Saturday, June 23, 2012

What does it mean to put something on the web?

One theme I find myself drawn to here is the fact of making something available to the world for free, for example, over the air broadcasts (which I've talked about before), and putting things on the web.

It really seems to me that if you, personally, put something on the internet, there is a certain expectation that this is now public information, public data, and a certain amount of leeway should be expected to be given on its use.

Today's example is Padmapper, an apartment locating website that had a feature linking map locations to Craigslist ads for apartments.  If you've ever tried to look for an apartment via Craigslist, you know it's quite painful, as the listings are just in one long list.  Padmapper simply allowed you to browse by map location, and linked to the Craigslist ad.  They did this in a friendly way, in my opinion, by making it clear that it is an ad on Craigslist and even showed the whole page.

So it's not like they were just scraping the Craigslist ads and pretending they were Padmapper ads, or something.  In internet terms, I believe their actions were wholly ethical.

Apparently Craigslist actually licenses the ability to do this to certain app makers for phones and such.  Honestly, I wonder where they get off.  License?  As in the content is owned by Craigslist?  Like they made it or something?

I realize that the terms of use of many websites (Facebook for example) make any user submitted content the property of the website.  And this, by the way, is wholly unethical to my mind.

But even so, it's not like Craigslist actually made the ads.

And they're just ads.

So.  Craigslist is not famous for douchebag behavior, so I hope they change their minds about this.  In the context of making content as free as possible, as this blog advocates, this is not helpful.

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