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PadMapper Gets C&D From Craigslist Over Apartment Listing Maps 140

Posted by timothy
from the too-bad-smart-service dept.
First time accepted submitter Autumnmist writes "Craigslist has sent a Cease and Desist to PadMapper, a site that does a mashup of Craigslist (as well as Rent.com, Apartments.com) apartment listings and Google Maps. Craigslist is great, but apartment hunting through Craigslist has always been a needle in a haystack proposition, because all apartments for an entire city area are shown in a giant list. PadMapper made Craigslist better by locating each listing on a Google Map of the area. From PadMapper: 'I recently received a Cease and Desist letter from Craigslist, and wasn't able to get a meeting or convince Craigslist's lawyer that PadMapper was beneficial to Craigslist and apartment hunters in general. They allow mobile apps to display their listings if you buy a license from them, but not websites."
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PadMapper Gets C&D From Craigslist Over Apartment Listing Maps

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  • by t4ng* (1092951) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @01:22PM (#40421859)
    HousingMaps.com [housingmaps.com] has been doing this for something like 5 years. I'm sure there are probably others like it too.
    • Maybe they did send a C & D to Housingmaps.com, but Housingmaps lawyer's told Craigslist to STFU. I don't think Craigslist has legal standing to stop others from doing similar things.

      • by beelsebob (529313)

        Of course they do, the data on craigslist in © craigslist, they can tell you anything about what you do with it.

        • Data is not copyrightable. The organization, and presentation of data can be copyrighted, and in some instances, the complete collection data can be. If PadMapper is simply pulling key data and rearranging it into a searchable database, CL has a difficult, and likely untenable, claim.

          IANAL

          • by Mabhatter (126906)

            Craig's list surely is copyright able. Precisely because it constantly changes. Also Congress specifically included "database run sites" under copyright a few years back. Hence one slashdot post would be fair use, but the collection has its own copyright because somebody has to maintain it. Sports stats, musc charts, etc it's all affirmed to be locked down.

            • But they're not copying the site, nor even a major portion of it. They're extracting certain data and making it searchable, much like google and other search engines do, only they're taking only a specific subset of the data.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                And there is no right for Google to do so. That's why you can exclude the Google crawler from your site and sue them if they don't comply.

        • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @04:02PM (#40422865)

          "Of course they do, the data on craigslist in © craigslist, they can tell you anything about what you do with it."

          No, you are quite wrong.

          As recently re-affirmed by the Federal Supreme Court, what is considered "tabular data" is not copyrightable.

          There was a case a few years ago, in which a small-town telephone directory company saw a big-name telephone directory company come to town and take over their business.

          Due to economies of scale, the smaller company could not compete on a cost basis. So what they did, was just use information from the bigger company in their own listings. The bigger company sued.

          Although this was already an established legal principle, it went all the way to the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court re-affirmed: if it's FACTUAL DATA -- such as names, addresses, phone numberes, real-estate listings, etc. -- it is not covered by copyright and can be used and reproduced by anybody.

          The lesson to be learned here is that you don't want to spend a fortune tabulating data, unless your business model takes into account that if you publish it, others will use it too.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947)

            No, you are quite wrong.

            The fact that there is an argument about this is proof that the system is broken.

            What is "factual data"? What is "tabular data"? Is it factual to say that the chords to a famous song are C, F, G? Is it factual to say that there is a whole note of A followed by a half note of C# followed by...? How granular can those "facts" be before they comprise the actual song? The completely broken music publishing industry is an example of how this issue can become such a mess that the co

            • What is "factual data"?

              It is actually fairly well-defined by the courts. While I do not pretend this is verbatim (I could look it up but I have other things to do), it is something like:

              "Factual data" consists of facts that anyone could discover on their own given due diligence, with no judgment, interpretation, or other value added by the author. Typically this consists of physical data, or public information about individuals or things."

              That is not exact, I promise. But they do have a pretty clear, and even reasonable, de

              • by PopeRatzo (965947)

                "Factual data" consists of facts that anyone could discover on their own given due diligence, with no judgment, interpretation, or other value added by the author.

