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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Could a price comparison service (on or offline) freely copy

Resolved Question:

Could a price comparison service (on or offline) freely copy and publish both the prices and identity of competing resellers (and advertisers of resellers) without fear of legal action against the price comparison service (taking into account any reseller T&C)? Provided the published price comparisons are like-for-like, up to date, accurate and not misleading, is there any restriction or regulation on what information may legally be published about the listed resellers (eg their business model, consumer reviews etc)? Would the price comparison service's T&Cs need to be specifically written - and what areas of this model might potentially represent a risk of legal action (by resellers or consumers buying the price comparison information). Thank you.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.

Why would the price comparison site be subject to legal action please?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
There have been a number of cases where website owners have pursued competitors for scraping (ie copying then using) their market sensitive public price data (essentially, their levels of discount). So, if a web site owner states in its' T&Cs that copying then commercially using their data (even for internal comparison) is not allowed - and would be pursued in court - could such an action be legally enforced? If so, what would be the grounds for action? However, my question is slightly different in so far as we plan to collect many competing prices (from UK commercial web sites, competing openly in public without log-in) for a range of new vehicles - then enable comparison by publishing prices in database format. If we were to make a charge to consumers (eg for a new car price guide) to reveal the competing web site names and prices (possibly publish the URLs leading to the actual vehicle offers too), would this justify a legal claim against us (by a/ the competing web site/s that we listed within our database)? If so, which laws could potentially have been broken?
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

Being pursued and being successful are two quite different things.

If a website owner says you cant log in and publish this data then yes they could seek an injunction to stop on this basis. You read the terms and agreed.

If you were a Consumer and did this, then you may have grounds to say that term was unfair pursuant to the Consumer Rights Act 2015. But as a business you dont have that protection.

If you plan to collect without login and this information is publicly available then you can not be pursued becuase of this.

There is nothing to stop publication of the URL because its public information - anyone can access it

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you; just to be clear then... there are no grounds for a legal claim against a publisher (of comparative discount price data) provided the discount prices were publicly displayed online (without need for log-in or acceptance of T&Cs - which might explicitly forbid the copying and/ or publication of a web site's data)? Further, that there is nothing to prevent the publisher (us) publicly listing the web sites (or URLs) and prices within a publicly accessible (but paid for) spreadsheet? Lastly, where some web sites state: "by clicking the next page button, you are deemed to have accepted our T&Cs" that this would not be adequate to prevent us copying and publishing of their data without fear of legal challenge (or is this "deemed to" just as effective as an actual log-in tick box accepting any T&Cs)?
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

Correct.

Does that clarify?

Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

If this answers your question could I invite you rate my answer before you leave today.If you don't rate then the site does not pay me for the time I have spent answering your question.

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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