Thursday, March 16, 2006

Terms of Service vs. Fair Use

Here's my next thought about how to combat ill behaved spiders that include snippets from your website and claim fair use. Include something in your TERMS OF SERVICE or LEGAL page on your website that prohibits unauthorized robots.

Therefore, even if they are within their rights of fair use they've violated your terms of service and you possibly have an actionable item on your hands.

Thinking about running this one past a lawyer as we need some boilerplate text like the GNU license that can be distributed and used everywhere as leverage against scrapers.

Film @ 11


Jon said...

I like the concept, but in reality, who am I going to take to court, and how would I afford it? It would have to be an extraordinary circumstance for me to truly take action against someone, and it seems like it would be quite risky depending just on my own ToS.

IncrediBILL said...


That's the whole idea here is that I'm trying to figure out a way that the issue isn't too expensive to pursue, something any old ambulance chaser could take on and win, which might be a huge deterrent to scraping and more.

FWIW, if you can boil the costs down to pure bandwidth charges, like a scraper using 30GB of your 100GB monthly web hosting fees, you could just send them invoices as long as it's real damages that you can attach with a dollar amount. If they refuse to pay you can attempt to collect in small claims court for as little as $25 ;)

Jon said...

Well, when you put it that way, that doesn't sound half bad.