Europe: CJEU - Dedicated Meta Search Engine Infringes Database Rights (Autotrack v Gaspedaal)

by DLA Piper
Contact

On 19 December 2013 the Court of Justice of the European Union rendered an important judgment concerning the interpretation of Article 7 of Directive 96/9/EC regarding the legal protection of databases (the 'Database Directive'), in the context of the dedicated meta search engine www.gaspedaal.nl.
The CJEU's decision effectively bans the 'scraping' of databases, and provides a strong incentive to those who invest in the setting up and operation of a database.

This decision will be welcomed by websites that have compiled their own databases and do not wish third parties to scrape their data and pass it on to the public. On the other hand, websites which aggregate data from third party websites (even if only in response to user queries) should consider auditing their data usage, and ensuring they have appropriate licences to allow them to make the desired use of third party data.

Background

The CJEU was asked preliminary questions in this case C-201/12 between Innoweb B.V. ('Innoweb') on the one side and Wegener ICT Media B.V. and Wegener Mediaventions B.V. ('Wegener') on the other, by the Appeal Court of The Hague in the Netherlands.

Wegener runs the website www.autotrack.nl on which Wegener provides access to an online collection of second-hand car ads. Users of the website are enabled to carry out targeted searches for a vehicle on the basis of various criteria such as the make, model, mileage, price, year of manufacture and colour of vehicles. Innoweb runs the website www.gaspedaal.nl, a so-called 'dedicated meta search engine', which enables users to, through a single query, conduct searches of various third party websites, including www.autotrack.nl.

The questions asked of the CJEU were intended to ascertain whether the maker of a protected database such as www.autotrack.nl can prevent the database from being included for no consideration in the service of a dedicated meta search engine, such as www.gaspedaal.nl.

The CJEU's decision

The CJEU decided that the act on the part of the operator of a dedicated meta search engine such as www.gaspedaal.nl, which is intended to translate the queries keyed in by its end users into the search engine of a protected database, constitutes 'making available' the contents of the protected database within the meaning of Article 7(2)(b) of the Database Directive. More specifically, the CJEU decided that the dedicated meta search engine re-utilises the whole or a substantial part of the contents of a database protected under Article 7 of the Database Directive where that dedicated meta search engine:

  • provides the end user with a search form which essentially offers the same range of functionality as the search form on the database site
  • 'translates' queries from end users into the search engine for the database site 'in real time', so that all the information on that database is searched through, and
  • presents the results to the end user using the format of its website, grouping duplications together into a single block item but in an order that reflects criteria comparable to those used by the search engine of the database site concerned for presenting results.


In the view of the CJEU, making the dedicated meta search engine www.gaspedaal.nl available on the internet, comes close to the manufacture of a parasitical competing product as referred to in recital 42 of the Database Directive. The dedicated meta search engine resembles a database, but without actually containing the data.

Wider implications

This decision will be welcomed by websites that have compiled their own databases and do not wish third parties to scrape their data and pass it on to the public. On the other hand, websites which aggregate data from third party websites (even if only in response to user queries) should consider auditing their data usage, and ensuring they have appropriate licences to allow them to make the desired use of third party data.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© DLA Piper | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

DLA Piper
Contact
more
less

DLA Piper on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.