To coincide with TheProxIsRight’s recent launch of extended destination testing, which now includes Craigslist, we revisit the ever-relevant commentary on the legality of proxies. Such is timely, because the case often cited in discussing proxy legality centers on the aforementioned online classifieds service.
If you are simply looking at headlines — US court rules proxies, IP switching illegal or Is using a proxy server still legal? — it’s easy to draw misguided conclusions around proxy legality. Many of these misleading headlines are a mischaracterization of the 3taps case and interpretations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Specifically, the 3taps litigation began in 2012 when Craigslist filed a copyright infringement case against companies that were mining and repurposing Craigslist postings data. Copyright claims were dismissed because the posts were publicly available and there was nothing special about the lists. The problem 3taps had was that after Craigslist told them to stop scraping their site, they continued to do so by leveraging proxies. The judge likened 3taps’ activities to that of an unruly customer returning to a store after the store owner evicted him previously for bad behavior. And as a result, 3taps was accessing Craigslist servers without authorization. In this instance, it was not the proxy that was the problem or deemed illegal — it was the unauthorized access.
For our original unabridged take on this issue, click here.