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IPE News: VIolating A Terms of Service Is Still Not A Crime

Good news, internet-goers, violating a website’s terms of service isn’t a crime. It hasn’t been for years, but a recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has gone to solidify and embolden that ruling.

In this case, Oracle USA sued Rimini Street Inc in Nevada District Court over allegations of misuse of their website violating established terms of service. Rimini was brought into court over their use of automated programs downloading support materials from Oracle’s website, which is against the company’s terms of service. Oracle sent a cease and desist, but did not restrict access to said files, and eventually filed suit. The judge ruled in favor of Oracle, stating that violating the terms of service constituted a breach of state computer crime statues.

Rimini appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit who overturned the lower judge’s decision, noting that Oracle prohibiting certain methods of collecting material does not constitute a violation if the material is already readily available. In short, it’s not illegal just because the website owner doesn’t like your methods.

More analysis can be found on the Electronic Frontier Foundation website piece linked below.

(Source: EFF.org)

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