I just learned that scrapping the web is not always as legal as I thought it is. Apperantly a website can prohibit in its Terms Of Service the use of webscrappers for their website.

The translator deepl.com has a API which costs money. However, on Github one guy published a tool that allows everyone to implement the functionality of deepl.com in its own programms. He basically wrote a free API.

Do I assume correctlty that this guy makes himself liable to prosecution? Is it illegal aswell to use his tool (1) and publish free software using it on Github (2)?


Assuming that DeepL has terms of use whoich prohibit access except via their paid API, that prohibits unauthorized use.

Writing code to access it anyway, as an exercise, would not be illegal. Using such code as an unofficial API might well violate DeepL's TOS, and thus be subject to a suit. Providing the API might be contributing to such unlawful actiuons, if the provider knew it was likely to be so used.

It might, in the US, be considered a circumvention of a technical measure restricting access, and thus prohibited under the DMCA. If that is the case, the writer might be violating the DMCA also, as it prohibits creating and distributing "means" of circumvention.

  • So I better stop my project which made use of it. Thank you! – Mr.Sh4nnon Jul 11 '19 at 17:44
  • @Mr.Sh4nnon Check what the DeepL TOS says. If they don't forbid scraping, that makes a difference. – David Siegel Jul 11 '19 at 17:48
  • Well, I am insecure. DeepL’s TOS for the free service is really really short (deepl.com/en/pro-license.html#free). In the paid service’s TOS they write alot about their API and how one can not use it. I‘m not a lawyer. Reading your answer and their free versions‘ TOS I‘d say I‘m okay using a selfmade API for an app which I upload free on Github. However, this can‘t be true can it? They must have be prepared for this to happen. – Mr.Sh4nnon Jul 11 '19 at 18:16

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