Since an online aggregator intentionally circumvented blocking technology a Judge ruled that the aggregator’s copying Craigslist’s content violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). In Craigslist’s copyright infringement suit against 3Taps Computerworld reported that:
…3Taps admitted that it intentionally circumvented the blocking. But in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, 3Taps noted that Craigslist, by making its website publicly available, had essentially authorized the entire Internet to access and use its content.
US District Judge Charles Breyer dismissed 3Taps arguments and held that 3Taps had accessed Craigslist without specific authorization from the website owner:
The law of trespass on private property provides a useful, if imperfect, analogy,…
Store owners open their doors to the public, but occasionally find it necessary to ban disruptive individuals from the premises. That trespass law has enforced those bans with criminal penalties has not, in the brick and mortar context, resulted in the doomsday scenarios predicted by 3Taps in the Internet context.
Although not everyone agrees with this ruling applying the CFAA to online content, this ruling sends an important message to copyright infringers who bypass security blocks.