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Using data from public Website Licensing

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by CubE135, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. CubE135

    CubE135 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hey, i got a question about the following situation:
    Let's say i would be interested in using some data that is publicly shown on a public website to make some sort of analysis out of that data.
    The Website is a US based Website, so US Law should cover this, right?
    Said website, i want to take the data from, does not have a "Terms of Service" that prohibit the use of that data. They also do not have a so called "robots.txt" that could prohibit the use of that data.
    Can i use the data from that website to make some sort of analysis out of it?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean by "public website"? Do you mean an official government website or something else? And exactly what use do you plan to make of the data?

    Very generally facts are not legally protected; anyone can make use of facts. For example anyone can use the fact that 1 + 1 = 2. But how facts are presented on a web site may be protected by copyright. So if you copy the same layout, presentation or look of those facts as the other site without permission you may run into a problem.
     
  3. CubE135

    CubE135 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hey, sorry for being unclear. With "public" i just mean that it is not protected by a login system or whatever. It is not a government website.
    The data im talking about is only numbers to be honest. So numbers on certain stuff that i want to use and make statistics out of it.
    If that makes sense.
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Yes, it makes sense. There's nothing prohibiting you from extracting data from websites and creating your own analysis.

    For example, if you googled "How many people in the US own guns?" you will get many websites that report on many surveys and speculation. You would be free to compile those statistics and make your own analysis of gun ownership in the US.

    You would, of course, credit the sources of the data if you expect anybody to take your analysis seriously.
     
  5. CubE135

    CubE135 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hey, thanks for your answer :)
    I got another question:
    - Would i even be allowed to use a script that automatically collects that data? (Called Web Scraping)
     
  6. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    That would depend on a variety of factors. Read the following article, particular the part about the lawsuit by LinkedIn against people who scraped their website:

    Web Scraping and Crawling Are Perfectly Legal, Right?

    There's apparently some risk involved. Though it might not be a crime it could subject you to a lawsuit.
     
  7. CubE135

    CubE135 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I read that article, and it seems like the website has to explicitly forbig the use of web crawling through some sort of ToS or "robots.txt" , which the website does not have.
     
  8. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I'm not entirely sure what you mean when you say that the website is "US based," but if both you and the owner of the site are in the U.S., then there's no reason to think that U.S. law wouldn't govern any legal issue. Keep in mind that you haven't yet described any legal issue.

    Nothing in your post suggests you cannot.
     

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