Feeds

easyJet warns 'several websites' to stop selling its flights

Screen scraping the budget airline barrel

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

easyJet has confirmed that Expedia is not the only online travel firm to have felt the airline’s wrath – it has also fired off letters to several other UK websites warning them to stop selling its flights.

As we revealed earlier this week, the budget airline company wrote to Expedia.co.uk telling it to stop punting easyJet flights via its website or face the possibility of legal action. And they're not the only ones.

An easyJet spokeswoman said: “I can clarify that we have written to several websites who have been screen scraping, who have been advised to cease or we will take further legal action.” However, the firm refused to reveal which other websites it was targeting.

When asked for an explanation as to why the airline was unwilling to provide further information about the potential legal spat it was pursuing with other travel sites, the spokeswoman told us: “No, we're not going to give free advertising to these websites and we're choosing not to go into details of when letters were sent.”

“Screen scraping” is a practice commonly employed by travel and news aggregation sites, where one website mines information from another, or many others before pulling out the relevant data and reformatting it for its own use.

What isn’t clear at this stage is what legal action easyJet might take against the websites if they continue to ignore the airline’s warnings.

We asked Kim Walker partner at law firm Pinsent Masons what options easyJet has.

He said "easyJet could consider claiming copyright infringement but my guess would be that a breach of database rights would ultimately be the most telling argument from easyJet’s point of view."

Walker added that now Expedia has received a written warning from easyJet about extracting the firm's flight data without consent, the travel site's "position has been weakened". He said it could no longer, for example, argue the defence that it was unaware of easyJet's terms and conditions, which prohibit screen scraping.

We asked Walker why easyJet didn't simply filter out Expedia and other websites' IP addresses to prevent data being scraped.

"You can use measures to block IP addresses," he said. "But [price comparision website] Moneysupermarket.com for example uses something in the region of two million IP addresses making the website very hard to block."

We asked Expedia if it was willing to give us a statement about easyJet's complaints. A spokeswoman told us: "We can make no further comment on this matter." ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.