Scraping, data mining and data harvesting

Many websites incorporate data obtained from other websites. It is sometimes thought that, where the data obtained is not protected by copyright (e.g. data consisting of postal addresses arranged alphabetically) there are no legal problems. This is however a mistake: the collection and re-use of such data can present significant legal risks.

Email footers and the law

In deciding what to include in your standard email footers, there are two kinds of legal issue: what must be included; and what inclusions are desirable. There are various distinct statutory requirements. The main kinds of potentially desirable inclusions are email disclaimers and confidentiality notices.

Content: kinds of illegality

The publication of website content – whether textual, audio, video, or other content – can be unlawful in two main ways. It can breach the criminal law; and it can give rise to civil liability.Breaches of the criminal law may result in prosecution, and a successful prosecution may lead to a fine or even imprisonment.

International transfers of personal data

Website operators commonly transfer the personal data of their users overseas. However, the UK's Data Protection Act 1998 expressly restricts certain transfers of personal data outside the European Economic Area : “Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data”.

Dealing with website content theft

Website content theft is a common problem. Quality content can take a lot of time and effort (or money) to create – and it can be stolen in seconds by a child with a computer and a internet connection. Legal proceedings are the ultimate weapon, the nuclear option, in your armoury against website content theft. But before issuing proceedings, you should consider in detail the other options open to you.

Terms of use FAQ

This brief FAQ contains answers to some of questions I get asked on a daily basis relating to website terms and conditions. Questions covered include: what's the difference between the different types of terms and conditions? What's the point in having terms and conditions in the first place? Will good legal documents protection me from lawsuits?