What are the legal risks if you steal a database?

A customer of Teoalida’s Car Database, previously a customer of CarListDB.com, forwarded me the following email received by him from glassguide.com.au:

Hi John

It has come to our attention that you purchased an Australian database of motor vehicle information from CarlistDB on the 15th of October.

Glass’s has taken legal action against CarLIstDB as it had illegally acquired Glass’s data and Intellectual property and re sold them to you with authority of licence to do so.

As Part of its settlement CarlistDB has provided your details to us as one of its customers for Australian automotive data.
CarlistDB has as a result ceased trading and its Website has been shut down

As such, could you please contact me before Close of Business Thursday,12 th of March to either confirm in writing that you have either removed all the Data you acquired from CarlistDB from your systems, databases and records or if you would like to continue to use this data, to contact me to discuss the annual licence fees that are required to be paid.

Kind Regards
Nick Adamidis
Marketing and Sales Manager

Glass’s Information Services Pty Ltd
“The Automotive Data and Residual Value Specialists”

48 La Trobe Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
A.B.N 44 004 382 478

 

What happened: CarListDB.com appeared in 2012, selling a very good US Year-Make-Model-Trim car database 1904-2013 for $99 with quarter-year updates. Everything fine. In 2013 I made my own US Year-Make-Model without trim 1945-2013 sourcing data from Wikipedia and I was selling for about 50 euro. In mid-2014 CarListDB was redesigned, now selling 4 different databases, US, Canada, UK and Australia, each one for $29, making a serious competition with me. Few months later, in early 2015, CarListDB website disappeared from the web. I was not aware what happened until one of their customers sent me the above email, saying that these 4 databases were actually created by GlassGuide.com.au and resold illegally.

 

I know one more website which also died in 2015: Pluup.com, founded in 2009, redesigned in January 2012, it was selling 4 car databases as well as mobile phone and digital camera databases. Does anyone know if website gone via a legal action or was simply abandoned by owners?

Numerous people purchasing Teoalida’s Car Database also purchased previously a database from www.pluup.com and told me that their database is very bad quality, many cells empty, values in wrong column (some cars having 1.5m length and 4-5m height). Pluup.com done almost everything possible to trick people purchasing their bad quality database. They showed on website the fields included in the database in list form, but no samples were provided, to prevent you seeing how many fields have empty values, although people told me that they could obtain samples by contacting them. Website also had 5 testimonials written with same english tone, proving that they were written by same person, most likely website admin. You could subscribe to monthly updates, but according customers no updates were provided. They also had paid adwords in Google. Website remained unchanged for years. As 2015 when website gone, it was still stating US database 2000-2011 and Europe / UK database 1990-2013. Quite obvious that no updates were provided. Conclusion the website was most likely created by one person willing to get rich with minimum of effort, scrapping data from another website instead of creating from own research.

Pluup.com (very colorful website) was my source of inspiration when I redesigned my car database page, from a single page of text into a sub-website with databases arranged in 3-column grid and each database having own description page, also colorful, after talking with this funny customer who preferred Pluup database over my database, paying attention to better website design and not data quality. Over years people realized that Pluup is not updating their databases and this raised sales of Teoalida’s Car Database.

 

Teoalida’s Car Database is also one-person business, but I actually CARE of data quality even if the website design may be not the best. Please respect my effort in creating manually an original database for Europe, via own research sourcing data from books, since 2003, and not stealing data from other website.

For American database Year-Make-Model-Trim-Specs made in 2014 I source data from Edmunds.com who is also providing API and this makes legal to use their data. However, after receiving the above email, I started questioning if is legal to scrap data from other websites, as I did in 2015 for India car database at insistence of numerous indians, scrapping data from Carwale.com.

Conclusion

You should make your own database or buy database from data providers that create original databases via own research and not steal from other data providers.

Sourcing data from books and using in websites is 100% legal.

Scrapping data from a website and selling to other people may have a small risk of lawsuit if you buy data to use on your website (and not personal research)

But if you buy database from a website selling databases and you resell it, there is a high risk to die in a lawsuit like CarListDB.com. BEWARE!

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