                OK, so your definition (or I should say, "the courts definition") means that sheet music is factual data.

                I could come up with a perfect transcription of a piece of music from a recording and reproduce it as sheet music. However, if I tried to share that sheet music on the internet, I would be sued, and I would lose. But I guess the original com

                • OK, so your definition (or I should say, "the courts definition") means that sheet music is factual data.

                  So what if is is? Sheet music (and other forms of music) is specifically covered by copyright legislation. Your slasdottish creative interpretation of a law you haven't even read doesn't take priority over legislation that refers specifically to copyright on musical works.

                  Really, asking rhetorical questions about a law you've never read just because a slashdot article mentions it, and trying to use that as an argument against IP? How utterly specious.

                  • by PopeRatzo (965947)

                    Really, asking rhetorical questions about a law you've never read just because a slashdot article mentions it

                    I didn't ask my stupid questions because the slashdot article mentioned something, but because the parent commenter mentioned it.

                    I say this as someone who made his living for his entire professional life (and still has income from) his "intellectual property": It's a bad system, and the more that is done to try to prop it up with increasingly draconian laws and enforcement, the worse it will be for

                • However, if I tried to share that sheet music on the internet, I would be sued, and I would lose.

                  Maybe. In practice, guitar tab (a form of sheet music, really) sites have proliferated like rabbits since Harry Fox smashed OLGA with legal threats, and AFAIK the question of whether posting one's own by-ear transcription of a song is fair use has never been taken to court.

                  • by PopeRatzo (965947)

                    Maybe. In practice, guitar tab (a form of sheet music, really) sites have proliferated like rabbits since Harry Fox smashed OLGA with legal threats, and AFAIK the question of whether posting one's own by-ear transcription of a song is fair use has never been taken to court.

                    Good point. And wikifonia stays up (though it seems under attack).

                    But the question is are lead sheets and fake books the same as fully-arranged sheet music?

                • by jthill (303417)
                  "Particular selection and arrangement". Notes can't be copyrighted. Particular selections and arrangements can be. Same with words, addresses, topographical data, what not. The selection and arrangement can't be mechanical, if there are parts that are, those parts can't be copyrighted either.
                  • by PopeRatzo (965947)

                    Particular selections and arrangements can be.

                    So how can guitar tablature of songs (for example) be OK, but a lead sheet might not?

                    It's kind of confusing, which I guess is the point, because it allows for scary lawyer letters to have their desired effect.

                    I've gotten takedown notices for music that I composed and recorded and for which I owned all of the rights. And the international website (one of the biggest) complied with the takedown notice even though I provided sufficient proof of my ownership. Bec

                • Sheet music is not something you can "discover", it is something you can "create". Factual data is something that is the same no matter how you express it.

                  Take the following made-up-by-me copyrightable housing listing:
                  "I am selling my green 2-bathroom house on 12345 main street for $500,000".

                  If you were to copy-paste that onto another website, I (or slashdot if I had agreed to give them copyright) could sue you. If you extracted the DATA into a database (or some other data storage system like this:
              • by Mabhatter (126906)

                Want ads posted Daily clearly wouldn't qualify as "just facts" if all you did was skim them from a site.

      • by Fnord666 (889225)

        I don't think Craigslist has legal standing to stop others from doing similar things.

        Of course they do. The C&D says that PadMapper has violated Craigslist's terms of service and must therefore stop using Craigslist immediately. That is well within their right to do if they so choose. This is just about what Craigslist says you can and cannot do with the data they provide through their service. If you don't abide by that then Craigslist can say to GTFO.

    • by rgbrenner (317308) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @02:01PM (#40422079)

      Did you try using the two sites. HousingMaps has a link to craigslist on the front page, and when you click on a listing, it goes to craigslist.

      PadMapper has no links to craigslist, and when you click on a listing, they display the listing on their own site without (as far as I can tell) even a mention of where it came from.

      Go to a site, scrape everything and present it as your own? Enjoy the C&D.

      Seriously, it looks like PadMapper deserved it.

