Court rules that data scraping is legal in LinkedIn appeal

It seems self-evident that public data on a website is, well, public. But, that’s never stopped people from arguing that scraping–copying data from public websites–is somehow illegal. Now, the  U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in the hiQ Labs, Inc. v. LinkedIn Corp. that LinkedIn can’t stop its competitor, hiQ Labs, from scraping LinkedIn users’ publicly available data. 

This case has been dragging on for almost five years. LinkedIn demanded in 2017 that hiQ cease and desist from scraping LinkedIn data. LinkedIn also began blocking hiQ’s access and its ability to scrape data from public LinkedIn profiles. LinkedIn argued that hiQ’s actions violated several laws, most notably the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and LinkedIn’s terms of use. 

Initially, the courts ruled that LinkedIn couldn’t block HiQ. This was followed up by the Ninth Circuit in 2019 with a decision repeating that LinkedIn couldn’t stop the startup from data scraping. As Circuit Judge Marsha Berzon ruled at the time, “there is little evidence that LinkedIn users who choose to make their profiles public maintain an expectation of privacy with respect to the information that they post publicly, and it is doubtful that they do.” 

LinkedIn, however, wasn’t done. The

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