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back to article Ryanair begins screen-scraping lawsuit

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 …

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Joke

state very clearly that you can't make any commercial use of our website

so I guess they don't want people booking business flights with them?

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Anonymous Coward

I'm impressed

Presumably the likes of Expedia and Bravofly are using Ryanair's web site data to sell tickets?

In that case, I am very impressed! I'm impressed that they manage to work out how much the tickets are!

Having bought tickets from Ryanair, I know that the price published on their web site bears absolutely no resemblance to reality - £1 "bargain" tickets end up costing about 80 quid (once you add on checking in costs and baggage costs and "going for a piss" costs, or the cost of checking in a bag varying inversely proportionally to the price of the ticket.

Maybe Ryanair are trying to stop Bravofly because they are frightened someone might catch on to their fairytale pricing structure.

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Sure there's an extra service to passengers!

I love sites like skyscanner and bravofly - they show me in one page, what day and time - over a week/month - the cheapest flight from A to B is.

Now that is Value Added as I see it, rather than checking loads of days for different airlines on different sites.

That O'Leary guy is just sore because it makes it too easy to buy the cheapest seats.

It'll be about £1 more if you click through the site rather than go direct to the airline, but then you run the risk of the price changing while you're mucking around - and the change could well be much more than £1.

You pays yer moolah.

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RE: I'm impressed

Ryan Airs £1 bargain flights are £1 if you fly at the right times, plus TAX of course...Basically Expedia etc go through the whole system like you would and get the final price at the end.

Whilst they are getting RyanAir business they are obviously making money out of it, otherwise they wouldn't be doing it and according to the terms and conditions of using the site your not allowed to do that as it is for commercial profit, maybe they should reword the t&c's to say not to be used for commercial gain.

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Hats off to Bravofly

They actually managed to get Ryanair's web site to work well enough to get a price. Took my partner 4 goes, and still it failed.

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Pirate

Screen scraping

So if one company reads the data of another from their website and re-publishes that data on their own site, does that mean that they have broken copyright law? Is data such as this protected under copyright?

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How dare they show there are cheaper flights!!

"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.

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Easyjet

Aren't Easyjet fighting for the same thing ??

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Black Helicopters

On air travel ...

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/dayart/20080618/Cartoon20080618.gif

'nuff said ...

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Alert

Hey if it works...

...in Opera, it's definitely helping them sell tickets.

Am I the only one who has gone all the way through the process to find that nothing happens when you click the final "buy now" button?

Ah well, when the oil drought hits aviation fuel a bit harder, Ryanair will be first against the wall -- their target market will be the first to stop flying.

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@Dave

If I can choose not to pay the tax then quoting the price without tax makes sense.

In order to get the £1 tickets I think you need to fly with your living great-grand-parents on the first Thursday after a blue moon in a leap year.

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Transparent pricing

I heard a Ryanair representative on the radio here in Ireland claiming that their pricing is completely transparent to the consumer.

This was in response to the question "why do you charge a credit card fee for each passenger, even when all passengers are paid for in one transaction?"

Like someone above pointed out, this is purely about Ryanair trying to make their pricing "completely transparent" (i.e. as obscure as possible) to the consumer,

so that they cannot easily compare fares without going through the laborious booking process with all the opt-out fees.

They are Scum.

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@ Hey if it works...

i have never had any problems with opera, except when i was booking a flight for 1 quid each way or something. tried with firefox and explorer ( i have windows at work ) too and same result.

prices were the same the day after, still no luck.

day 3 and everything was back to normal, working and all. but total was 105 quid. coincidence or what?

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@Anonymous Coward

'Ah well, when the oil drought hits aviation fuel a bit harder, Ryanair will be first against the wall -- their target market will be the first to stop flying.'

Sadly, for all sorts of reasons - environmental and moral - RyanAir will be one of the last companies to hit the wall. They've got a modern fleet that sips less fuel, they run at very high load values and they aren't tied into the expensive major hubs so they can switch routes easily enough. Not to mention their scamtastic marketing suckers people into buying flights with them when the final cost is only a little less than flying with an airline which gives a damn* and takes you where you want to go and not a tin shed in the wrong time zone.

The ones that are going to go are the heavily indebted fleets with archaic business practices, protected by anti-competitve legislation, massive pension commitments and total reliance on big airports. Which is pretty much the whole of the American airline industry with the possible exception of SouthWest.

* SAS if you must know - no not the blokes in balaclavas.

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Affiliate channel

Affiliate marketing is particularly poor in the travel industry - I have an interest in a business which provides accommodation in the US and we'd love to offer flights from our site, but there's no APIs or affiliate programs which make it possible or worth the time/effort.

