MobilePhone_56311774_thumbnailFor corporations, the mobile app is today’s website.

Back in the late 1990s, no self-respecting company, no matter how stodgy and old-fashioned, wanted to be without a website.

Today, the same is true with mobile apps. It doesn’t matter what industry a company is in—it needs to have an app that customers and potential

Social_Community85The explosive growth of social media has clients facing legal questions that didn’t even exist a few short years ago. Helping your clients navigate this muddled legal landscape will have them clicking “like” in no time.

What’s in a Like?

Not long ago, the word “like” was primarily a verb (and an interjection used by

150514SociallyAwareThe latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here.

In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we discuss a recent decision in Virginia protecting the anonymity of Yelp users; we examine the FTC’s much anticipated report, “Internet of

Is it stealing to take data without permission from a public website, or is it simply making use of resources that are made available to you? “Web scraping” or “screen scraping” is the practice of extracting large amounts of data from public websites using bots.

A recent case in the European Court of Justice has focused attention both on the intellectual property infringement aspects of scraping practices and on the potential for website owners to use their sites’ contractual terms and conditions to combat the scrapers.

Scraping is not new, but it has become increasingly widespread in recent years, fuelled by the rise in big data analytics and the popularity of price comparison websites. Indeed, in 2013, it accounted for 18% of site visitors and 23% of all Internet traffic. Scraping is not inherently bad: it can have legitimate uses, spur innovation and give companies with limited resources access to large amounts of data. However, unsurprisingly, many website operators do not like it. Not only are operators keen to protect their proprietary rights, but repeated scraping can also take a heavy toll on websites by using up bandwidth and leading to network crashes.

In the U.S., website operators have asserted various claims against scrapers, including copyright claims, trespass to chattels claims and contract-based claims alleging that scrapers violated their websites terms of use. In the EU, operators have tended to rely on intellectual property infringement claims against scrapers, but there has been little case law to provide guidance.

However, in January 2015, in a much anticipated decision, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) held that where a website operator cannot establish intellectual property rights in its database, an operator may still be able to rely on its website terms and conditions to prohibit scraping. This ruling may impact an increasing number of companies whose business models rely on mining data from websites and social media platforms without permission. On the other hand, it will be viewed positively by those data-rich businesses keen to protect and/or monetise their data.


Continue Reading Data for the Taking: Using Website Terms and Conditions to Combat Web Scraping

Social media is transforming the way companies interact with consumers. Learn how to make the most of these online opportunities while minimizing your company’s risk at Practicing Law Institute’s (PLI) 2015 Social Media conference, chaired by Socially Aware editor John Delaney.

This year’s program features speakers from American Express, BuzzFeed, Dell, and Foursquare

IBM has been receiving rave reviews in the media for simplifying its Cloud Services Agreement to a mere two pages in length. And yes, the Agreement also boasts healthy margins and a normal font. But does the Agreement’s reasonable length equate to reasonable terms?

After all, from a customer’s perspective, shorter doesn’t necessarily mean better.

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here.

In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we look at several topics surrounding the proverbial online thumbs up, including the emerging legal status of Facebook likes and similar social

Are parents now liable for what their kids post to Facebook?  According to a recent decision in the Georgia Court of Appeals, they are.

The Georgia Court of Appeals held that the parents of a seventh-grade student could be found negligent for failing to ensure that their son deleted an offensive Facebook profile that