Power.com Says Facebook Can't Block Access To User Data

from the seems-like-a-tough-claim dept

Earlier this year, we had trouble understanding Facebook’s reasoning for suing Power.com, a site that tried to aggregate a variety of social network sites into a single interface (something that seems rather useful). However, Facebook insisted that it violated its copyright, and in a slightly troubling ruling in the case, the judge seemed to find that any scraping could be copyright infringement, even if the scraping was just to get at non-infringing content. The court’s argument was that in order to get at the non-infringing content, you first have to scrape the infringing content too.

Now the case is getting odder, as Power.com has countersued Facebook, claiming that Facebook is “unlawfully withholding the data that users own (as stated in Facebook?s own ToS).” Of course, if that’s true, I’m not sure if Power.com has the standing to make that claim. Wouldn’t that be an issue for the user to raise themselves? Besides, I don’t think there’s any rule that even if a site lets you retain the copyright on content that it needs to make it easy to access. So now we have lawsuits coming from both sides that don’t make much sense. The two sites should just learn to play nicely with each other.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: facebook, power

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Comments on “Power.com Says Facebook Can't Block Access To User Data”

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fogbugzd says:

No, they can't play nice

Modern businesses cannot play nice together. The current corporate mindset says that if someone else is making money, then I must be losing money. The idea of synergies, or that another company might actually make your site more valuable is simply a concept that our multi million dollar CEO’s and the corporate lawyers cannot understand.

Jacobxx says:

Thank you Facebook

I do not want them scraping my friend’s facebooks. I just signed in with my twitter account and it had my follower’s names on there. So its not only getting YOUR information, its giving away your friend’s information. So here they want facebook to give information.. so where I have 1 or 2 twitter followers ( I don’t use twitter.. I just signed up to see what all the crap was about, not impressed), I have 500+ facebook friends. So if they scraped my profile, I would be consenting to give them 500+ names/emails/etc which are NOT mine to give away. THANK YOU FACEBOOK. This lawsuit is bullshit.

Anonymous Coward says:

“I don’t think there’s any rule that even if a site lets you retain the copyright on content that it needs to make it easy to access.”

It’s an issue of facebook not giving Power.com a legal means of accessing user information on facebook. Power.com is basically arguing that to the extent they don’t allow Power.com to legally obtain user data then facebook is liable.

“Wouldn’t that be an issue for the user to raise themselves?”

Well, then all Power.com employees have to do is make a facebook account and then they become users. Now they have standing to sue.

Ben (user link) says:

As if Power.com has any right

As a Facebook user I don’t see where Power.com thinks they get any right to view or use any data of mine that I have not given them permission to use or access. I remember reading the license agreement when I signed up, and I remember giving that permission to Facebook and it’s affiliates, but it certainly doesn’t sound to me like Power.com is an affiliate of Facebook. So personally I think Power.com should go find themselves some of their own data and stop crying that they don’t have access to data that doesn’t belong to them, and that they don’t have permission to use or access from the USERS of the platform.

Hoeppner says:

Face book does have the right to block data access. The data is hosted on their servers and costs related transferring that data elsewhere is footed by them(even if the accessor does so as well). If a company can’t defend themselves from extensively heavy users because “the data is useful” it would just be wrong, even if that’s not the purpose that would be the precedence it sets.

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