      • by rgbrenner (317308) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @02:06PM (#40422101)

        I take part of my post back.. they do show the listing in a frame.. so if they had Craigslist's listing on there, it should be clear they are from craigslist

      • by t4ng* (1092951)

        PadMapper looks pretty much the same as HousingMaps, except that PM is connected to more rental sites than just CL. You click on a link and an overview of the listing is shown is a DIV along with a link to the original listing.

        I think rollingcalf has it right. PM just caved. There is little difference between what PM and HM are doing and what any blogger does when they summarize an article from another web site and post a link to the original. Craig's List has no legal standing.

      • Cancelling out my mod point.

        Padmapper makes it pretty clear who's ad they are showing.
      • by rgbrenner (317308)

        Found something else interesting too: A lot of PadMappers links are to PadLister, a competitor for Craigslist. The about page says:

        PadLister is the side of PadMapper that serves landlords and brokers. It aims to make it easier and less painful to find great tenants for your rental vacancies. It does this in a few ways.

        So not only are they displaying craigslist listings on a frame to keep visitors on the padmapper site, they are also a competitor.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cdecoro (882384)

        Unfortunately, HousingMaps doesn't work. If you compare the listings on HM vs those on CL, you will see that HM has only a small, and unclearly-defined, subset of those. In otherwords, it has a bug, and doesn't pull out all the listings. Moreover, it has very limited options for searching, and divides up filters by bizarre factors (for example, I can look for apartments under $750, or between $500 and $1000, but not under $1000.

        Unlike PadMapper, which was a site that actually tried to maintain a useful prod

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm tired of people doing stuff for free. If you want to do something, you should have to pay for it.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Well, had you bothered to read before posting you'd notice that they would pay, if they were allowed to.

    • Normally I'm in agreement with this sentiment. But in this case Craigslist is asking its users to post its content. So why should *MY* posting be copyrighted by craigslist? I want to sell/rent my shit--whoever wants to scrape my listing and repost it is more than welcome.

    • by mark-t (151149)
      So... just how much do you pay each month to breathe air?
  • Why bother? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SlowTurtle (1031756) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @01:25PM (#40421867)
    Not only is this a major bummer for me, as I love using PadMapper, I don't see why craigslist would do this. Not only did it make craigslist apartment listings actually usable, but it must be driving a fair amount of traffic to them as well. Perhaps if craigslist was about to launch something similar I could understand, but I think we all know that is not going to happen.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The more people using Craigslist the worse craigslist will abuse it's market share.
    No doubt if Craigslist was some how paid before hand, they wouldn't care to send their sharks.

    Best advice, people should convince their friends to stop using Craigslist and start using something else.

    • The more people using Craigslist the worse craigslist will abuse it's market share. No doubt if Craigslist was some how paid before hand, they wouldn't care to send their sharks.

      Best advice, people should convince their friends to stop using Craigslist and start using something else.

      I fully agree. Know how many times in my life I have looked at Craigslist? Once. Just out of curiosity to see what it looks like. I cannot believe that for a large number of people it is the only site they look at if they want to buy something. My favorites are the people who believe that they simply cannot get cheated on Craigslist and then when they do, they act completely stunned as if such was completely impossible to happen.

  • Why is craigslist still stuck in the 80's with their user interface?

    • by Ossifer (703813) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @01:41PM (#40421945)

      Yeah, why don't they have seven different competing nav bars and three layers of epilepsy-triggering flash ads?

      The plain text UI is *exactly* why CL is popular.

      • Allow me to politely disagree. CL is popular for apartments because that's where the broker's list. It is a horrible search UI (want to find a place with a washer and dryer? There's no way to specify it is in the apartment, so you end up with listings with shared washer dryer's, washer dryer's on the same block, etc). Brokers in NYC regularly abuse the system, posting falsely under "by owner" and often hiding the broker fee they want to charge. (Even the broker fee disclosure varies significantly, from 1 mo
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why is craigslist still stuck in the 80's with their user interface?

      Who says ?

