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back to article Meta search engines may infringe database rights: EU Court of Justice

Operators of websites in the EU that allow users to search for content on other sites and then display the information on their own site may be in breach of intellectual property laws as a result of a recent ruling by the EU's highest court. In a judgment issued last month, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) said that …

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Anonymous Coward

This seems eminently reasonable.

This kind of aggregation is a combination of web scraping and freeloading on someone else's work, nothing at all like linking to an article.

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@Anonymous Coward: Re: This seems eminently reasonable.

"This kind of aggregation is a combination of web scraping and freeloading on someone else's work, which is pretty much what Web 2.0 is built upon so this might mean big changes in the way the web operates, and yet more Googlebucks spent on lobbying, various front organizations, and of course individual Google Tools."

That's probably what you meant to say, right? If so, then +1 insightful.

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Amen

I'm fed up going to sites that are just links to othersites padded out with adverts.

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Holmes

Keep your cars then.

Next: Moaning that people won't come to your site demeans your intellectual property.

Sure, it would be nice to have a REST interface and get pay 0.01 EUROCENT per query...

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Operators of websites […] that allow users to search for content on other sites and then display the information on their own site may be in breach of intellectual property laws

Explain to me how this is not precisely how all web search works. You type in something to search for, google searches other people's websites for matching content, and then displays the results on their own website, alongside some ads.

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A Google presents the results for terms relevant to a subset of pages across multiple web sites. These sites on the other hand present what is often little more than a new front end for the complete content of a site owned by other people, the contents of which they present under their own front end. I've noticed many websites do something similar with tech question and answer format websites, so you find e.g. the same Stack Overflow question and answer thread republished in its entry multiple times over. It's easy to deal with if Stack Overflow is in the list, just go to Stack Overflow, but for other websites where they are not so well established, often it is difficult to know who the true source is. The true source will find it difficult to build and maintain a brand. They don't get all the credit they deserve for their work. Also often the clones have bad performance which is really bloody annoying if you are grazing across multiple results (though of course the originals also often have bad performance, but it is worse for the clones). I find it rather annoying when websites do this, plus I personally think it is wholly wrong. Ditto the same problem encountered when booking hotels (especially when you can't find the authentic hotel website and all the others deliberately hide the telephone number because they don't want you going direct to the hotel, when and the telephone number for the hotel is all you want to f*!%*ing well look-up). ditto when booking theatre tickets.

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I like the thumbs down without the explanation - I'm not saying "Search engines are evil and wrong", I'm saying "Doesn't this ruling mean that what all search engines do is infringing, and if not, why not".

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Hi,

a normal web search searches for content on a site, displays a small part (not all) and provides a link to the actuall site.

The small part which is displayed helps you to find the results that are relevant to you, but most of the information is not displayed and in the end you end up on the page from which the content originates.

They do not "display the information on their own site" in any significant way and hence do not breach intellectual property laws.

Meta searches though, use other search engines (say, google, yahoo and bing, all at the same time) and use the information those other engines provided (aka the snippets and links), do something with it (like grouping by first letter, if that is what you want) and displays those results.

The Results will also link to the original pages (those, that were found by google, yahoo and bing), but here a database (googles, yahoos and bings in my case) was queried and their results used without the user actually going to their (google, yahoo, bing) frontends (and hence without generating any add revenue for them, which is the problem)

If the meta-search is only a copy of the engine they use (only a free text field, that let's you enter a search string) without providing additional options (like... an option to group websites by dominant color sheme for example), then they would use "content [from] other sites and then display the infomration on their own site" which would breach intellectual property law.

TL;DR:

Displaying a snippet from a site, causing the user to go to that site in the end (which is what search engines do) -> legal

Using other search engines and displaying their findings as if they were your own without increasing the value of the result or linking back to them -> not legal.

I hope this answerd your question ^^

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So, for instance, Google Image Search?

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You get a low-res image. If it's of any interest you click on the image and get more details and a "visit page" link for the site that hosts the original image. How is this bad?

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Paris Hilton

The Google angle...?

Google has aspects of its search (such as "shopping results") that will surely be impacted here... or will they just ignore it all again anyway?

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The 'sui generis' database right only allows a creator to stop others using a database or the information in it if the investment of time, money and skill in that original database is large enough.

Does this have any impact on 'security' firms that provide filtering based in part on following their customers around the net and shadowing every visit to any website, thereby executing what could be seen as a replay attack?

They're accessing the pages stored on websites - many of which are effectively stored within databases - and doing so for commercial purposes to help support their own services. And without consent of the website operators I might add.

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Uh...did they just say DuckDuckGo was illegal?

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Insurance comparison sites?

Does this mean that comparison sites would be illegal?

If it means the end of the meercats and the opera singer I think I could live with that.

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Holmes

"Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com"(tm)(c)(r)

Is that actually the official company name now?

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