November 01, 2012 Intellectual Property Law

The Legal Battle over Social Data Extraction Tools

Jonathan H. Blavin

This article provides an overview of the various legal issues relating to data extraction tools, which are at the center of the increasingly competitive social networking market.

Common law trespass to chattels. One of the first and most prominent cases was eBay, Inc. v. Bidder’s Edge, Inc., 100 F. Supp. 2d 1058 (N.D. Cal. 2000). Bidder’s Edge was an auction aggregation site that used an automatic crawling tool that searched various auction websites and “scraped” information from these sites. Bidder’s Edge accessed the eBay site approximately 100,000 times a day, and the effect of the robots over time was to “consume the processing and storage resources” of eBay’s system.

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