Craigslist gets rid of ‘exclusive license’ clause for listings

Craigslist took out the “exclusive license” clause in its terms of use today, which would have prevented users from listing their items on any other services.

The company made the agreement after meeting with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that aims to defend people’s rights on the Internet.

“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,” said EFF senior staff attorney Kurt Opsahl in a blog post.

Last week, Craiglist started prompting users with a message stating, “Clicking ‘continue’ confirms that Craigslist is the exclusive licensee of this content, with the exclusive right to enforce copyrights against anyone copying, republishing, distributing, or preparing derivative works without its consent.”

This would have transferred the ownership of the post from the creator to Craigslist. The decision is more than likely tied in with a lawsuit Craiglist is waging against PadMapper and 3taps. PadMapper is an apartment search website that takes apartment listings from a number of different sources and overlays that data on a Google Map. Craigslist effectively told PadMapper to get off its lawn and stop using its data, which PadMapper did for awhile, until founder (and sole employee) Eric DeMenthon decided the extra time his users had to spend looking for an apartment was not worth excluding Craiglist from his results. So, he teamed up with 3taps, which supplies an application programming interface (API) of Craigslist’s information.

“For many years, Craigslist has been a good digital citizen,” said Opsahl, “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.”

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