Does XBMC and XBMC Media Center end-users have permission to scrape imdb.com website?

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rodalpho Offline
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Post: #31
Yep.
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marlboroman1 Offline
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Post: #32
would it not be quicker to back up your existing imdb.xml and the overwrite the new one
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smcnally75 Offline
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Post: #33
ultrabrutal Wrote:The first thing that springs to mind when looking at the site, is... Who owns the copyright of fanart and posters? I think there is a grey area there also I'm afraid Sad

offtopic: spiff, have looked into the api info. looks easy to use. any indications on speed vs the others?

For what it is worth, just the act of backing up your movies onto a hard drive violates DRM laws. The use of any photos and/or artwork without the original artists consent is a copyright violation...You pointing it out doesn't do anything but require the team to either act like they didn't see your post or remove those features to avoid getting in trouble. Without your comments, they can simply wait until they are contacted by the offended parties and asked to remove the infringing features (which may never come). If you want something like XBMC that is 100% legal then I would suggest you shell out the $20,000 for a Kaleidescape system...otherwise I would kindly ask that you stop trying to find everything that could possibly be wrong with XBMC and enjoy it.
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ultrabrutal Offline
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Post: #34
smcnally75 Wrote:For what it is worth, just the act of backing up your movies onto a hard drive violates DRM laws. The use of any photos and/or artwork without the original artists consent is a copyright violation...You pointing it out doesn't do anything but require the team to either act like they didn't see your post or remove those features to avoid getting in trouble. Without your comments, they can simply wait until they are contacted by the offended parties and asked to remove the infringing features (which may never come). If you want something like XBMC that is 100% legal then I would suggest you shell out the $20,000 for a Kaleidescape system...otherwise I would kindly ask that you stop trying to find everything that could possibly be wrong with XBMC and enjoy it.

So basicly what you are saying is that it's ok to "steal" as long as the person you steal from doesn't find out. If he finds out you kindly give the "stolen" goods back and all is forgotten.

The DRM laws does not apply to all countries. USA law is not global you know.

I never asked spiff to remove the scrapers. I just wanted to know if XBMC had permission. XBMC does not violate any laws more than a legal gun in your drawer does. XBMC is licensed under GPL so it wants others to respect this license right? Why should XBMC not follow others licenses? Because you don't care about licenses?
If a feature in XBMC violates a law in your country I think it's up to you to refrain from using the feature basicly.
I don't think IMDB would sue XBMC... For once, there is no money in XBMC, secondly again USA law does not apply to the world. However IMDB's business is their website and their database and not providing their data freely to anyone who wants it.

As for the fan art. Ofcourse the copyright belongs to the studio, but aren't it often based on free press kits? I can only see it as good free adverticing for the movies. The info typed into imdb's database however is another story. The info is not owned by the studios. Ofcourse a written consent about using the art work from the studios would be prefered but how would one come about it? But I think this is another story than borrowing data from imdb's database without their consent
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nalthien Offline
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Post: #35
I would honestly like to believe this is going to be a non-issue in another week or two. Bringing it up is fine; and Team-XBMC is already talking with IMDB to secure proper permission to use their data. Should IMDB refuse (as is their right to do,) others have suggested some solid ways to resolve this problem.

I'd be frustrated to lose IMDB too--but you never know until you ask. Smile
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smcnally75 Offline
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Post: #36
ultrabrutal Wrote:So basicly what you are saying is that it's ok to "steal" as long as the person you steal from doesn't find out. If he finds out you kindly give the "stolen" goods back and all is forgotten.

