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Craigslist Drops Exclusive License To Your Posts

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the all-yours-again dept.

Your Rights Online 63

First time accepted submitter Penurious Penguin writes "Last week Craigslist demanded exclusive license to the content you post there, an odd demand which would have prevented ad-content on Craigslist from being advertised anywhere else but Craigslist. Thankfully, today we read from the EFF, the Good News: Craigslist drops exclusive license to your posts. From the article: 'For many years, craigslist has been a good digital citizen. Its opposition to SOPA/PIPA was critically important, and it has been at the forefront of challenges to Section 230 and freedom of expression online. We understand that craigslist faces real challenges in trying to preserve its character and does not want third parties to simply reuse its content in ways that are out of line with its user community’s expectations and could be harmful to its users. Nevertheless, it was important for craigslist to remove the provision because claiming an exclusive license to the user’s posts--to the exclusion of everyone, including the original poster--would have harmed both innovation and users’ rights, and would have set a terrible precedent. We met with craigslist to discuss this recently and are pleased about their prompt action.'"

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63 comments

No News. Move on.... (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#40939987)

There's really no way they could have enforced it anyway because it would have fallen in the lowest court, and indeed the ones that followed had they wished to appeal it.

Simply non-news. They screwed up, and caught it.

But other web sites may *try* to continue with this kind of bull shit. Again, it would never ever pass legal muster in a court, it's just asking for a huge class action (where no one wins except the lawyers)...

Re:No News. Move on.... (2, Insightful)

pdabbadabba (720526) | about 2 years ago | (#40941019)

Why, exactly, do you think it wouldn't have passed "legal muster"?

Re:No News. Move on.... (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40941943)

cause.. SHUT UP!

I suspect that's the extent of the posters argument.

Re:No News. Move on.... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40941149)

But other web sites may *try* to continue with this kind of bull shit. Again, it would never ever pass legal muster in a court, it's just asking for a huge class action (where no one wins except the lawyers)...

Bahahaha! Who said the lawyers give a flying fuck about anyone else winning?

Also, just to let you know, other websites may *try*, but Facebook will *DO*, and kindly say "fuck you" to you and your rights.

Do not read this comment (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40940049)

You have no right!

Should have let them do it (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#40940063)

Then all the post's selling dope and hookers could then turn around and say it wasn't theirs, that craigslist owned it. Then we can see how well their little ass headed ideas work for them, instead of having to scold them (and every other dumbshit company) like children.

Re:Should have let them do it (2, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#40940125)

I think you are confused. Craigslist closed those categories and all the hooker posts moved to backpage.

Can't wait to see if I am modded "Funny" or "Informative" for this!

Re:Should have let them do it (1)

maroberts (15852) | about 2 years ago | (#40944061)

No actually it has caused a severe degradation of Craigslist because those adverts are being bombed into the other sections.

I know because I have to look all over CL to find a hooker when I need .... er ...nevermind.

Re:Should have let them do it (1)

smileystar (2697663) | about 2 years ago | (#40942669)

Then all the post's selling dope and hookers could then turn around and say it wasn't theirs, that craigslist owned it. Then we can see how well their little ass headed ideas work for them, instead of having to scold them (and every other dumbshit company) like children.

You're definitely right.

Easier way to fix it (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#40940065)

The best way to solve the "problem" of other people using their data, is to fix their own search tools. Hell, just being able to search all locations within 100 miles would be nice. All these other websites pop up because there own presentation is so bad.

Re:Easier way to fix it (2)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40940373)

No shit.

"Crazedlist" had a superior format and great layout. They should throw the author (not me, don't know him) a few bucks and do likewise.

Are there any Craigslist aggregator applications which are as good?

Re:Easier way to fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40941145)

Are there any Craigslist aggregator applications which are as good?

Yes.

And if you get off your lazy ass and use a search engine you can find them.

Re:Easier way to fix it (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40941915)

I did and don't see any like Crazedlist.

Googling is EASIER than posting here, BTW.

Re:Easier way to fix it (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40940561)

I dunno, I tend to find Craigslist more appealing than most of its replacements. I suspect a lot of other Craigslist users have similar views: I just want one simple site for my area, not a bunch of fancy zoomable web 2.0 maps like Yelp or something.

