Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Mashery Is the Latest to Be Snared by Craigslist’s Copyright Crusade

First, Craigslist went after PadMapper for arranging its apartment rental listings on a map; then, when the start-up shifted to data supplier 3Taps, Craigslist sued them both for copyright infringement (3Taps subsequently countersued for anticompetitive business practices).

Now, Craiglist has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Mashery, the API platform that had helped 3Taps serve customers like PadMapper.

In response to the notice from Craigslist, Mashery on Friday dropped support for 3Taps. 3Taps CEO Greg Kidd said his company is now handling its API services manually, without the help of Mashery infrastructure.

In a conversation today, Mashery CEO Oren Michels said he wasn’t necessarily taking sides. “I’m not a copyright lawyer,” he said. But he added, “This concept of asserting copyright on facts is a tough business.”

Kidd is speaking at a Mashery conference tomorrow with the loaded session title, “Looting the Public Domain of the Open Web.” Michels said he invited Craigslist to present, as well, but they didn’t respond.

For once (!), Craigslist actually got back to one of my requests for comment today, but only to say it had no statement at this time.

Meanwhile, PadMapper received a court extension to respond to the Craigslist lawsuit.

Kidd said that while 3Taps’ legal battle with Craiglist is ongoing, the company has pared down its business to serving the two apartment search companies mentioned in its filing, PadMapper and Lovely. “We’ll bring a few other services up shortly again that are under our legal banner once things stabilize in the back office,” he said.

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle