work with them to solve these problems, but my conscience is clear," he says, promising to continue sending traffic (Padmapper sees "millions" of monthly visitors) to the massive classifieds site.
Jun 23, 2012
"Padmapper just acts as a search engine and sends all traffic back to the sites it searches," DeMenthon told TechCrunch.