[mythtv-users] Free US/Canada Listings

Jarom McDonald jarom_mcdonald at byu.edu
Thu Sep 6 17:48:53 UTC 2007

Jimbo wrote:
> So if you leave your car door unlocked, it is OK for me to take your CD 
> player?  

I'm sorry, but that's a horrible argument. A public website on a
publicly accessible server is so unlike personal property in a car
(locked or unlocked) that trying to make analogy just makes the position
look silly.

What it's really like is a Zap2it representative sitting in a car,
handing out CD players to anyone who happens to walk by, even if they
come by a thousand times and take a thousand CD players, but then
refusing to give one if you stand down the street and send a remote
control car to get one for you.

Now, I'm not saying they don't have the _right_ to refuse service; I'm
just saying that you need to examine the assumptions you're making in
your argument and stop trying to base claims with faulty rhetoric.

>   Their TOS expressly forbids you to do what you are 
> proposing to do and you try to justify it and place the blame on them.  

If you're going to be honest about using the TOS as part of an argument,
then, you have to see the inherent contradictions in it. Their TOS does
NOT forbid 'scraping.' Their TOS forbids everything. They try to claim
that they forbid the use of "any data mining, data gathering or
extraction method." Well, guess what? Viewing a page through Firefox is
a form of data gathering. Writing down the information you see there is
an extraction method. Their TOS basically forbids anyone, at anytime or
with any method, from ever making any HTTP request to any of their
pages. Yet they then go ahead and turn a blind eye to all those using a
web browser to violate the TOS, even if they view 14 days worth of data
(and hence use just the same amount of server resources). But they still
want to tighten the screws on those using another extraction method.

I'm not so ignorant as to think that they don't have a _legal_ right to
shut off any access that they want to and freely let whoever they choose
violate these terms; and I wholeheartedly agree that the issue of
scraping is far and above more an issue of community than one of
legality (i.e. the legal question is a non-starter...you could never
actually be prosecuted for violating the TOS by scraping, but the Myth
community has a LOT to lose by pissing people off). I'm just saying that
for this conversation to be productive, people have got to start making
better arguments. Of course, that may be too much to ask...

Jarom McDonald
Assistant Research Professor
Humanities Technology and Research Support Center
1163G JFSB
Provo, UT 84602
jarom_mcdonald at byu.edu

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