[mythtv-users] Free US/Canada Listings

Nedim Cholich mythtv at cholich.com
Thu Sep 6 14:47:00 UTC 2007

On 9/6/07, David Segall <david at segall.net> wrote:
> Bill Williamson wrote:
> > On 9/6/07, *J Douglas* <jdouglas70 at hotmail.com
> > <mailto:jdouglas70 at hotmail.com>> wrote:
> >
> >     Hi,
> >
> >     Here is a list of free TV listing sites for US/Canada.
> >
> >
> >
> > How many of them are legal to scrape?
> All of them! If scraping was against any State or Federal law then
> Google would be in jail. Your next question is "Could the site sue me
> for violating their copyright or their terms of service?" The answer is
> possibly yes but the most they could obtain is the negligible amount you
> cost them by scraping. In any case, they would write to you first asking
> you to stop and I suggest you agree because they probably have "free"
> in-house lawyers and you don't.
> As others have pointed out the problem arises if you share your scraped
> data. The site may then be able to sue you for the the lost revenue
> because thousands of people missed reading their advertisements. A
> similar problem might arise if you wrote a widely used scraper. If you
> are planning either of these I suggest you host the site or attribute
> authorship in a country where the legislators are not as easily
> corrupted by copyright holders as those in the United States.

If you truly care about legality, no scraping is legal. At the very least
you are violating their TOS. And you can be sure that all the sources have a
clause that forbids scraping. Whether they will do something about it is a
different thing.

The true practical problem with scrapers is what happens when scraped
website changes? I, for one, have to time or will to monitor some log or
mailinglist for signs of changes, hack the script myself or apply some patch
and miss the recording in the meantime. You come back from three week
vacation and find out that last 10 days you've been recording Martha Stewart
instead of Heroes.

Having said that I sympathize with people who have no other options. But
here in the US, we do ;-)
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