Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

New Terms of Use for Craigslist

When I logged into my Craigslist account today I had to agree to the new terms of use before proceeding. There were a couple of things that caught my eye. I’m not sure if they were already in the terms of use or not but they are worth reviewing. 

From the Craigslist Terms of Use as of January 2018. Note the terms may change from what I am quoting below.

DISCLAIMER – I am not a lawyer so my interpretation of the legalese here may be wrong.

Display of Craigslist data

You agree not to display, “frame,” make derivative works, distribute, license, or sell, content from CL, excluding postings you create. You grant us a perpetual, irrevocable, unlimited, worldwide, fully paid/sublicensable license to use, copy, display, distribute, and make derivative works from content you post.


As I interpret this, if I was posting on craigslist and wanted to pull those ads into a website or feed, then I cannot do that. 

I would think that if you see a weird Craigslist and put a copy of that in your blog, you would probably be in violation of the TOU. 

The other issue here is that you seem to be handing over rights to anything you post on CL. I don’t think that would affect most people or posts but it is something to keep in mind. 

Scraping the list

Unless licensed by us in a written agreement, you agree not to use or provide software (except general purpose web browsers and email clients) or services that interact or interoperate with CL, e.g. for downloading, uploading, creating/accessing/using an account, posting, flagging, emailing, searching, or mobile use. You agree not to copy/collect CL content via robots, spiders, scripts, scrapers, crawlers, or any automated or manual equivalent (e.g., by hand)

In other words, if you are using an app or site that gathers Craigslist ads for you then you want to reconsider that.  The last sentence is puzzling. What I think they mean would be to use an offshore shop to comb through CL.

Damages

The damages section lists amounts for a large number of infractions. For example

(K) aggregating, displaying, copying, duplicating, reproducing, distributing, or exploiting CL content for any purpose without our express written consent – $3,000 for each day you engage in such violations; (L) requesting, viewing, or accessing more than 1,000 pages of CL in any 24-hour period – $0.25 per page during the 24 hour period after the first 1,000 pages

I believe that these damage amounts are geared toward the large scale abusers. I don’t see an average user accessing more than 1000 pages in a day.

Summary

What I am taking away from this is:

 

  • The average individual or business probably won’t be affected.
  • Don’t use any third party app or service for CL unless you are sure that they are properly licensed with CL.
  • Be extremely careful to only make contact via CL within a strict interpretation of the CL TOU.

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