I want to create a review website for a specific sector where visitors can browse through the different businesses, get information about them, rank and write reviews.

As for the business model, it'll focus on affiliation, lead generation and listing charges.

My plan is to "scrape" contact data (as in businesses names, web addresses, emails and phone numbers and not sites' generated descriptions or visitors' generated reviews ) and create my own dataset that I will use as a starting point for a new website.

It's going to be a one-time process to create an initial dataset, which will be later filled with an original content.

My own business is registered in Israel but the websites are US based. They contain information about businesses all over the world.

My question is whether this is considered legal, as I'm only going to use contact info (so called- factual data) that is publicly available.

Furthermore, the data will be collected from various sources meaning the collection itself will be original, or is it?

  • The fact that content comes from multiple sources does not make a compilation of that content, an original creation.
    – user4657
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 11:03
  • I see. But even if it's not original, is the particular type of data I intend to scrape protected ?
    – yohairosen
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 14:36
  • What do the terms of each individual website say?
    – user4657
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


A website provides a service to its visitors. The content has taken time and effort to compile and therefore has a value. To allow someone to come along and copy the content does not make sense, as it reduces the motivation for people to run such businesses. Hence the user agreements or terms and conditions for accessing the website usually include clauses that do not allow copying of content, including the use of web bots and scrapers. The user agreements or T&Cs are often provided as a link in the footer of a website. Whilst each bit of individual contact data may be available from other public sources, the sum of all the individual bits of data arranged on a website can be regarded as a published work. Therefore generally website scraping is illegal because of A) By using the website you agree to its conditions of use. B) The website as a whole is a published work and copying a non-trivial portion of it violates copyright.

It is also likely that scraping data from websites may violate data protection laws of certain states and countries. Just because you can read a piece of data off a website does not mean that data is free to be used by others as they like. (Though many nefarious groups do.)

The best thing to do is only use the data if the T&Cs say you can use the data. Which is highly unlikely.

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