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 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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“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.”
Hat Tip: Dan A.!