No, what I'm saying is that there are a lot of gray areas with stuff like this. For the most part, a lot of companies wouldn't bother giving the team a hard time about it unless someone made a stink about it. Just as the movie industry wouldn't crack down on a person in the US storing their own DVD's on a hard drive unless somebody else was crying foul and they needed to set an example. IMO, it isn't our place to bring up what could be legal and illegal. Just as you said yourself, US laws aren't global...We should leave those decisions up to the team and if any corporations get upset they will let the team know right away by ordering a cease and desist letter. I personally think calling site scraping for movie data "stealing" is a stretch. Especially when all the info on IMDB is user submitted.
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ultrabrutal Offline
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Post: #37
smcnally75 Wrote:No, what I'm saying is that there are a lot of gray areas with stuff like this. For the most part, a lot of companies wouldn't bother giving the team a hard time about it unless someone made a stink about it. Just as the movie industry wouldn't crack down on a person in the US storing their own DVD's on a hard drive unless somebody else was crying foul and they needed to set an example. IMO, it isn't our place to bring up what could be legal and illegal. Just as you said yourself, US laws aren't global...We should leave those decisions up to the team and if any corporations get upset they will let the team know right away by ordering a cease and desist letter. I personally think calling site scraping for movie data "stealing" is a stretch. Especially when all the info on IMDB is user submitted.

So now you want to censor me? wtf

Yes the decisions are up to the team. I just kindly asked because I was curious. I never told spiff to disable the two scrapers! Heck I use IMDB scraper too you know!

I used stealing as a parallel to what you were saying, dude. IMDB clearly states that they won't allow scrapers and robots to grab their data. If XBMC does not respect this, then they can shove their GPL up their butts. How can you ask for respect if you give out none yourself?
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Jester Offline
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Post: #38
glances up at the subforum description:
Scraper Development Developers forum for meta data scrapers. Scraper developers only!
Not for posting feature requests or end-user support requests!

can we stop this now as this is starting to get out of hand....

Current XBMC Platform: ATV2
Extra XBMC Platform: Raspberry Pi
Read the iOS FAQ
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natethomas Offline
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Post: #39
One of the fun things about the law is that each word has its own meaning. If you use the wrong word, you mean something else.

The reason I bring this up is to point out that "stealing" is not against the law in any state, to my knowledge. "Theft" of personal property (i.e. physical objects) is. However, intellectual property (code, ideas, etc.) is not personal property (once again, a physical object), which means the improper use of it is technically not theft.

What it technically is can be a whole bunch of other things, like "copyright infringement." As such, smcnally is more accurate in saying there is gray area here, since most copyright law is relatively new and/or untried in federal/state court, so none of us (being lawyers) know what any of the rules are, exactly. This is doubly true for computer-related IP, as fair-use laws and rulings are a maximum of about 35 years old.

So, just to make my point wholely clear, so long as no one is making a profit or causing others to massively lose profit, odds are no one is going to sue anyone else, because the cost of figuring out exactly what the law is in court is COMPLETELY not worth it.

Of course, with that said, asking permission is always a good idea.
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theophile Offline
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Post: #40
X2

IMDB cannot claim intellectual property rights over mere factual data. Titles and cast lists of movies are mere factual data and most of the plot synopses are user-contributed, so IMDB has no claim of right over them anyway, unless there is a clause saying that any user-contributed data becomes the intellectual property of IMDB.

Even so, the fact that XBMC is rearranging and reformatting the data could qualify it for fair use exceptions even if the data were intellectual property.

In short, a website's TOS is not a legally binding document. IMDB's policy on screen-scraping amounts to nothing more than a request which users may decline at their option.
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theophile Offline
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Post: #41
ultrabrutal Wrote:If XBMC does not respect this, then they can shove their GPL up their butts. How can you ask for respect if you give out none yourself?
The GPL is a software license. It is a legally binding document. A TOS is not, unless a user is explicitly required to accept it in order to use the website. If it does, it becomes a license.

License = contract
Terms of use /= contract
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ultrabrutal Offline
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Post: #42
Maybe you are right. I have no idea. I'm not a lawyer or judge and whether or not they own the copyright of the data in their database is not up to me to judge. Let's hope you are correct, but I think that the team needs alittle more solid ground inother to reenable the disabled scrapers. Can you provide this? That would be great thanks
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theophile Offline
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Post: #43
Quote:Many web sites make you click on “agree” to the terms and conditions before going on, but Ticketmaster does not. Further, the terms and conditions are set forth so that the customer needs to scroll down the home page to find and read them. Many customers instead are likely to proceed to the event page of interest rather than reading the “small print.” It cannot be said that merely putting the terms and conditions in this fashion necessarily creates a contract with any one using the web site.
Ticketmaster Corp. v. Tickets.Com, Inc., 2000 WL 525390, 3 (C.D.Cal., 2000).