      Just because everyone else has to use every single latest scripting language, technique, eye-candy, whatever doesn't mean it is actually useful.

      I can't tell you how many times I've tried clinking on a navigation link only to have some whiz-bangy thingy pop-up and block my mouse click - yeah no matter how you maneuvered your mouse, it triggered the pop-up and you were somewhere you didn't want to be.

      It's the typical thing that developers fall into time and time again: there's a language or platform

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      You can get all the functionality you ever wanted except distance search by using user javascript. I am using Craigslist Fusion [userscripts.org] to get more functionality. It's still not pretty but it sings and dances. I only use it on my multicore desktop, though, not on my subnotebooks.

      With that said, I really want distance search, and craigslist is actually designed to prevent it. The theory is that it will encourage local shopping. But if what I want isn't available here, then I'm still going to want to go get it from s

  • by SecurityTheatre (2427858) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @01:39PM (#40421935)

    Padmapper is the first site I've ever seen that makes apartment hunting on Craigslist actually useful!!!!

    WTF?!?

    I'm looking for a house in a specific neighbourhood and it's absolutely impossible to do via Craigslist directly!!! If Craig offered a map, I would at least understand why they might issue a C&D, but seriously...

    Padmapper links directly into craigslist and displays the full-screen whenever you click on the listing. It's not like they're aggressively scraping content! It's just a searching service.

    This is terrible, Craigslist!! Terrible!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Your relatively high ID and excessive use of exclamation marks would have me thinking you're shill, but you're right about craiglist being a bitch to use for apartment hunting.

      In the cities I've lived, craigslist is the only legitimate option for finding an apartment and yet it has absolutely no facility for geographic searching other than hoping the agents use neighborhood or area names in their listings -- and of course, plenty of agents use popular neighborhoods in their listing to generate hits

      • by Raenex (947668)

        Craigslist is the quintessential "worse is better" [wikipedia.org] website. It's awful and underfeatured in so many ways, yet at its core it is usable and people flock to it.

    • I'm looking for a house in a specific neighbourhood and it's absolutely impossible to do via Craigslist directly!!! If Craig offered a map, I would at least understand why they might issue a C&D, but seriously...

      In the past year used CL to find a new apartment within a 1/2 square mile area of a specific neighborhood of a major metropolitan area.

      When apartment ads are filled out properly, there's a direct link to both a google map and a yahoo map for the specific ad. It's trivial to create your own customized neighborhood map using these links. Those that disregard the provided map links are usually agency redirect spam posts. HOWEVER, sometimes they're from people who just filled it out improperly, or not at all.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @02:19PM (#40422205)

    It's unfortunate that Craigslist is the most popular wanted-ads site on the Internet, since they insist on remaining stuck in the past, and making it as hard as possible for people to access their content.

    Their obsession with "localism" and consistent refusal to implement an all-aread search feature (and consistent breaking of third-party sites which do this) is especially problematic. I collect electric fans from the 1980s, which often don't show up on eBay because people don't think they are worth anything, but commonly appear on Craigslist. An all-areas search would be extremely helpful, but every time one appears, Craigslist either threatens them or does something on their site to break it. If someone doesn't want to ship (I usually offer them extra money in addition to the actual shipping costs if they are willing to do so), that's fine, but it should be their choice, not Craigslist's.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Mod parent up!

      "Localism" benefit NO ONE.

    • "It's unfortunate that Craigslist is the most popular wanted-ads site on the Internet, since they insist on remaining stuck in the past, and making it as hard as possible for people to access their content."

      Others here have said the same thing, and it is difficult for me to express just how ridiculous this point of view is.

      Craiglslist is a "classified ad" service. Nothing more. You don't have a search function in your newspaper. Neither do you have much of one on Craigslist.

      Accept it for what it is, or don't use it. Do you have ANY idea how much trouble it would be for the Craigslist people to add specific data fields, and search functions on them? I do, since that's what I do for a living.

