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Craigslist comes to its senses, drops exclusivity terms for postings

 craigslist symbolFor the last month, Craigslist has been tussling with outside applications and their use of its content. After yanking content from PadMapper and then issuing a complaint against the apartment hunting service, as well as Craigslist API provider 3taps, the site went ahead and added an exclusivity clause to its posting page that gave Craigslist sole license to your data.

Today, the Electronic Frontier Federation announced that Craigslist has dropped the clause. “It was important for Craigslist to remove the provision because claiming an exclusive license to the user’s posts – to the exclusion of everyone, including the original poster – would have harmed both innovation and the users’ rights, and would have set a terrible precedent,” the organization says. The EFF, where Craigslist founder Craig Newmark serves on the Advisory Board, met with the company to dissuade them from keeping the content exclusivity terms.

It’s a small coup for the many outside developers who have been frustrated by Craigslist’s incredibly closed strategy. The site is still not allowing search engines to index its listings, and by all accounts still pursuing legal action against the Internet’s beloved PadMapper and its ally 3taps, but at least users can rest easy knowing they won’t be forced into agreeing to exclusively give craigslist ther content.. As EFF mentions, founder Craig Newmark has been incredibly active fighting for users’ Internet rights, as well as using the Web as a means to solve larger problems with his craigconnects organization. In general, he seems like he’s one of the good guys.

Of course, despite the site’s name, Newmark’s own involvement in higher-level decision-making at Craigslist is far less than you’d think. He mostly works in customer service for Craigslist these days, so his own personal ideals shouldn’t necessarily reflect the company’s business tactics. Which, even as it drops the exclusivity terms, are making Craigslist look like a data-hungry bully. 

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