Category — German Copyright Act (UrhG)
The Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt has decided, that using a method called “screen scraping” to refer customers to buy airline tickets online is legal and does not infringe copyrights.
The claimant operates a website where users can search for flights. Based on these search queries, flight schedules on (airline) websites are being searched by a spidering tool to retrieve matching flights. Relevant results (including price) are then displayed back on the claimant’s website, whereby the Internet user has the opportunity to book flights. The defendant stated that this practice was unlawful, especially infringing their copyrighted database.
The court has decided that “screen scraping” did not infringe the defendant’s copyrights. Data records of single flight connections can not be deemed as “essential parts” of the database. The screen scraping process is not a duplication or use pursuant to Art. 87b (1) Copyright Act.
The court further reasons, that the screen scraping still was within the limits of normal analysis and that the defendant’s interests were not unreasonably interfered with.
(Higher Regional Court Frankfurt/ Main, 05. March 2009 - 6 U 221/08 )
I think one should be careful here. It would be hazardous to take this decision as a free ride to harvest web sites on the Internet. Slight differences in the scraping process or monetizing model might as well have led to a different outcome.
June 24, 2009 No Comments