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Can't reveal mail id ;)

Wow!!

You seem to have gone through quite a lot. Anyway, I wish you luck with the coming days.

Matt

Your story makes me amazingly sad. This is information that people have stated they want public -- heck, Facebook has made many controversial changes to encourage and/or trick its users into making more information public. I wish Google had stepped up to the plate and offered to defend you, since their whole business model depends on being able to analyze the content web sites without prior permission from the site owners.

Grape

Hey, if you're interested in some legal precedent you may want to check out EF Cultural Travel BV v. Explorica, Inc., 274 F.3d 577 (1st Cir. 2001) and EF Cultural Travel BV v. Zefer Corporation
318 F.3d 58 (1st Cir. 2003), both available from Google Scholar. Essentially the former said that use of a scraper was wrongful because the CEO had worked at the other company and was using proprietary information gained from the scrapes. On the other hand, the latter was okay because they were only using what was publicly available. The key was that the TOS said nothing about not using scrapers. I would think that a robots.txt would be equivalent to a TOS, but I don't know what other terms you agreed to by using Facebook's API. Ultimately, your lawyer was right. Even if you did nothing wrong, they have a lot more money and could have sued you into oblivion.

YeahSeeThatNo

So you're data-mining, for profit, and the big boys refuse to play with you ?
Allow me to whip out the worlds smallest violin.

Packetscan

"Obviously this isn't the way the web has worked for the last 16 years since robots.txt was introduced, but my lawyer advised me that it had never been tested in court, and the legal costs alone of being a test case would bankrupt me."

-This is the way the internet works. Unless someone with a heavy cash hand wants to stop you. You did nothing wrong, up until you signed that release.

Gregory Gleason

It's an unfortunate story. It is a shame that it only comes down to who has more money. Ethics and legality have nothing to do with it. This is the American legal system, aka the aristocracy.

Nwolf

Did you even bother to contact the EFF or another tech lawfirm that would potentially be willing to represent you pro-bono?

mike

These big corporate bully stories always depress me. I am a bit annoyed at the commenters that suggest that Pete shouldn't have signed the release or should have found some lawyer to champion his cause. He has no obligation to take on a corporate giant at the expense of his wellbeing. He did what he had to do. If any of you feel so strongly about this, then go collect the data and take on Farcebook yourselves.

Oh and Pete, thanks for the awesome map, I hope it gets your start up the positive attention you deserve.

-Mike a refugee from the border of Mormonia and the Nomadic West living in Socialistan.

gus

You should have contacted the EFF as soon as this happened. They bullied you in an outrageous way stretching their version of how the web should work beyond credulity. Unfortunately you've now signed some sort of agreement with them to stop a legal activity under threat which I'm sure they constructed to weaken your position.

Nile

There's good legal advice on these comments but the bottom line is that defending the case will bankrupt him.

That's it. All of it: Facebook have more money, so much so that they can exhaust Pete's resources. That's all the legal merit a case needs in your jurisdiction, and that's all the justice there is.

The only hope is that Facebook try suing someone like Google, who have even deeper pockets; they could win or lose and it's actually a good thing if Pete backs down, rather than lose a meritorious but under-resourced defence which, in being lost, sets a precedent that can't be overturned for *any* amount of money.

Disclaimers: I'm not a lawyer. I like my opinions, and you might too: but you're a fool if you choose a course of action on a layman's opinions instead of seeking advice from a qualified, experienced and accredited legal professional.

-

I don't get it?

Why are you backing down from this? Sounds like a largely easy case for any lawyer. I think you need a new one, your one got paid off or is an absolute pussy.

Nice work though, keep it up, next time just release anon based on your own open sourced work that doesn't piss anyone off, then you can use your data freely. Freenet or something would be a good place.

SP

I agree with the previous commenters. This sounds like something the EFF would take on.

Jay Libove, CISSP, CIPP

Court cases lately have addressed the question of whether website Terms of Service are enforceable, and found that they are.

Facebook's ToS (now called "Rights and Responsibilities, but still linked from the bottom of the page as "Terms" - see http://www.facebook.com/#!/terms.php?ref=pf ) says that they don't allow scraping of their site without their permission. See item 3 Safety point 2 "You will not collect users' content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our permission."

One such case was by airlines against consumer-facing frequent flyer program information aggregation and optimization services. The airlines' websites prohibited accessing the data contained therein except through the interfaces specifically offered or allowed by the airlines. (They want your eyeballs. So does Facebook, with a vengeance). The optimization service violated that term, regardless that it did so with the full authorization of the airlines' customers who very much wanted the optimization service. The court found in favor of the airlines, and the optimization service shut down.

As a result, I doubt that you have a legal basis to challenge them. I would be surprised if the EFF wants to try to bust that kind of already adjudicated contract term, no matter how much it does limit some valuable types of innovation.

I am quite disappointed that Facebook didn't want to bring you in to work with them on the value that your research and technology provides (though of course they'd want it for its commercial ability to further increase eyeballs on and data shared in Facebook itself), as I'm sure they see the value in it. Perhaps they already have their own such project in the works, far enough along that they don't feel the need to buy additional talent.

Regardless of the legal whys and wherefores, of course I'm disappointed for you, and hope you'll find an outlet for the value you obviously do bring!

patrick

lol you took down all posts that pointed out your error. Way to go champ.

therm000

besides the facebook violence, i found your projects very interesting, keep up!

Sohail Mirza

Something to be aware of:

http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2010/05/03

This could be very relevant to your issue?

sophie

One such case was by airlines against consumer-facing frequent flyer program information aggregation and optimization services. The airlines' websites prohibited accessing the data contained therein except through the interfaces specifically offered or allowed by the airlines.

menglishuo

One such case was by airlines against consumer-facing frequent flyer program information aggregation and optimization services.

menglishuo

One such case was by airlines against consumer-facing frequent flyer program information aggregation and optimization services.

zhutige

he greeting card is a good idea too.

zhutige

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