Craigslist Allowed to Sue App Developer Over Data Use

Craigslist can sue platform developer 3Taps Inc. for gaining unauthorized access to its website, though it can’t pursue copyright-infringement claims against the company for copying user posts, a judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco today denied 3Taps’ request to throw out claims by Craigslist, the free online classified-advertising service, that it violated the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other laws. He did dismiss copyright claims against 3Taps involving user-created posts, saying that except for a two-week period last year, Craigslist’s terms of use didn’t grant it an exclusive license over user postings.

“3Taps is quite pleased that the court dismissed the core of Craigslist’s copyright infringement claims, confirming that Craigslist had no legal basis to originally sue 3Taps or threaten similar actions against other innovators on the ground that Craigslist exclusively owns user-created content,” 3Taps Chief Executive Officer Greg Kidd said in an e-mail.

Christopher Kao, a lawyer for Craigslist, didn’t return an e-mail seeking comment on the ruling.

On its website, 3Taps calls itself a “data harvesting platform dedicated to keeping public facts publicly accessible.” The company collects, organizes and distributes data for developer use.

Craigslist, based in San Francisco, sued 3Taps last year, alleging it copied content posted on the website in real time in violation of computer fraud, copyright and trademark law.

3Taps countersued, alleging Craigslist’s conduct violates antitrust laws. Breyer granted Craigslist’s request to put those claims on hold pending the outcome of its claims.

The case is Craigslist Inc. v. 3Taps Inc., 12-cv-03816, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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