Craigslist Gets $1 Million|in Copyright Settlement


     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Craigslist will get $1 million – and donate the money to the Electronic Frontier Foundation – to settle claims that 3taps and PadMapper violated copyright by providing its content to other websites.
     Craigslist sued 3taps and PadMapper in July 2012. 3taps scraped Craigslist listings and made them available to others on its own website. PadMapper created a separate interface for Craigslist apartment listings.
     3tap countersued, claiming Craigslist violated antitrust laws.
     U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer ended both lawsuits Friday, approving a settlement which included a permanent injunction prohibiting 3taps or any of its agents from “reproducing, transmitting, displaying, framing, including, disseminating, publishing, distributing or giving away any content, including but not limited to user-generated postings, advertisements, information, data, images, messages or emails, that has been submitted to, posted on, or transmitted via any Craigslist website, service or computer server.”
     Breyer ordered the injunction effective within 24 hours, and gave 3taps seven days to transfer ownership of the craiggers.com domain name to Craigslist.
     Courthouse News was unable to verify whether 3taps could be forced to shut down because of the settlement.
     Attorney Jack Dicanio referred Courthouse News to 3taps CEO Greg Kidd, who did not immediately return a phone call.
     “Although 3taps lacks the resources to continue the fight, this settlement provides much needed resources to the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), as there is still much to be done on the issues raised in this case,” 3taps said in a statement Monday.
     “For example, questions whether private companies that maintain public websites can selectively exclude visitors, exposing the banned visitor to civil and criminal liability under the (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act).”
     3taps clearly was not happy with the settlement, or with Craigslist.
     Its statement added: “(T)his is unlikely to be the last litigation involving Craigslist’s copyrights, particularly given Craigslist’s current practice of selectively obtaining copyright assignments and registrations (the prerequisite to a copyright infringement lawsuit) in certain user-generated posts, but failing to inform its visitors which posts it owns. This effectively creates a copyright litigation trap for unwary visitors.”
     Craigslist posted settlement documents on its company blog.
     Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster, apparently intimating that his company had shown mercy to the infringers, added a quote from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”:
     The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
     It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
     Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
     It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
     Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
     The throned monarch better than his crown …

     The quote comes from Act IV, Scene i, in which Portia imitates an attorney.
     Craigslist attorney Jennifer Barry could not be reached for comment.
     Craigslist will mercifully donate $100,000 a year to the EFF for 10 years.
     Also Friday, Breyer approved a nonmonetary settlement agreement that permanently enjoins PadMapper from reproducing or disseminating Craigslist’s data.

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