[mythtv-users] IMDB Screen Scrap... legal?

Nick knowledgejunkie at gmail.com
Fri Jul 8 19:26:19 EDT 2005

On 7/8/05, Stuart Morgan <stuart at tase.co.uk> wrote:
> On Fri 8 July 2005 21:56, Nick wrote:
> > IANAL - I don't think that scraping would be covered under that ruling
> > due to the definition of a 'collection of facts'. I agree that if a
> > site states that certain uses of its data are forbidden then it should
> > be respected, especially as the data concerned is the property of the
> > site. It is however quite hard to regulate access to a busy site if
> > data is coming from a 'normal' request and being used
> > non-commercially. This seems to be a situation similar to the
> > gathering of TV listings e.g Tribune, and whereby a pay service would
> > allow the content to be licensed for a particular use.
> It comes down to a moral, if not legal issue. You can look for and probably
> find loopholes in their request, but it goes against the spirit if not the
> letter of the terms to do so.
Agreed. Some users will argue 'well if I neither click on nor am
influenced by the advertising on imdb.com anyway, what difference does
it make?' and I can appreciate that perspective. When users also visit
the site via a browser and see the ads (unless adzap or adblock are
running) the lines blur further. The fact that it costs a lot of time
and money to run the site is often neglected.

> If Isaac asked that others not 'scrape' information from mythtv.org then we
> would honour his request and all stand up to defend his rights. Just because
> we don't know the people behind imdb.com doesn't make it right to use their
> content without permission.

I'm not sure if I understand which information MythTV scrapes from
mythtv.org (in the screen-scraping sense of the word) or is this
example just used for comparison - downloading MythTV source aside? As
MythTV was and is released under the GPL, and is a growing
multi-developer project, it would surely carry on. As long as the
rights conferred on the software were preserved with future
development, the GPL is still satisfied (AIUI).

> Someone, preferably a developer should just email and obtain written
> permission. You won't get if you don't ask but we should be prepared to
> recieve (and respect) a negative response.

They're a UK company (although owned by amazon.com) so you never know.
Their mission statement is "provide useful and up to date movie
information freely available online across as many platforms as
possible" which gives me at least some hope that they would consider
catering for a small but thriving user community.


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