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I recently came across ScrapeHero which publicly sells scraped datasets of various kinds. Store locations, product lists etc. Example: IKEA USA locations.

Is it fully OK in USA to simply state that

The data on this data store is gathered from one or more public sources.We do not claim ownership or copyrights for the data, we only charge for the effort required to gather, clean and structure the data".

I don't doubt that the information is public, but still it's money being made on other people's information. And nowhere is the source listed.

As per example of IKEA, the store locations are available in exactly same format by a simple URL.

Note: I am not from USA (so do not have knowledge in details of the legality of this) - and I have no affiliation to said online store. Just wondering.

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  • 2
    I'm selling a dataset of all even numbers up to 1,000,000. $0.25 per digit.
    – Ron Trunk
    Aug 5 at 12:45
  • 1
    @RonTrunk Do I get a per-digit discount if I want the numbers in hexadecimal?
    – doneal24
    Aug 5 at 12:50
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    @doneal24 Oh, you want the professional version! That's an optional feature. Additional charges may apply.
    – Ron Trunk
    Aug 5 at 13:40
  • @RonTrunk, does your dataset work on all popular os's? Mac OS, Linux, and Windows? Aug 5 at 20:06
  • And, @RonTrunk, do you sell it, or just lease it? Aug 5 at 20:06

1 Answer 1

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Facts are not copyrightable. Assuming Scrapehero collected these facts in a legal manner and assuming the source of these facts does not contain copyrighted (protected) material, then selling such a collection may be legal.

Of particular relevance is Feist Publications, Inc., v. Rural Telephone Service Co.. Here, Feist Publications copied Rural's phone directory into Feist's own phone directory. The supreme court found that Rural's phone directory was not copyrightable and thus not protected.

Of course, this cuts both ways. Assuming Scrapehero did not inject creativity into the data, nothing stops a recipient of such data from distributing it themselves. In practice, this probably isn't a concern for Scrapehero.

This answer is US-specific. Some countries recognize Database Rights, which may prevent such activity.

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  • Denmark is one such country where Database Rights are recognized. Explanation in Danish. When there's a certain investment (money or time/work) in a database, it's not legal to simply download it and make it available in it's interity - without permission.
    – MyICQ
    Aug 5 at 22:25

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