I intend to scrape (download all articles) from a newspaper website which has some terms and conditions listed in its footer. The part which seems to be in my interest is as follows:

You shall not copy, reproduce, republish, disassemble, decompile, reverse engineer, download, post, broadcast, transmit, make available to the public, or otherwise use the content of this website in any way except for your own personal, non-commercial use. You shall not adapt, alter or create a derivative work from any content of this website except for your own personal, non-commercial use. Any other use of the content of this website requires the prior written permission of XYZ

So does this also mean that I cannot scrape data from website and perform some analyses (machine learning and stuff) and use it to generate a report for

  1. Research purposes
  2. Commercial purposes
  • I'm not sure why you have any doubt, that term is perfectly clear: "You shall not ..."
    – user4657
    Dec 2, 2018 at 19:12
  • 3
    Probably because terms and conditions aren't the law. I suspect that's why he came looking for an answer about the law.
    – bdb484
    Dec 2, 2018 at 19:13
  • For 1., is your research "your own personal, non-commercial use"?
    – Brandin
    Dec 4, 2018 at 6:18
  • I intended to publish it on another website. No money, just journalism. Dec 5, 2018 at 1:11
  • Somewhat related: law.stackexchange.com/q/33351/4478 Sep 29, 2021 at 8:40

1 Answer 1


Yes, it does. Using the downloaded content, whether it was scraped or individually downloaded one file at a time, for research or for commercial purposes would violate that TOS provision (unless some other provision contradicts it, or you obtain specific permission). The site owner could sue you for such a violation, should the owner become aware of it. I do not think it would be likely to be a criminal offense, depending on the jurisdiction.

  • Seeing aside the question of whether anyone is actually bound by the terms and conditions, why wouldn't research be permitted as a "personal, non-commercial use"?
    – bdb484
    Dec 2, 2018 at 19:46
  • 2
    That would depend on what is meant by "research" and how the research would be used. If the research would result in a published paper, I think that would go beyond personal. If the research was the basis of the design of a commercial application, that would not be non-commercial. Of course, the site owner might not choose to sue in any case. Dec 2, 2018 at 19:55

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