the aggregation site that has been battling Craigslist for the right to capture data from Craigslist and incorporate it into 3Taps’ larger database, today said it would continue compiling information from Craigslist indirectly.
A federal court judge ruled on Friday that 3Taps could be prohibited from accessing Craigslist through its own servers, under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
“3Taps can continue to function because directly accessing (Craigslist’s) servers is only one of three ways in which the information in question can be obtained. The other two, crowdsourcing and public search results, require no such access to Craigslist’s servers,” the company said in a statement at 3Taps.com. 3Taps said it “respect[s] the court’s ruling … and will immediately cease all access to Craigslist’s servers.”
The company said Congress should “clarify the scope of the CFAA so that companies like Craigslist cannot use it as a tool to stifle competition, innovation and access to public websites.”
3Taps said Craigslist was using “an anticompetitive scheme to maintain its dominant positions in various online classified ad segments. Among other tactics, Craigslist threatens small, upstart competitors with baseless and exhaustive litigation to drive them out of business before the underlying substantive legal issues even can be addressed.”
(We’ve asked Craigslist for comment; no reply yet. We’ll update this post if we hear from them.)
The Electronic Frontier Foundation yesterday described the ruling as “narrow” and said it affirmed the right of individuals to view a publicly accessible website unless they have been served with notice to stop visiting the site, but said the use of IP blocking and cease-and-desist notices to keep people from viewing otherwise openly accessible websites sites could lead to “the potential for mischief … especially if [it] is done for arbitrary reasons.”