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Hacker Loses Craigslist Copycat Case

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A federal judge has granted default judgment against a hacker who allegedly "scraped" Craigslist content for use on other websites.

Brian Niessen is the remaining defendant in a copyright lawsuit that sought to enjoin competitors 3taps, PadMapper and others from reproducing or disseminating the data.

Craigslist alleges he is liable for breach of contract for "willfully, repeatedly and systematically" violating its terms of use.

Niessen has yet to respond to the 2012 complaint, according to Craigslist, which filed a motion for default judgment last August.

"Craigslist would be prejudiced if the court does not enter default judgment against Niessen," U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer wrote Sunday in a 7-page order. "Absent the requested injunction, Craigslist would be left without any means to enforce its terms of use or protect the content of its website from Niessen's alleged misappropriation."

Niessen is now enjoined from "copying, reproducing, distributing" or "knowingly and systematically inducing, causing and/or materially contributing to the unauthorized" copying of Craigslist data or using its site "for any commercial purposes that violates Craigslist's terms of use," Breyer said in his October 11 order.

Craigslist, arguably the most popular online classified-ad platform in the world, mercifully agreed to a $1 million settlement with 3taps last July. The company promised to donate the funds to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the U.S.-based international digital rights group will receive $100,000 per year for the next 10 years.

Breyer approved the settlement on June 26, 2015 along with an additional nonmonetary settlement between Craigslist and PadMapper that permanently enjoins the company from reproducing or disseminating Craigslist data.

Ironically, Niessen initially responded to a 3taps post on Craigslist that sought a "Skilled Hacker at Scraping Web Content," according to Craigslist's complaint.

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