Feeds

Ryanair begins screen-scraping lawsuit

Claims violation of IP rights

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Ryanair is taking a Dutch airline website to court over the 'screen-scraping' of Ryanair's site. The no-frills airline claims that Dutch company Bravofly's activities violate the site's terms and conditions and infringe its intellectual property rights.

Screen-scraping is the term used for one website's automatic gathering of information from another website. Many websites in the airline and insurance businesses welcome screen-scraping by aggregators as a way of generating new business, but Ryanair opposes the practice.

It has just begun a case in Dublin's Commercial Court against Bravofly aimed at stopping it from using Ryanair's data. Bravofly is a search and booking service for budget airlines.

Ryanair is claiming that Bravofly's alleged activities break laws on trade marks and copyright and amount to 'passing off'.

"We are taking this case because their behaviour violates our terms and conditions which state very clearly that you can't make any commercial use of our website," said a Ryanair spokesman.

Ryanair has asked the court for an injunction preventing Bravofly from continuing its activities and for exemplary damages and an account of profits for alleged interference with Ryanair's economic interests.

Ryanair has previously complained to Lastminute.com about its practices, alleging that that firm was engaging in screen-scraping.

The Ryanair spokesman also told OUT-LAW that the company was in the late stages of a similar case in Germany where the company had taken action against an alleged screen-scraper, though the results of the case are not yet known.

Other airlines have taken similar action in the past. EasyJet confirmed last month that it had sent warnings to a number of websites, including Expedia.co.uk, instructing them to stop alleged scraping.

Technology law expert Struan Robertson told OUT-LAW Radio recently that while companies could argue that their terms and conditions were broken, that may not stand up in court.

"The site that is being scraped might say that its terms and conditions forbid any form of scraping. The site that is doing the scraping might say, 'Well, those terms and conditions do not count. They are not incorporated into any contract we have with you.'" he said. "It may be a fair argument if those terms of use are just an optional link like they are on Ryanair's website."

Robertson said that asserting a breach of database rights might be a more powerful argument.

Ryanair said that it objected to Bravofly's use of its flights as one of its products. "We make a really big effort to be Europe's cheapest low fares airline and then these companies top up our basic fare," said the spokesman.

"It's not like the customer is getting an extra service, so this is obviously not in our or our passengers' best interests," he said.

Copyright © 2008, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.