Re:Easier way to fix it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40940711)

It's 2012, how is a map "fancy?", especially when visualizing data with geographic relevance? Not having a map for housing posts, and then punishing sites that give people what they want is ridiculous.

Re:Easier way to fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40943515)

Most people can read the words and don't need pictures - you probably couldn't find your ass with both hands unless you had a map!

Re:Easier way to fix it (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40941079)

Crazedlist would have been to your liking. The aggregator function worked great, and there was no extra bullshit.

Re:Easier way to fix it (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#40941927)

They need to do away with the whole "city.craigslist.org".

My town is a "twin" town with a west and an east. So it's named after the county. Some of them are mashuped names like http://chambana.craigslist.org/ [craigslist.org] (Campaign-Urbana). How do I describe where I am in Chicago. Because there is just "chicago.craigslist.org." Or you could obviously break it down in to directions, but even then it's a huge area.

Registering 00000-99999 wouldn't be hard. Don't change ANYTHING else. Keep the KISS layout the same and just let people search by radius. (Well maybe implement a map for those housing ads).

60606.craigslist.org. Search zip codes up to 20 miles. Done. It all goes into a central database right now anyway. It made sense when there were 2 across the country but now if I'm in BFE I post to 2 separate cities. Then I get docked and have to edit 1 ad so it's not the exact same.

Re:Easier way to fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40943847)

A lot of people would like that. Particularly if you're in a smaller city, in suburbs, or in a rural location between major cities. Zipcode + radius as a search criteria makes more sense in that case. I know I'd find this way of searching much more useful.

The problem is that Craigslist is ran by smarmy hipsters that hate suburbanites. Now why would they want to make their content more useful to people which for some reason or other aren't living in the heart of downtown in a major city?

Changing how the content is managed would be easy, changing the mentality of the site's operators on the other hand...

Liability issue (4, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40940271)

I am no lawyer (would appreciate it a lawyer to comment on this) but it seems obvious that CraigsList would be liable for user content if they claimed they owned it. People have been raped, murdered, robbed, and had identity stolen, from that website. I cringe when I apply for jobs using it as I know bad guys use it as well but I have to work right?

If I were a lawyer for these victims I would be drooling at the fact that CL claims they own that post and all its content in that scam!

Re:Liability issue (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#40940369)

They dont own it, but they hold an exclusive license to something you own. It is rather a simple concept.

Citation needed for liability difference (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40940441)

As I understand your post, you're claiming a difference between the liability of an owner and the liability of an exclusive licensee who effectively exercises the powers of an owner. What's the statute or case law citation for this difference?

Re:Citation needed for liability difference (2)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#40940537)

I am not a lawyer, but the law very often agrees with common sense. The owner is the one who created the content, and is responsible for the harm the content causes. The licensee, well, is like a common carrier. Unless the licensee chooses to modify the content, or filter content, he cannot be held responsible for the content.

Re:Citation needed for liability difference (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40940859)

I am not a lawyer, but the law very often agrees with common sense.

I laughed very heartily at this claim.

Re:Citation needed for liability difference (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | about 2 years ago | (#40941135)

It may be funny, but it is also true. People only think differently because they usually only hear half the story (at best). Of course, GP said "very often" not "always"...

Re:Citation needed for liability difference (5, Informative)

pdabbadabba (720526) | about 2 years ago | (#40941127)

Lawyer here. GP seems correct to me (though this is largely outside my area of expertise) -- being the license holder of content (for copyright purposes) is simply an entirely different concept from having liability deriving from the creation or publication of the content. I don't know of a statute or case to cite for this proposition, but I wouldn't expect there to be any, just like I don't expect there to be case law explaining the difference between murder and kidnapping.

The reason is that either liability will have come from having posted the materials (for example, because making the post will itself be a material step in the commission of a crime), or being a publisher of the materials (this is true in traditional libel law, though websites like craigslist are usually protected by statutory safe harbors). In the former cases, Craigslist would not be liable regardless of who had what license to publish the material. In the latter case they would always have been liable. In either case, the terms of the copyright license change nothing. I am aware of no species of liability that attaches to becoming the exclusive licensee of copyrighted materials (someone may be able to come up with something, but it would have to be pretty obscure).

