I'm working on a little app that need AIS boats data. Without cracking something I've found that a website give it:


Is it legal to dump it ?

In our case, it's a free and open source mobile application.

Have a good day :)

2 Answers 2


Read the TOS: http://my.pinkfroot.com/main/authorization/termsOfService that governs the site shipfinder.co (granted, the TOS was not easy to find):

to use any manual or automated means, including agents, robots, scripts, or spiders, to access or manage any user's account or to monitor or copy this Network or the content contained therein;

it is illegal to scrape the site and use the data for your own App.

Copying all or part of another website (or any other published work, be it a book, movie, music, article, internet resource, etc.) or the data from a site is illegal.


Is it legal to scrape a website and create my own database?

I have a question about copyright. What should I read before I ask it?


In our case, it's a free and open source mobile application.

The state of the end use of the data is irrelevant, whether open or closed source.

And the idea that "my app simulated a client on their web site" is OK in technical terms, just not in terms of copyright.

  • The next time, I should try to find something more time :p Thank you too ;)
    – Servuc
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 20:20
  • Well, the TOS was not easy to find; they need to make it more apparent on the shipfinder.co site. Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 20:58
  • @BlueDogRanch I'm not confident those TOS apply to shipfinder. Can you connect those dots a little better? I mean, I see the connection and can imagine a party arguing that they apply, but it's tangential at best and I don't think reasonable to expect a user to know that those TOS govern use of data that someone leaves carelessly exposed.
    – jqning
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 3:32
  • The link to my.pinkfroot.com is at the bottom of shipfinder.co. The Pinkfoot site states "Home of Plane Finder, Ship Finder and more..." That's where the TOS is. And, just because there is "data that someone leaves carelessly exposed" doesn't negate copyright or legalize theft. Copyright begins when the data/work is created. Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 3:53
  • Copyright also generally does not apply to databases, so it's bold and likely incorrect to talk about "legalizing theft", although various jurisdictions do have separate database rights (which, in turn, further underscores how copyright itself does not apply). The problem with data scraping is generally not copyright at all, but, if anything, violating the ToS, which is binding in some jurisdictions, and mostly untested in others, although if it's not prominent and hard to find, courts in the US, at least, have definitely ruled that it isn't necessarily binding.
    – LjL
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 15:56

From what i understand, you are asking if you can use that data in your app. Yes and no. It is factual information which is not able to be copyright protected so you are fine in a legal sense.

Where the no comes into play is that it is most likely against the TOS even though i cant find them, so expect them trying to stop you. They will not want you to use their data because you are using their bandwidth and they have their own apps and wont want to supply a competitor.

  • Hum, I'm thinking the same :) This is no fun ! Thanks ;)
    – Servuc
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 14:44
  • doesn't mean you cant, just it will be a continuous battle. You might use it to get an established user base and income where you can then maybe buy the data instead of "stealing" it or you might fly under their radar and never have the fight Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 14:49
  • I don't want to get a battle ... . In fact my app simulated a client on their web site. And my app will be present on a big conference, so do that legally :D
    – Servuc
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 15:12

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