This article is about a company who used an automated system to extract flight information from Ryanair’s website, and then charged consumers for booking through its site. Ryanair claimed that PR Aviation had acted in breach of its website terms and conditions. To gain access to the flight information, PR Aviation had to agree to Ryanair’s terms and conditions which prohibited the use of an automated system or software to extract data from the website for commercial purposes, unless Ryanair consented to the activity. Ryanair successfully sued a travel booking company that was using screen scraping technology to extract information from the Ryanair website.
- Website operators can prohibit ‘screen scraping’ of unprotected data via terms and conditions. The Court of Justice of the EU ruled that website operators can set contractual restrictions that prohibit other businesses from ‘scraping’ information. This judgment means that companies will have a much greater ability to restrict who uses the information about their products and services that are posted online.
- To protect their intellectual property, it would be wise for website operators to implement a security feature which allows websites to track and identify whether queries are made by automatic programs.
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