Re:Citation needed for liability difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40941895)

There are none that I am familiar with. Basically, you are an owner if you have one or more of the exclusive rights* subject to the other limitations and modifications in the copyright code. If you don't have any of those, you are just a licensee (like what happened with Righthaven) and you cannot get any of the benefits of being an owner nor can you get the downsides. The important test is if you can prevent EACH and EVERY other person from exercising those powers. While it looks like Craigslist has that power, they cannot prevent the true owner from taking away the license and publishing somewhere else, only from listing at two places at the same time.

That said, there are two common situations where an "exclusive licensee" is liable. The first is when they get a license and the agreement prevents the true owner from taking it away, because then there are now two owners because they both have 1 or more exclusive right. The second is when they exercise the ability to determine whether they will or not actually make the work available, because it is easy to lose your safe harbor that way if you are not careful.

*(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords; (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work; (3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending; (4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly; (5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and (6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.).

Re:Citation needed for liability difference (1)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#40945461)

Here is a case:

Janet Jackson was televised by exclusive license holder, CBS, but the NFL owns the broadcast. CBS was sued.

Re:Citation needed for liability difference (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | about 2 years ago | (#40945715)

But CBS wasn't liable because they were the exclusive license holder, CBS was liable because they broadcasted it. They would have been equally liable if the footage were in the public domain or if they had no license at all (though obviously in the latter case they would also have been liable for copyright infringement).

Re:Liability issue (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#40941025)

I cringe when I apply for jobs using it as I know bad guys use it as well but I have to work right?

Why? Do you apply for jobs in the 'casual encounters' section? Or did you use to apply for jobs in the section that got removed last year?

In craigslist's official section for jobs, the fee is $75.00 per post and per category, so I'd say that makes that section a bit safer than the other non-real estate non-jobs sections where posting is completely free.

Re:Liability issue (3, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40941881)

I have seen fake job posts where I reply and immediately I get an email saying work needs to be done to image like 4 systems ... oh don't worry I will email you the cashiers check.

Or I get a link to another site that asks for a job application and social security ... you know for a background check. It is some bogus job site with something like jobs.bankofamerica.jobs.com etc. With my resume they have everything about me, my phone, name, address, email address, except the social security number. With that they can steal my identity.

So yes it is worth the $75 check to these criminals. One of the first things I do is always do a google search for the name of the company. Second I do a search with the keywords verbatim and yes I have come across at least 4 times similiar posts "Hey need this laptop reimaged with XP, this workstation with that, etc." all on scamboard websites.

They exist on monster.com too and it is a lesson for anyone applying for jobs. I sometimes even do a google search for the name of a person if its an HR contact to make sure they actually work for the company. You would be surprised scammers stealing identity would do that too and pay the posting fee.

Boilerplate can't steal your implicit copyright (3, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#40940411)

No matter how much you pay lawyers to pretend it's true, boilerplate legalese can't remove your implicit copyright to your own works.

But the copyright and patent systems in the US are so messed up that most people think it's ok.

Re:Boilerplate can't steal your implicit copyright (4, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#40940547)

It wasn't removing your copyright. In fact, it was acknowledging your copyright, because otherwise you couldn't give them a license to it.

Re:Boilerplate can't steal your implicit copyright (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40941933)

" can't remove your implicit copyright to your own works."
yes, it can. A boiler plat contract is a contract. Please try to keep up with the times.

Re:Boilerplate can't steal your implicit copyright (2)

rbrausse (1319883) | about 2 years ago | (#40943309)

" can't remove your implicit copyright to your own works."
yes, it can. A boiler plat contract is a contract.

clash of cultures.

American-style/common law copyright allows to waive all rights, European-style copyright law is built around the (unwaivable) moral rights. It is possible to sell economic rights, but some "implicit" (as the GP called it) rights are still attached to the author/creator.

Re:Boilerplate can't steal your implicit copyright (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#40944793)

No, but getting muscled out of the courtroom by a corporation with a superior legal budget can.

Re:Boilerplate can't steal your implicit copyright (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#40948997)

True

Possible Firefox Add-on? (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40940443)

Would it be practical to make an add-on to Firefox which opens (selected site whose URLs must be typed in during setup by the user!)
then displays aggregated content?

