Thursday, April 29, 2010

Craigslist awarded $1.3 million judgment in copyright infringement case

Last week, Craigslist sent a clear message to sites offering third-party posting software., owned by one Igor Gasov, had been offering customers the ability to post (including multiple postings) and manage ads on Craigslist. Craigslist sued them for copyright infringement, referencing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and trademark law. The defendants didn’t contest, and Craigslist was awarded a $1.3 million judgment.

In the past, other companies have offered Craigslist posting software, but Powerpostings took it too far. They also offered listing agents, who would post ads for customers, and they used false email addresses on Craigslist. No doubt there were several violations of Craigslist’s terms of use, in addition to the alleged trademark and copyright violations. Because Powerpostings didn’t appear in court, Craigslist didn’t have to prove anything. Craislist would have had to prove they registered parts of their Web site, and that Powerpostings copied those parts, for copyright infringement to have taken place. But considering all the allegations against them, it was probably a smart move for Powerpostings to accept a lesson learned the hard way.