Journal Article

Scrapping over data: are the data scrapers' days numbered?

Frank Jennings and John Yates

in Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice

Volume 4, issue 2, pages 120-129
Published in print February 2009 | ISSN: 1747-1532
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1747-1540 | DOI:
Scrapping over data: are the data scrapers' days numbered?

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  • Arbitration
  • Intellectual Property Law


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Legal context

‘Data scraping’, the automated extraction of website content and its subsequent reuse of on third party websites, recently made the headlines when the UK airlines, Ryanair and Easyjet, took steps to prevent the aggregation of their flight data. In Belgium, the ongoing dispute between Copiepresse and Google rumbles on. This article explores the possible options open to the ‘scraped’ wishing to protect their content from the ‘scrapers’.

Key points

The article considers recent developments in copyright law and the potential for the enforcement of database rights and website terms of use in the fight against scrapers. The article also examines the possibility of bringing prosecutions under the Computer Misuse Act (and its US equivalent) and looks the USA where the scraped have successfully used the tort of trespass to chattels in the fight to protect content. Finally, there is discussion as to whether both the scraped and scrapers may put themselves in breach of European data protection legislation in allowing and performing scraping activities.

Practical significance

As the web continues to develop and we edge ever closer to a ‘Semantic Web’, it is inevitable there will be a further rise in data scraping and the unauthorized use of website content. With a lack of case law or dedicated legislation in this area, it is imperative that the content-rich have an understanding of the options available to them in seeking to protect and enforce the rights in their content.

Journal Article.  7705 words. 

Subjects: Arbitration ; Intellectual Property Law

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