That would beat opening a tab for each local then punching in search term and category.

Re:Possible Firefox Add-on? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 2 years ago | (#40941093)

I wonder if this is already doable. Like make a quicksearch bookmark but then use pipe characters to separate multiple target URLs (like how your home page tabs are formatted in the home page blank). So the term you use for the quicksearch is inputted into the "%s" point on every URL, opening each on a separate tab.

I could sit here and try it out to see what it does but I'm feeling lazy.

darn it! (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 2 years ago | (#40940667)

now all my good troll comments are going to be copied and plastered all over the internets

Craigslist is Crap (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | about 2 years ago | (#40940809)

If CL wanted to be good digital citizens, they'd allow web developers to improve upon their crappy marketplace. Their apartment rentals and car sales are especially crap. Really, how hard would it be to add some criteria to a car sales ad so the buyer could search by brand, model, mileage.. Any time someone does a good thing and tries to add value to their crappy system (adding a google map interface and javascript sorting) to listings, Craig shuts em down. The site hasn't changed in 10 years and is overrun by spammers and scammers. Dude needs to get off his lazy ass, charge a few bucks for listings, and hire some decent talent to do justice to his product and market share.

Re:Craigslist is Crap (0)

FudRucker (866063) | about 2 years ago | (#40940949)

Craig Newmark probably gets payola from spammers and scammers

Re:Craigslist is Crap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40941203)

Craig Newmark probably gets payola from spammers and scammers

When he isn't busy taking a dick up the ass, that is.

Re:Craigslist is Crap (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40941923)

So being a good digital citizen means building web site to your approval?
Fuck you.

" Dude needs to get off his lazy ass, charge a few bucks for listings,"
thats called ebay, you are more then welcome to take you lazy pin head there.
I use Craig's list, and have no problem with scammers or spammers.

You're crappy human being.

Re:Craigslist is Crap (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | about 2 years ago | (#40945703)

Any examples of improvements to CL in the last 10 years? I didn't think so.

Re:Craigslist is Crap (1)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | about 2 years ago | (#40942135)

If you could search distinctly, as you say, by "brand model and milage" then the seller would have to type it in into separate fields. The buyer would need to know exactly what they want, and craigslist would have to have a billion sub categories or attributes for every conceivable product. Craigslist search can use some work in some places, but simply typing in the brand or model would get you a list of cars. Kms may be a "nice to have" feature, but it hardly makes the site "crap". ditto with apartment rentals. The information is there, but you obviously have to use search terms. In apartment rentals even you can filter by bedrooms. Anything else is just frill.

But don't get me wrong. I love padmapper and used to love byebyelist, and they have tried to shut those down. CL is still one of the most useful websites and i am more impressed with how they have kept pure. If this is the price to pay, I am happy to pay it. I mean look what google has gone and fucked up their homepage with graphics, a million different products, autocomplete, autosearch, thumbnails and precaching websites, etc.. More often if people change software products, they just screw them up.

So its nice and I for one think admirable, that craigslist has veered hardcore the other direction. Only changing things when absolutely positively, 100% necessary for most users.

And I use craigslist every single day. You may want to try making some RSS feeds if you are having trouble with search. Then you can be really specific with keywords and let the computer do the legwork for you.

Re:Craigslist is Crap (1)

neminem (561346) | about 2 years ago | (#40946277)

Really? Being able to say "I want to live in Long Beach, stop frelling giving me apartments for rent 3 cities over" is a frill? Craigslist sucks royal donkey balls for searching for apartments; I would know, I recently tried using it for that. There are loads of posts that don't even say where the apartment is. That should be pretty much mandatory if you're posting an apartment for rent.

craiglist (-1, Offtopic)

gigilpx (2704863) | about 2 years ago | (#40940813)

By the way craiglist is full of scam people . everything is so bad there Italian food [healthy-foodrecipes.com]

Re:craiglist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40940857)

Are you that stupid? Slashdot uses no-follow links, and your link will not count at all towards your SEO ranking.