Quote:[A]n offeree, regardless of apparent manifestation of his consent, is not bound by inconspicuous contractual provisions of which he was unaware, contained in a document whose contractual nature is not obvious....
Windsor Mills, Inc. v. Collins & Aikman Corp., 25 Cal.App.3d 987, 993, 101 Cal.Rptr. 347 (Cal.Ct.App.1972).

Quote:Netscape argues that the mere act of downloading indicates assent. However, downloading is hardly an unambiguous indication of assent. The primary purpose of downloading is to obtain a product, not to assent to an agreement. In contrast, clicking on an icon stating “I assent” has no meaning or purpose other than to indicate such assent. Netscape's failure to require users of SmartDownload to indicate assent to its license as a precondition to downloading and using its software is fatal to its argument that a contract has been formed.
Specht v. Netscape Communications Corp., 150 F. Supp. 2d 585, 595 (S.D.N.Y., 2001).

To summarize, users of IMDB are not bound by the terms of usage of the website because they are not required to accept them. I was unable to make the moderators of Mythbuntu forums see this fact when it came to a program to obtain EPG data from Microsoft Media Center servers. The Microsoft TOS for their Media Center data explicitly stated that it could not be accessed with anything other than an authorized Microsoft product, but that does not apply to anyone who does not explicitly accept that TOS/license.

If I had purchased and installed Vista MCE (for example), I would have been required to explicitly accept the terms of the license (click "I Agree" in order to install it). IN that case, the terms would be binding. But as a Linux user I've never accepted Microsoft's TOS and am therefore not bound by them. That means I can access data from Microsoft's EPG servers any way I like and there are no legal ramifications. If Microsoft wants to make their servers inaccessible to anything other than a Microsoft product, it's up to them to do so.

In like manner, if IMDB wants to make its users explicitly agree not to scrape the website or to make the website "unscrapable," it's up to them to do so. In the mean time, as I said, their TOS amounts to nothing more than a request. It's not enough to form a contract and it is not legally binding, even if you HAVE read it and know what it says.
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theuni Offline
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Post: #44
I don't understand why you guys are trying to turn this into a legal entitlement issue. XBMC is an opensource project that depends on the cooperation and willingness of users/devs/affiliates/etc.

XBMC could probably scrape from the imdb site no problem, even if they explicitly forbade it. But that's not the issue. The issue is that they've asked that it not happen without consent. Free access to a huge movie database and all they want is for you to ask... sounds fair to me. If they decline, the community will organize something new.

If too many projects scraped their site they would be forced to block it somehow. They would have every right. Again, it's not an issue of entitlement, it's about being fair and cooperating.

Let's try to be civil and not demanding. I think the XBMC team is doing it just right.

TheUni
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natethomas Offline
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Post: #45
I don't think anyone was saying we are legally entitled to IMDB's info and should, therefore, take it as we please. Instead, ultrabrutal made the point that to do so would be "stealing," and people were irritated by that minor inaccuracy, since no one likes to be called a thief. Thus, we engaged in a brief legal discussion on the definition of breach of contract and infringement.

I personally agree that getting the permission of IMDB would be the way to go, since cooperation in this area could lead to improved scraping times, reduced bandwidth usage, and a generally more pleasant experience, or, in the alternative, the improvement of an alternative "open" website for scraping purposes would do the same thing.

With that said, having a frank and open discussion of the state of the law is never a bad thing. If nothing else, many times it's a good way to find out that there are efficient, legal ways to accomplish goals, and, in our current predicament, it's a good way to find out that, even if we do decide to go down a different path in the future, our previous actions were still well within the law and entirely reasonable.
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