May 16, 2022

Report: “Court Rules That Data Scraping is Legal in LinkedIn Appeal”

From ZDNet:

It seems self-evident that public data on a website is, well, public. But, that’s never stopped people from arguing that scraping–copying data from public websites–is somehow illegal. Now, the  U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in the hiQ Labs, Inc. v. LinkedIn Corp. that LinkedIn can’t stop its competitor, hiQ Labs, from scraping LinkedIn users’ publicly available data. 

This case has been dragging on for almost five years. LinkedIn demanded in 2017 that hiQ cease and desist from scraping LinkedIn data. LinkedIn also began blocking hiQ’s access and its ability to scrape data from public LinkedIn profiles. LinkedIn argued that hiQ’s actions violated several laws, most notably the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and LinkedIn’s terms of use. 

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This is a win for academics, archivists, journalists, researchers, and companies like hiQ that use data that’s been made publicly available. Or, at least, it’s a win for now.

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More From TechCrunch:

“We’re disappointed in the court’s decision. This is a preliminary ruling and the case is far from over,” said LinkedIn spokesperson Greg Snapper in a statement. “We will continue to fight to protect our members’ ability to control the information they make available on LinkedIn. When your data is taken without permission and used in ways you haven’t agreed to, that’s not okay. On LinkedIn, our members trust us with their information, which is why we prohibit unauthorized scraping on our platform.”

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Hat Tip: Dan A.!

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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