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Act on a scraper, or not

"Borrowing" images, but bringing inbound links



8:43 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Finally have a scraper out there "borrowing" content. It's a site that hopes to be like the big name shopping sites, but will likely never do so. Discovered in doing a link: search for a client.

They've pulled 6 or 8 images directly from the client in their "directory," not hyperlinked but actually stored in their system. The descriptions are pulled from the source as well. But the link to "buy it" goes back to the client.

I'm torn. On one hand there's a little PR juice (not much) and it may attract business, on the other, stealing is stealing.

Without further info my instinct is to have our lawyer issue a cease and desist and take it to DCMA if they don't comply. Is this the wrong way to look at it?


7:49 am on Feb 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I love it when the "not lawyers" expound on legal issues.

tangor, I take it you are a lawyer? In that case you should be able to cite the relevant statute or case law, please do.

Theft is theft

Copyright infringement is copyright infringement.

Copyright infringement is not theft.

Dilution only applies to trademarks not content that has a copyright. I have never heard of someone loosing their copyright on something to dilution.

Good summary. There has even been a case in the news recently of a band being sued over a very well known song (i.e. one the plaintiffs must have heard numerous times over the years) after decades.

This is precisely what allows you to take a pragmatic view about this, and sue if and when you realise that it is worth doing so - and the longer you wait, the more they use it, the more damages you get (as with a submarine patent).


3:09 pm on Feb 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

graeme_p, I presume you ARE a lawyer? (I've already stated I am NOT) :)

Some have not read bothered to read my remarks correctly:

Don't give it away, don't "work" it for links to you by ignoring it... do that and it is quite possible there's "no harm, no foul" since you "received benefit" while failing to protect your copyright. The web is a strange place these days, my friends. It remains theft up to the point you allow it for "link juice". At that point it appears to be sub-contracting. That's all I had to say about it in the first place.

There is one error in your quote above: "Copyright infringement is not theft." Wrong. It is theft. Meanwhile, if you kiddies don't like "dilution" (as in ownership/copyright) as to the damage and harm that can come from letting others continue to use your work just substitute "duplicate" and go from there. On the web, these days, that means the same thing. With the same results.

And if you are a lawyer you'll have case cites to refute the above. Heck, I'd be interested in case law or legal precedent in that regard so I don't have to keep shutting down infringers.


10:14 am on Feb 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I am not a lawyer, but I have actually studied UK copyright law [icsa.org.uk].

The only case I can think of is Australian (Men at Work sued for Land Down Under) which has been in the news recently.

Its going to be hard to find, because I doubt anyone will think that an important precedent was established by bring a case after a long time, unless equitable estoppel is involved, or it is used as evidence regarding appropriate damages.

There is one error in your quote above: "Copyright infringement is not theft." Wrong. It is theft.

The US courts say otherwise [caselaw.lp.findlaw.com]

as did Thomas Jefferson:

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.


9:31 pm on Feb 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've had several cases similar to this. As long as they don't serve up dup content and the site is linking directly to our product pages I generally let it go. One issue we have had though is with a site that scraped all of our products and linked back directly to us, but then failed to keep the data up to date. It has been a giant pain to keep taking customer calls asking for the old, out of date prices. If you are going to allow them to scrape and they aren't going to keep prices and selection up to date, it may be more trouble than it's worth and I'd nip it in the bud now and file a DMCA.


8:22 am on Apr 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Give them a break...they are likely trying to get a site started. Can you imagine trying to start a job board or the like with no initial listings and no initial resumes? Or a product comparison site with no initial products? All of these sites have a chicken egg dilemma. Maybe they will accidentally generate a sale for you.


5:42 pm on Apr 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Give them a break...they are likely trying to get a site started.

Stratocentric, it isn't my problem as a content owner that someone is trying to start a business on the back of stealing other people's content. You're saying that just because they are starting a business and have no content of their own we should be OK with them stealing it?

If a new job board started out by relisting all of the listings from one of the major career sites, that would be OK?

If they are just starting out they should start contacting advertisers and asking for permission to list their products for free for a period rather than stealing content.
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