Saturday, May 01, 2004

Don't tell your customers that a competitor is infringing your copyright unless you can back it up!

Don't accuse others of copyright infringment if you can't back up your claim. It could cost you $300 grand in a defamation suit. A company named NSM was crawling other sites to get comparitive pricing information for their users. sent out letters to yacht brokers and others, claiming that NSM's data-harvesting was illegal


Funny thing is, the plaintiff may have believed for good reason that they were in the right. There was an eBay case a few years back in which a court ruled that another auction company couldn't crawl eBay's site in order to collect and aggregate auction information from all the online auctions so users could easily do comparitive shopping. The court considered it a trespass to chattel if I remember correctly. They reasoned that it was a trespass because the crawling used up eBays computing resources in such a way as to cause them "actual damage" (which was necessary, because with trespass to chattel you need to show actual damages, whereas with trespass on real property there is no need for a showing of damage).

I don't know why that wasn't considered to be a trespass case (different jurisdiction maybe?). Perhaps because the defendant in this had claimed that the plaintiff was infringing on their copyright and not that they were trespassing - but you can't really hold a normal guy accountable for mixing up legal terms. Maybe I'll investigate this case a little more one of these days...

Via Business Lessons.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Listed on BlogShares < ? law blogs # > Listed on Blogwise Blogarama - The Blog Directory