Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Craigslist Terms of Use: What's Up?

Dear Rich: I read your post about using Craigslist ads. Do you have any comments on the Craigslist Terms of Use as it has been updated Feb 14th 2012, after the date of your post? I believe the distinction between individual posts and cumulative content has been removed. I am particularly interested in exploring if I can manually aggregate interesting cars for sale on cragslist and repost them in my blog with a direct and visible reference back to the Craigslist posting. I am also hoping that I can reuse some of the pictures in those posts provided I clearly credit everything back to the original post. Is that ok to do? I am of two minds whether I run my blog commercially (would prefer) or non-commercially. Specifically because the new terms provide an exemption for non-commercial public archives I believe I could repost non-commercially. But what if I had adjunct commercial activity (like links to an Amazon store) but not inline with the purchase or sale of the product from Craigslist. Thanks for letting us know about the change in Terms of Use for Craigslist. The main rules, however, remain the same:
Any copying, aggregation, display, distribution, performance or derivative use of craigslist or any content posted on craigslist whether done directly or through intermediaries (including but not limited to by means of spiders, robots, crawlers, scrapers, framing, iframes or RSS feeds) is prohibited.
It's true that a limited exception is provided for "noncommercial public archives" but we don't think that a blog about cars for sale qualifies as a public archive. (We think Craigslist is referring to archives such as the Way Back Machine.)

We also note that under these new terms of use, users authorize Craigslist (CL) as follows:
You also expressly grant and assign to CL all rights and causes of action to prohibit and enforce against any unauthorized copying, performance, display, distribution, use or exploitation of, or creation of derivative works from, any content that you post (including but not limited to any unauthorized downloading, extraction, harvesting, collection or aggregation of content that you post).
In other words, when individual posts are ripped off, the poster gives CL the right to go after the culprit. That raises the ante knowing that CL's lawyers can also chase you if they're inclined. Finally, reposting of the automobile photos may or may not amount to a separate claim of copyright infringement by whoever owns the copyright in those photos. That depends on a few factors, including how much originality went into the photo or whether it's simply a stock reproduction of the auto.