VIC Websites Information Scraping - Legal Under Intellectual Property Law?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now

Guy S

Member
7 June 2018
2
0
1
Hi,

I’d like to build a commercial website which compare prices between web sites. Is it legal to do web scraping from websites and retrieve the data for this purpose under Intellectual Property Law?

Cheers,
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
7,203
969
2,894
Depends.

What are you going to take?
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
7,203
969
2,894
What do you mean?
Can I retrieve web sites information like product details and prices for commercial use?

The law doesn't work on generalities, it needs specifics.

I do note there are many other sites that already do what you propose such as staticice.com.au, shopbot.com.au, getprice.com.au etc so I suspect if you are scraping generic information and prices you are OK. There's even a web site listing the comparison websites List of Price Comparison Sites - OzBargain Wiki


But you get actual advice from a lawyer if you want a better idea.
 

Leonard Mancini

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
4 August 2016
47
18
189
Gold Coast
lawtap.com
Many years ago I advised a client not to based on the Terms of Conditions of the target websites which had no scraping clauses. Im not sure if the position has changed or whether the site owners see a benefit to allow it and therefore do not prosecute.

Proceed with caution!
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
7,203
969
2,894
I suspect he's OK based on the IceTV case but without more details hard to be sure.

To me the bigger issue is why bother unless he has a niche area or a new and better way the other comparison sites do not have.

As a hobby sure, but for a business venture not sure it is worth it.
 

Leonard Mancini

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
4 August 2016
47
18
189
Gold Coast
lawtap.com
The ICE TV case was about them copying program guide data and was a claim to copyright infringement. The courts held that there was no copyright in the program and it was not copied in any case. The OP could get in trouble, not only on the issue of copyright if it was found to subsist and be infringed, but also in respect of breach of contract for breaching those often overlooked terms and conditions linked to at the bottom of the website pages. Whether those terms are enforceable would be the real question and I am unaware of any decisions in Australia that have found them to be.