A federal judge has ordered former online rental services company RadPad to pay Craigslist more than $60 million for misappropriating its real estate listings.
The judgment, entered Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer in the Northern District of California, came one year after Craigslist claimed in a federal lawsuit that RadPad infringed copyright, engaged in computer fraud and spammed Craigslist's users. RadPad, which apparently is no longer in business, didn't object to the order.
The lawsuit between Craigslist and RadPad grew out of Craigslist's earlier battle with three other companies: 3Taps, PadMapper and Lovely. 3Taps allegedly scraped Craigslist and made its data accessible to other developers, while PadMapper allegedly combined Craigslist's apartment listings with Google maps, in order to enable people to more easily search for apartments by neighborhood. Lovely allegedly drew on Craigslist's data to offer searchable apartment listings at Livelovely.com.
When PadMapper and Lovely rolled out their real estate listings, the initiative was hailed by some observers as a welcome improvement on Craigslist's then-dated interface.
Those earlier suits were resolved in 2015. Among other terms, 3Taps agreed to refrain from scraping Craigslist's site in the future. That settlement occurred after Breyer handed Craigslist a key victory in 2013, when he ruled that 3Taps may have violated a computer fraud law by continuing to access Craigslist after it took blocked visits from 3Taps' IP addresses. 3Taps allegedly used a proxy server to circumvent the IP block.
Craigslist's complaint against RadPad -- which apparently went out of business late last year -- alleged that it was a one-time client of 3Taps.
"Instead of innovating to attract its own customer base, RadPad has sought to unlawfully piggyback on craigslist’s decades of hard work by unlawfully accessing the craigslist website, stealing craigslist users’ posts and contact information, spamming those users with misleading emails, and then reposting the harvested craigslist listings on the RadPad site," Craigslist alleged in its complaint, filed last April.
"RadPad received the misappropriated craigslist listings that 3taps scraped, to use on RadPad’s own website," Craigslist added. The classifieds service said that after 3Taps stopped scraping, RadPad found other ways to obtain the listings.
Breyer said in the order issued this week that RadPad hired a team of people based in India to scrape Craigslist and obtain posts, pictures and users' contact information. RadPad also told the workers in India how to evade Craigslist's efforts to block the scraping, Breyer wrote.
In addition to the $60 million award, the order prohibits RadPad and its former officers and employees from copying or distributing Craigslist's listings in the future.