A Unique Time in the History of Knowledge (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | about 2 years ago | (#40940889)

As the Internet makes information easier to deliver, the traditional publishers struggle to deal with the separation of content and distribution. This transition is still unsettled because the shift from delivery to filtering is not complete. Someday, we will be able to access almost all data, and the trick will be to find the relevant information. There will be a lot of money made by successfully editing the world's knowledge. Until that model evolves, we are stuck with problems such as this.

It is wiser to know only what you need to know when you need to know it than to try to know everything.

Other Sites That Feed off CL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40941279)

I wonder how this affects the rights of other sites that feed of Craig's List. They probably did this because of other sites that map listings or otherwise re-display the posts.

Re:Other Sites That Feed off CL (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 2 years ago | (#40942009)

I think that the real problem CL sees is the risk of sites harvesting ads and displaying them as their own in order to catch some Google searches to their sites and in turn make money of ads for Viagra etc.

The dilemma with the model that they had was more that the person placing the ad couldn't place the same ad somewhere else too.

Craig Wishes (2)

NynexNinja (379583) | about 2 years ago | (#40941657)

Craigslist could only wish that people who use their site use it because they want Craig Newmark to exclusively own the rights to their postings... People don't use craigslist because they want craigslist to own the content, they do it to sell something. If it isn't craigslist, it is one of the other 500 sites that do the same thing. I think most people who stop using that site if they thought for one second that what they are submitting is not under their control.

Re:Craig Wishes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40946519)

Craig Newmark stepped back and let others run the company a very, very long time ago. He's about as involved with the day-to-day at CL as Steve Wozniak is at Apple.

what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40941907)

"would have harmed both innovation and users’ rights"

No it wouldn't have.

Indeed, Agrees about it, but Dislikes for surely.. (1)

Furniture Jepara (2700751) | about 2 years ago | (#40941971)

Somehow, In My opinion, this exclusive license is really damn superb for filtering much more responsible contents that we would post there, but...would that be also very supportive as it is meant to be expressive to any ideas and talks? ...I don't think people can easily devote their own thoughts if they already know that the limitations on same cases of writing will be beyond their reasonable minds.....Agree BUT Dislike...????? hhhmmmm....then let me just write on my own website Furniture Jepara [tokojepara.com] ...and I WOULD REALLY FEEL FREE.....cheerrsss.....

Posting only to CL is a feature EFF just killed (1)

gig (78408) | about 2 years ago | (#40942109)

I understand that EFF is filled with self-righteous nerds whose purpose it is to police Nerd Dogma like a priesthood, but what if I only wanted to share my post with the community where I posted it? What if I don't want my ad read outside of my city? CL was protecting their community. WE FUCKING KNOW HOW TO POST TO FACEBOOK OR GOOGLE IF WE WANT THAT. Can't a community setup a bulletin board without being fucking raped by advertisers who are being enabled by self-righteous nerds?

It is typical Nerd Blindness: Nerd Solutions for everyone, even though that is not what everyone wants. Also, US-centric baby political thinking about how the rights of a fucking advertiser are being infringed.

EFF can have the best intentions in the world and they will still do wrong half the time because they are an insular little homogenous group of nerds with no idea about how the world really works outside a computer and no humility, so they don't even recognize that.

Start your own community and invite people to post if you want the posts shared broadly. For years, we are posting to CL expecting it to be published only on CL. Sorry, nerds, if that fucks up your $100,000 per year job coding for an advertiser, you fucking hypocrites.

Re:Posting only to CL is a feature EFF just killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40945059)

You and Geekioid should get a room. Assuming you don't have one already.

Re:Posting only to CL is a feature EFF just killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40945965)

Just because you don't like his statements no less makes his argument valid. The OP pretty much hit the nail on the issue even though /. feels Craigslist was trying to something tricky no less refutes that other sites shouldn't be allowed to use your posts to have search engines trick you into going to other websites.

Re:Posting only to CL is a feature EFF just killed (2)

g1zmo (315166) | about 2 years ago | (#40947853)

what if I only wanted to share my post with the community where I posted it? What if I don't want my ad read outside of my city?

Then maybe the Internet isn't the most appropriate forum for your post?

I have nothing meaningful to say but... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40944143)

For what it's worth, Craigslist really is a marvel of the modern age. We rarely see something so useful to so many people with so little bullshit in this day and age.

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