Is It Legal to Extract Web Data?

By  //  March 20, 2023

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According to the report of Verified Market Research, the data extraction industry was about $1.2 bln in 2021. And specialists expect that the mentioned market will hit $3.99 billion by 2030.

Experts explain such a popularity growth of the specified branch through the fact that plenty of businesses worldwide extract web data for corporate needs nowadays. Such an approach simplifies the holding of marketing analysis and research, helps improve competitiveness, etc.

Company owners usually employ the services of reputable companies (like Nannosomus) for information mining. However, even in this case, some entrepreneurs doubt the legitimacy of such operations. That’s caused mostly by the lack of knowledge of international and local online privacy legislation. So, let’s dive deeper into this.

What Should Be Considered Private Information When Extracting Web Data?

Presently, two main documents regulate internet privacy. They are GDPR and CCPA. In fact, these documents apply solely in the territories of the EU as well as California state (the USA) correspondingly. However, website holders and users worldwide employ the specified papers as a base for internet privacy rules.

What Is CPRA?


In 2019, there was a case of hiQ Labs vs. LinkedIn Corp. The first company was accused of misusing LinkedIn users’ personal information for self-serving purposes. Initially, the local US trial allowed hiQ to collect data. But later, the Supreme Court remanded the case for additional review. As a result, the local trial prohibited hiQ from extracting web data from the LinkedIn base.

Such controversial occasions made the US authorities come up with more comprehensive laws on online privacy. So, CPRA was created in 2020. This act significantly expanded CCPA. CPRA came into effect in January 2023. Thus, online clients across the world are also recommended considering the highlighted act nowadays.

So, What Is Personal Information Anyway?

Today, the following private details aren’t suggested to use when scraping data from websites:

  • number of a passport, social insurance, or ID;
  • first and second names, birth dates, physical address, as well as employment data;
  • information collected by commercial apps (such as shopping preferences, location, etc.);
  • contacts like email, phone number, social media accounts, or IP address;
  • biometric data, as well as personal audio/video recordings;
  • some special information, e.g., religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, etc.

The list above may be expanded by even more positions in certain cases. So, it’s better to contact specialists before mining data from sites. For instance, content creators, analysts, or entrepreneurs may get advice at

Extracting General Information From Websites

All the information on the internet is protected by copyright. This involves videos, articles, music, photos, logos, etc. Thus, online users can only employ such content in their publications according to corresponding licenses.

Types of Digital Material Permits


Licenses may be gratis (for instance, Creative Commons) or commercial. Internet clients typically can employ copyright-free content sans any restrictions. On the other hand, images, videos, etc., with paid permits are entirely or partially forbidden to use until a person or a company purchases them. Otherwise, online users may be fined. At the same time, content with commercial licenses may be employed for personal use. So, businesses can order scraping of such data to employ it for non-public research.

Usage of Commonly Known Facts

Copyright doesn’t extend to such content. Thus, creators and business owners have the right to insert text blocks, including the specified information, into their articles. Facts should be paraphrased, though. That’s because search engines may find unchanged text blocks as plagiarism. This can lead to website blocking.

Types of User Agreements

Website holders usually offer their visitors certain terms of use of published content. So, browsewrap contracts imply that users accept the proposed conditions by entering the site. There is no problem with extracting information from such online sources. That’s because browsewrap agreements aren’t legally enforceable.

Difficulties may appear when using data from websites proposing clickwrap terms and conditions. Such contracts are typically signed by clicking a certain button or ticking a checkbox in a pop-up window. After “signing” such a contract, visitors have to act according to all its conditions. Otherwise, they may be penalized.

Fair Use of Content

The specified rules are well-formed, e.g., in the eponymous US doctrine. To make a long story short, online users should follow the subsequent tips:

  1. Don’t make rival content. So, it’s better not to employ information from a digital appliance e-store to create an article for an online PC shop.
  2. Don’t republish the original content. Online clients should take the essence of, e.g., an article and restate it in their own way. Also, it’s better to note the sources of the pieces taken. Direct citation is mostly employed in scientific papers. Such quotes must be properly formatted, though.
  3. Take only needed pieces of information. So, if certain data in a text block is unnecessary, don’t mention it.

If you follow such simple rules, everything will probably be fine with published content.


The process of extracting web data is regulated by international doctrines and local laws. Don’t mine private information. General data on the internet may be free or paid.

Don’t apply the latter until you buy it. When using the scraped data, follow the rules of fair use of content. If you have any doubts about extracting information, contact experts (for instance, at