      If you want

    • Yep. They broke http://crazedlist.org/ [crazedlist.org] but http://searchtempest.com/ [searchtempest.com] appears to still work although it is only pulling in results from the last 7 days.
  • This is total fucking bullshit, CL hasn't evolved in it's basic user interaction since it began. PadMapper makes their service useful!
  • by mr.dreadful (758768) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @02:55PM (#40422405)

    I'm always amused when I see people, mostly web professionals, bitch about CraigsList.

    The VC and bizdev types hate CL because "CL is just leaving money on the table. They need to understand how to make a profit."

    Webdevs hate them because CL doesn't adopt whatever new design trend comes along, therefore CL "doesn't get UX", or webdevs hate them because of situations like this, where some webdev can't build his business off of someone else's platform.

    This, compadres, is why you don't take your business public. CL has a staff of less then 20 people, they make plenty of bank while at the same time staying true to their own ethos, whether you agree or not. And the consumers seem to be coming back over and over. And yes, I have heard many people say that this is because CL has been around so long, that they are the 500 lb Gorilla that will never be moved. Uhh, are we on the same Internet? Tell that to Yahoo, MySpace, etc etc.

    Here's a Wired article from 2009 that covers the exact topic of CL and site scraping. Maybe PadMapper should have read it first.

    Wired Interview with Craig Newmark [wired.com]

    • I'm always amused when I see people, mostly web professionals, bitch about CraigsList.

      No, users bitch about Craigslist, because their site lacks distance search, and users want it. And yes, I know this is deliberate, and no, I don't agree that it makes sense. And therefore, if they won't permit scraping, they're assholes and I wish they would go the fuck away so that someone who will do a more functional site has a chance to get enough users to make it worthwhile.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No location based search REALLY doesn't make sense for apartments, as that is by far and away the most important attribute of a place.

        Hopefully this will result in people moving away from craigslist, and posting directly on padlister.com (padmappers own listing)

      • Um... I hate to tell you this, but ANYBODY is free to create a similar website, with any business model behind it that they want.

        Your argument doesn't hold water, because nobody else has built anything that beats them. Therefore, by simple logic, CL *is* what people want.

        Build it better, make a fortune. Nobody is stopping you. Until then, quitcher bitchin'.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          ANYBODY is free to create a similar website

          Great. How do you propose that they convince people to use their similar website now that craigslist has become a household word, and when people generally go straight there rather than trying to google for items in their area? Nine times out of ten if I see something interesting by googling craigslist the listing is already deleted by author by the time I get there, so search engines are no help anyway.

        • Eh, I don't really agree. For certain types of sites, having an existing community and userbase is a massive boost, and overcoming that is very difficult for a new player in the area. A new site could come along with all the features I could want in a listings-site, but I would probably still use Craigslist (despite all of the irritations it comes with) for selling something, because the larger user-base of Craigslist means I'm more likely to get the most money off my sale.
      • Great, then CL is ready for disruption. I'm not saying that CL is awesome, I'm saying this is why you don't take your company public. You can do whatever you want. And if the CL audience is as sick of CL as you and others claim, then it's time for someone to start typing.
      • by alexo (9335)

        Try kijiji

    • well, maybe Craigslist is awesome where you live. But here in Los Angeles, and probably in most of the big cities, Craigslist sucks donkey dick due to spam and scammer posts.

      I'm looking at the Los Angeles apartment/housing section now, and it's about 70% spam, 15% scammer (con artist) and 15% legitimate posts.

      Now the sections that they require payment to post ads - such as jobs - are fine and spam free. But for much of CL, trying to find something is a royal pain in the ass. Makes you wonder why they don't

  • They shut down CraigZoom a few months back. It was a great aggregation site that made it possible to do multi-region searches. As far as I know, it's not possible with CraigsList, so essentially they eliminated a feature.

  • One of the things we need in the US is mandatory licensing and a commission that determines fair prices.

    Fair use isn't just about usable free stuff. All too often businesses will horde information and IP at unreasonable prices. Information which in the public interest should be available at a reasonable price.

    The public gives IP rights holders it's so called "right". The public does this theoretically because it's in the public's own best interest to promote things such as science, literature and art. But t

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