Thursday, December 18, 2008

Traverse Internet Law Federal Court Report: November 2008 Hacking Lawsuits

The facts are unproven allegations of the Plaintiff and all commentary is based upon the allegations, the truthfulness and accuracy of which are likely in dispute.

FILED: 11/05/2008

This lawsuit is primarily about the violation of the user agreement on the Craigslist website and is brought under the Federal hacking statute that was used in the MySpace suicide case to obtain a criminal conviction. Hacking does not require a malicious intent. Indeed, the hacking statutes that exist are more in line with "trespass" laws. The label of being a "hacker" is often being attached to individuals and businesses who never attempted any malicious act. Make sure that when you are accessing websites you follow the terms of the user agreement and avoid copying websites to build applications by "scraping" the data from websites.

This is one of ten cases filed by Craigslist going after "auto posting" software and service providers and those involved with the distribution of software that is used on Craigslist. Craigslist alleges that in order for the software to be developed the Defendants had to access and copy its website to develop, test, implement, use and provide the software, programs, devices, and services. This access was unauthorized and contrary to the user agreement on the Craigslist website.

These lawsuits state claims for direct copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement, violations of the DMCA, violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of California state law, trademark infringement, state trademark infringement, breach of contract, inducing to breach a contract, intentional interference with contractual relations, and fraud. The request for injunctive relief is extensive and the Plaintiff requests an order prohibiting the Defendants from using Craigslist. In addition, the court is requested to enter an order to create a constructive trust and require the Defendants to pay all profits derived from their conduct into such trust for distribution to the Plaintiff as well as an award of compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages, interest, attorneys' fees and costs. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1247.