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Canadian Court Finds Website Scraping Infringes Copyright 147

First time accepted submitter wrecked writes "A trial judgment from British Columbia, Canada, found that Zoocasa, a real estate search site operated by Rogers Communications, breached copyright by scraping real estate listings and photos from Century 21 Canada. The decision thoroughly reviews the issues of website scraping, Terms of Use, 'Shrink Wrap' and 'Click Wrap' Agreements, robots.txt files, and copyright implications of hyperlinking. For American readers used to multi-million dollar damages, the court here awarded $1,000 (one thousand dollars) for breach of the Century 21 website's Terms of Use, and statutory copyright damages totalling $32,000 ($250 per infringing real estate photo). More analysis at Michael Geist's blog, and the Globe & Mail."
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Canadian Court Finds Website Scraping Infringes Copyright

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  • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @12:20PM (#37583664)

    Yes, you are definitely not a lawyer since you, as with most Slashtards, misunderstand what you are talking about. Yes, the facts themselves can not be copyrighted but the expression on those facts can be copyrighted. Which is why I can take the info from the phone book and publish them myself but I can't take someone else's phonebook, copy all the pages and then republish it as my own work because that expression of those facts are copyrighted.

  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @12:25PM (#37583672)

    Why not treat them like and end user and shut off internet access for the "user".

    I would like to see "Rogers Communications", the runner of the site lose access to the internet.

    Some how I don't think the court would do that to one of the top ISP's in Canada.
    Yet we are likely to see the courts cut off internet access for small end users. Why are the laws not equal? Corporation got people status, but it seems corporations are way above people status when it comes to some laws. That is not fair. And if it would be unfair to cut off access for a corporation then it should be unfair to cut off access for a person.

  • Re:first comment! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Almost-Retired ( 637760 ) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @12:26PM (#37583676) Homepage
    Yeah, well, I waste a lot more time being forced to do a preview before I can submit the post. It takes at least 5 seconds, and often 10+ seconds to get the damned preview back from /. For me, that is a PITA. When I am ready to post my drivel, even if complete with miss-spellings, I am ready.

    Oh, and yes, firefox-7.01
  • by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @03:28PM (#37584526)

    The decision was quite specific on this. The issue was not about the facts such as address, number of bedrooms, floor space, etc. It stated quite clearly that those were not copyrightable. The issue was the description of the property which are impressions done on prose and the pictures. Both of these a copyrightable.

  • Re:Good to know. (Score:4, Informative)

    by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Monday October 03, 2011 @05:45AM (#37588036)

    The copyright issue was not about the facts about the listing; address, floor space, bedrooms, etc. There were two components that were copyrightable; the pictures and the description. Here are some reveant clauses from the decision.

    [185] The property descriptions describe particular real properties. They are created to market the property to potential buyers. It is apparent they are written for each property in a manner to highlight the positive aspects of the properties. There is also the evidence of Bilash and Walton that there is some level of skill involved in writing an effective property description. I am satisfied that the property descriptions are the product of skill and judgment. As a result they meet the threshold for copyright protection.

    [204] The continued copying of the entire property description to the Zoocasa server is a violation of copyright. The truncated versions of the property description in my view do not infringe copyright as they do not meet the criteria for substantial copying sufficient for copyright infringement.

    [205] With respect to the photographs, Zoocasa was not merely copying a thumbnail image as in the case of Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation, 336 F. 3d 811 (USCA, 9th Circuit, 2003), but rather the entire photograph. This was a clear violation of copyright.

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