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Automation Tolls vs Term of Service

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Marktw99

New member
Dear lawyer

We are a SaaS company based in California, we operate in the B2B marketing services industry.

One of our main services focuses on generating leads for companies around the world.

Specifically, our customers provide us with a detailed marketing segmentation, with this we activate bots that go to crawl the LinkedIn Social Platform (no hacking involved, we just automate repetitive tasks normally a user has to do manually), saving the relevant leads in our database. Once this operation is over we resell these databases to our customers.
Using automation tools within the LinkedIn site we are aware of going against their terms of service, but we want to know the degree of risk we are facing.
Specifically, taking information in LinkedIn using automated systems may involve:

1) penal consequences?

2) fines? what figures?

3) other consequences?

Thanks for your attention and your time

best regards
 


FlyingRon

Senior Member
Penal, Fines? Not likely to be criminal.

If you have something arising to a contract with LinkedIn, they may hold you in breach of that contract and sue you for damages. If you use anything that can be protectable by copyright or you infringe on their trademarks, they can sue you over that infringement.

What is likely going to happen is that they'll implement provisions to block your automated access to their site.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
It's not working out that way, Zig. The 9th circuit pretty much holds that violating a TOS is not criminal (at least not under Federal law).
 

quincy

Senior Member
It's not working out that way, Zig. The 9th circuit pretty much holds that violating a TOS is not criminal (at least not under Federal law).
I agree that the decisions out of the Ninth Circuit have held that violations of website terms of service alone are not computer crimes.

Here is a link to a good summary of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and State Computer Crime Laws, published by Stanford:

Following are links to a few Ninth Circuit cases that have addressed the legality of website term violations.

Oracle v. Rimini:

USA v. Nosal:

And, perhaps of most interest to you:

hiQ Labs, Inc v. LinkedIn Corporation,(filed in 2017):

Just because violating the terms of service of a website has been held not to be a crime under the federal or state computer crime laws, injunctions still can be issued and damages can be awarded under copyright and trademark and trade secret and unfair business practices laws.

You should review the particulars of your automated web scraping with a lawyer in your area.
 
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