Data scraping and related legal issues in India

May 122020

Every business runs from data not only in India but across the world as well. From manufacturers to retailers and purchasers, it is extremely important that there must be data that contains each and every details of everybody involved in a particular business. Even surveys from renowned companies nowadays collect data and manage statistics in order to give their best to the customers in this cut-throat business world. These data can be copyrighted as well and the Patent Attorney in India is the one who receives and processes all the applications related to filing Intellectual Property Rights in India.
Data is pulled out from a very prominent practice known as Data scraping. Data scraping software is designed and developed in such a way that it pulls out the necessary data required from the business and fetches every detail. This has become a very popular practice now and can be seen in all forms of the business whether it is a large business or a small entity.

Data Scraping in detail
Data Scraping which is also known as web scraping is a very popular method where a computer software is used to obtain or pull out necessary data into a readable format from any website. There are few very small businesses who choose to copy/paste data from other websites as an alternative to data scraping but that takes relatively a lot of time and effort which is actually not worth the output. This is because when you are done with copy and pasting the data, you need to arrange in a readable format so that others can understand it too but with the help of data scraping, huge data can be obtained without the need of formatting them as the software does everything for you. This comes very handy in the businesses like e-commerce where the customer data is in millions.

Need for Data scraping
Data scraping is the need of the hour and every business nowadays is adopting it as it saves time, money and efforts and pulls out accurate data from the websites that too in a very less time. The time when an organisation is dependent on computer software more as compared to humans, data scraping erases manual efforts that further lowers down the chances of human errors resulting in accurate and precise data.

Legal aspects of data scraping
Data scraping is a very simple yet powerful process which is being used worldwide to pull out data but since this process involves copying and pasting of data from different websites, legal aspects come into picture as well.

Copyright Act involved in data scraping
Pulling out data from different websites which is not created by you involves copyright issues as well. Although the majority of businesses use data scraping to benefit their own businesses, some of the cases have come into picture where the misuse of this process was observed. In such cases, both the content creator and the importer have to face legal consequences. According to section 2(o) of the Copyright Act 1957, scraped data is a compiled data and hence it comes under the category of literary work for which a separate copyright can be taken.

What should content importers do
If you, as an importer finds yourself amidst copyright infringement, you will be punished by the law unless you prove yourself to be innocent. Since data scraping involves the process of pulling out the data from various websites, there is always a chance that you might find yourself in trouble for copyright infringements. In order to save yourself from the hands of law, the content creator must prove that there was at least some degree of creativity involved in the compiled data. Since copyright law protects original work, if you prove that the compiled data had some input from you, that will no longer be considered as the original work and you will be saved.

What should content creators do
Being a content creator if you have taken a copyright on your work from the Patent Attorney in India and find somebody infringing your original work, you must establish your ownership on the work and prove to the law that the infringer does not fall within fair use exception under the copyright section 52. If found guilty, the infringer will be dealt with strictly by the law.

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