The LinkedIn-HiQ Labs Case and Data Scraping in the US: Some Takeaways

What does the summary judgment granted to Linkedin in the famous Linkedin-HiQ Labs case teach us about data scraping in the US?

Here are some of my thoughts on what the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruling means.

Bottom line:

Summary judgment was granted to LinkedIn regarding: (a) tortious interference claims by HiQ and (b) HiQ’s use of “turkers” (that created false profiles on LinkedIn).The case continues with a number of issues still TBD due to genuine dispute of facts including: (a) the breach of contract claim as to HiQ’s scraping and unauthorized use of data and (b) whether LinkedIn knew or should have known that HiQ scraped LinkedIn’s site before June 7, 2015.

Some actionable things for companies and practitioners:

A. Publicly available data is NOT a free for all

Informing members that their data may be seen, copied or used (in line with its “public” status) does not contradict a prohibition against scraping, crawling or spidering the server.A warning to members that a third party may collect their public-facing data is not a blessing for third parties to do so through expressly prohibited means.

B. If your scraping/data mining actions are a breach of the platform’s Terms of Use, this is a problem

If you have clear prohibitions in the user agreement, that counts in your favor. It is important to make them as tight as possible, though, both with clear drafting and by making sure there are no inconsistent provisions. It is

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