Petition Closed
Petitioning Founder Craig Newmark

Craig Newmark: Craigslist Should Renounce Its Stranglehold On User Content


850
Supporters

In its terms of use, Craigslist claims that its users do not have the right to copy a post from its website. In doing so, the user may be subject of up to a $25,000 fine.

This type of provision raises questions of IP law, Constitutional law, public policy and potential adverse consequences to Internet law. Further it explores the attempt by large corporations to own you and what you own.

It seems that Craigslist attempts to justify their actions in the name of the user, however it is in fact users that are being harmed when they are stripped of their rights. As the 9th largest website in the United States, we believe that Craigslist should help create a future we would want to live in.

Kurt Opsahl of the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "Craigslist has veered from the path to a free and open Internet into a dark passage of walls, locks, and criminal prosecutions. We should not have a future in which (website) terms of use can be used to put people in jail, nor a future in which websites own the content posted by the users. We don't want a future where Craigslist can sue you for distributing your own band flyer by hand, just because you posted it on Craigslist."

Why is Craigslist Doing This?

We are convinced that Craigslist is engaging in anticompetitive business practices by using the pretext of breach of contract as a way to divest a copyright holder of his or her exclusive rights of copyright. In blocking users from promoting their own posts on any other website, Craigslist is attempting to weaken their competitors and maintain its dominance.

As Forbes writes, “Craigslist's latest moves show it cares more about its market position than delivering value to its users.”

We know first hand. Craigslist has accused Krrb of inducing Craigslist users to violate Craigslist terms of use via our Krrb It button. This feature enables a registered user of Krrb to copy FACTUAL information from their OWN Craigslist posts to Krrb, using publicly available information, and displayed in a way that is unique to Krrb. 

To learn more, read our Open Letter to Craig Newmark.

We ask that you sign this petition to urge Craigslist to change their policies, but also to support Krrb and many other fledgling startups trying to innovate and build an honest business without threat of litigation.

Letter to
Founder Craig Newmark
Dear Mr. Newmark

We respectfully and urgently request that Craigslist renounce its stranglehold on user content and embrace the free flow of public information.

For starters, we kindly ask that you remove any provision in Craigslist terms of use that attempts to divest a copyright holder of his or her exclusive rights of copyright. At minimum, a Craigslist user should have the right to copy their own content from Craigslist using any tool or web service of their choosing.

However, we hope you will go further than that and abandon your seemingly anticompetitive business strategy, which comes at the expense of your users and their desire to sell their stuff.