We are a humble startup that's very good at Internet crawling and data mining. Unfortunately after 2 years of struggling, we may soon fail.

We have lots of data and we want to release them free before we go under. However as our data collections are so massive, downloading from our servers won't be a good option. Even P2P downloading would cost massive amount of bandwidth and time. It's much more efficient to just send the data in storage devices such as USB drives or discs to the users.

As you can see from here, we currently have 1,287 web sites crawled and mined with all their data semantically extracted and constantly updated in our cloud. An example data set from one of the sites is like this, well structured with both texts and images.

Eventually we would have hundreds of thousands or even millions of websites collected. We would have PBs of data in our cloud which we will need to distribute to the fellow users.

We have to charge for a fee for this, e.g. for the storage devices and shipping, etc.

We are not merchandising the data which are not copyrighted by us, of course, but we have to charge a fee for all other things that went into it. And we will properly attribute each data set to the original website.

My question is can we do this legally? Is it possible at all to distribute all the data of the Internet this way?

  • 2
    We can't give legal advice on specific situations,which includes "can we do this legally". You'll need to hire a lawyer who knows the laws in your jurisdiction and can advise you on the specific risks here. Aug 15, 2018 at 16:06
  • You need to make this question less about your own situation and more about the legal pillars under it. Like "Is it legal to distribute publicly available content?" and "Is it legal to distribute content that once was publicly available?" And I guess the answers will depend on what the content was and under what licence it was published.
    – Greendrake
    Aug 16, 2018 at 11:25

1 Answer 1


You want to sell or distribute Intellectual Property owned by other entities? Depending on the jurisdiction it's likely that you will need permission from the IP owner.

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