In the United States, scraping copyrighted content is permitted by the fair dealing doctrine. The rules are somewhat similar to European rules, but they do not make a clear distinction between scientific research and for-profit scraping. The basic case law for applying fair use to scratching is Authors Guild v. Google (Google Books case). In the Google Books case, the court found that virtual copies of copyrighted content – entire books – were permitted under fair use. If a website or user makes the decision to make their data public, scraping should be legal. This is not surprising given the growth of web scraping and many ongoing legal cases related to web scraping. Finally, you should program your scrapers to collect as little personal data as possible and only keep this data temporarily. Creating a database of people and their information (e.g. for lead generation) is a very difficult case in protected jurisdictions, while retrieving people from Google Maps reviews to automatically identify fake reviews and then delete personal data could easily pass the legitimate interest test.
It often happens that people ask for things like email addresses, Facebook posts, or LinkedIn information. According to an article titled “Is Web Browsing Legal?”, it`s important to follow the rules before doing web scraping: the API is like a channel to send your data request to a web server and get the data you want. The API returns data in JSON format via the HTTP protocol. For example, the Facebook API, the Twitter API, and the Instagram API. However, this does not mean that you can get the data you request. Web harvesting can visualize the process because it allows you to interact with websites. Octoparse has web harvesting models. For non-techies, it is even more convenient to extract data by filling in parameters with keywords/URLs.
This article provides guidelines for ethical scratching as a business. If you`re scratching for your personal project or for academic research, it will be a little easier for you, but we won`t cover those exceptions here. When it comes to web scraping, you can`t get an owner`s consent to collect their data. Since you have no legal right to collect PII without the owner`s consent, scraping this data is essentially illegal. Therefore, it is now recommended to make sure that you leave personal information alone when scraping a website. The real question here should be how you want to use the data you`ve extracted from a website (manually or using software). Because the data displayed by most websites is intended for public use. It is perfectly legal to copy this information to a file on your computer. But it`s in terms of how you plan to use this data that you need to pay attention to.
If the data is uploaded for your personal use and analysis, it is absolutely ethical. But if you plan to use them as your own, on your website, in a way that completely defeats the interests of the original owner of the data, without naming the original owner, then it`s unethical, illegal. Before you begin the legal analysis, show empathy. Do you think the person whose data you are scraping would be happy? Is it beneficial for a greater good? When we scratch ethically, we consider not only what is legal, but also what is right. Apify has a good use case with Thorn where we find lost children scratching personal data. We are really proud of it and strongly believe that it passes the legitimate interest test and the vital interest and public interest tests of the GDPR. Update: U.S. Federal Court rules that Web scraping does not violate hacking laws Under the GDPR, all personal data is protected and it doesn`t matter where the data comes from. An EU company has been fined quite heavily for extracting public data from the Polish Business Register. A court later lifted the fine, but explicitly upheld the ban on deleting publicly available data. The U.S. Supreme Court has the power to overturn the Court of Appeals and could overturn the decision to legalize the scraping of publicly available and non-copyrighted data.
Read the 10 myths of web scraping to understand its legality, use cases, and challenges to corresponding solutions. If you don`t know what web scraping is, you can start here. Now, legal issues have developed around web scraping because, hey, some companies don`t appreciate having their data recovered. Business owners who have been struck off worry about things like copyright infringement, fraud, breach of contract, stolen trade secrets, and more. Even though there are several options for scratching allowed in the EU or the US, we would like to stress that the most important factor of all is to respect the work of the original author and his business model. If you do, there will be virtually no complaints from them. An ethical scraper does not publish or sell original works for its own profit. This is hacking, not scraping.
Yes. Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing fishy or illegal about web scraping itself. This does not mean that all types of web scraping are legal. Like all human activities, it must remain within certain limits.