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Tom
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t&c crap

"according to the terms and conditions of using the site your not allowed to do that "

Just because they put something in the terms and conditions it's not the law.

If I set up a website and say "by visiting this site you agree to pay me $100" are you going to pay me? If I put it in the t&c, you have to pay me right? I'll add a nice paypal link to make it easy for you.

They might have a point if the first page was the T&C and you had to agree to them before you could continue.

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Coat

Ryanair barrel-scraping

Anybody discover the t&c about wheelchair charges - fair!

Mines the Green One with a Shamrock - I fly Aer Lingus

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Unhappy

http://flightchecker.moneysavingexpert.com/

Will this be next?

It's true though - Ryanair is scum. O'Leary slags off the ASA when it rules against him... and then uses it against EasyJet when it suits him! He put(s) a "wheelchair tax" on every fare cos he had a fight with the airports over who was going to pay to provide assistance for the disabled. He is happy to go on about how expensive the top train fares are, yet NOBODY KNOWS how expensive his top fares are because he can charge whatever the computer program calculates the customer can stand. And he dismisses complaints with a "what do you expect paying so little?" when some people clearly pay far more.

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Paris Hilton

Is this what Webwise/Phorm/BT does?

Ok the method is slightly different as Phorm would get the initial screen scape via their in-line DPI spyware unbeknown to the innocent subscriber/ISPcustomer who has most probably innocently opted into the BT WebWise system and is browsing the copyright site.

Nevertheless, it surely must be the same copyright laws the person really responsible (Phorm / BT? ) could be breaking.

Oh... is that the share price I can see dipping?

Paris, because she knows a thing about losing privacy,

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Coat

Screen Scrapeing

Screen scraping on this scale is done by some reasonably chunky servers, surely its not beyond the intelligence of the Easyjet/Ryanair IT depts to work out the IP addresses of the servers from their logs and block them. While there might be a bit of address hoping going on, it won't be much.

Or is this all just a publicity stunt?

Mines the one with the blacklist in the pocket ......

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Stop

Search Engines?

From what I understand from the article, sites like Expedia and Bravofly function as search engines, except that unlike Google, Yahoo et. al. who scrape the entire Internet, these sites confine their scraping to airline sites. Now, when Google scrapes my company's websites, they display part of the content of our sites on their SERPs - along with those of our competitors. We of course don't have a problem with that, since most of our traffic comes from SERPs and this drives most of our revenue. We could say that Google is effectively violating our copyright by so displaying the content of our sites on their pages, yet if we were to make a stink about that, we would be cutting our own throats.

So it seems to me that if Ryanair win this case, that would potentially make ALL search engines by their very nature illegal. I can think of a number of powerful entities who might like this to become the case, yet the Internet would be very much the poorer for it. Any sane judge in this case would need to consider the precedent it sets very damn carefully!

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Alert

So what if Bravo actually typed them in?

Would it be legal for BravoFly to employ someone to actually read the information and type it in again in their database? If it is, then what's the difference in getting a computer to do the same stuff?

Besides, terms and conditions of a website are legally dubious unless they're merely reaffirming a right already granted by law, such as copyright. Otherwise I might create a site which states "You hereby accept and agree to pay me a couple of grand every week for the next year." Oh, and price lists cannot be copyrighted.

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Wouldn't be so bad if...

Their website actually worked!!

I spent over two hours last night trying to book a flight to Dublin for 14 people, every time I entered all of the passenger names and clicked next, the damn thing kept timing out..

Useless Bastards!

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Alert

Bravo does add value!

And the point is: I can see in one go who's got the cheapest ticket. And guess what, at times British Airways is cheaper then Ryanair...

Tell you what, lately I just fly normal airlines. We are talking about a save of 50 quid, in EU, and for business pourposes it isn't worth the pain of flying low-cost.

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Paris Hilton

Grey area

I think any case hinges on whether Ryanair is able to restrict someone else from selling their flights. Technically they own the data and the form in which is presented and this copyrightable in an electronic form. It might, however, be difficult to claim a restrictive copyright over price information. There have been similar cases for telephone books - electronic copies are illegal but copies made manually are perfectly legit.

Personally I hope the tax parasites lose as it will be a case of the biter bit: Ryanair's business model is based on sucking up state subsidies and fooling the customer rather than efficient practices.

Paris, because she's more intelligent than Ryanair's web site.

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@Chris Priest

Allegedly the time out is a "feature" (for Ryanair at least) which allows them to sell you a higher fare because you end up starting again and all of a sudden the fare has gone up but you proceed anyway just to get it over with.

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