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    Illegal Linking

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    I need some assistance on summarizing the following points:

    ** See Situation and Questions posted below **

    **please explain it in your own words

    --------- Situation-----------
    Your sister has come up with what she thinks is a brilliant idea for a home-based business - a website which helps lonely people find their perfect match by comparing different singles website services. She intends to link to some of the top dating sites, several alternative ones, and a few regional ones. While she explains her idea to you, you stop her in mid-sentence and say, "Whoa there, remember Bidder's Edge?" She has no idea what you're talking about, so you give her the following article.

    Trampling through the Websites-When is "Linking" an Illegal Trespass?
    LEAD STORY-DATELINE: The Recorder, 5/26/00.
    "Linking" is a common practice on the Internet. One Web page often establishes a "link" to another web page or web site. This practice normally benefits the linked web site, as it increases the number of individuals that might access and use the site. Bidder's Edge, Inc. was a company that helped consumers comparison-shop for the lowest price on auction web sites by posting auction items on its web site. Bidder's Edge used an automated process to search various auction sites for items to post for customers' use. eBay was one of the auction sites searched by Bidders' Edge, and Bidder's Edge sought to negotiate terms for performing its automated searches of eBay. Negotiations failed, and eBay prohibited access to its servers. To circumvent this prohibition, Bidder's Edge used proxy servers (not directly linked to Bidder's Edge) to continue its automated searches. When eBay discovered this, eBay filed suit and sought a preliminary injunction to prevent Bidder's Edge's continued automated searches and use of eBay's site. eBay claimed it would be irreparably harmed, pending a trial in the year 2001, if Bidder's Edge was allowed to continue its activities. The alleged harm included reduced system performance, system unavailability, or data loss.
    eBay filed suit based on several causes of action; one was that Bidder's Edge was guilty of trespass to personal property. Under California law, in order to prevail in a suit for trespass based on accessing a computer system, the injured party must show the defendant intentionally and without authorization interfered with the plaintiff's possessory interest in the computer system, and that the defendant's unauthorized use approximately resulted in damage to plaintiff.
    Bidder's Edge responded to the request for a preliminary injunction by arguing that it could not trespass because eBay's site is publicly accessible. So one portion of Bidder's argument was that there could not be a trespass, because there was no interference with a private property right. Bidder's Edge also argued that no irreparable harm would occur if the preliminary injunction was not granted, because its 80,000-100,000 hits per day represented a small fraction (approximately 1 ½ percent) of the hits to eBay's site. eBay admitted that these hits represented a relatively slight interference with eBay's servers. The district court rejected Bidder's arguments.
    In eBay Inc. v. Bidder's Edge Inc., 99-21200, California Northern District Court Judge Ronald Whyte ruled that eBay was likely to prevail on the trespassing claim, and granted the preliminary injunction. In its opinion, the court found that eBay's servers were private property. eBay intended to give conditional and limited public access to those servers, and eBay did not intend that the public use its servers in the way contemplated by Bidder's Edge. The court noted that in eBay's use agreement; it specifically prohibited the type of automated access used by Bidder's Edge. Further, the court ruled that irreparable harm could occur should a number of companies engage in this automated access process.


    Write an email to your sister that addresses all of her concerns and the questions below and that helps her to decide the best course.
    1. What did Bidder's Edge do that was different than eBay's normal customers? Why does it matter to eBay?
    2. What is the definition of traditional trespass to personal property? Explain it in your own words the definition of traditional trespass to personal property.
    " A tort that occurs whenever one person injures another person's personal property or interferes with that person's enjoyment of his or her personal property."
    3. Does the definition of trespass to personal property in your text differ from the California definition of trespass to computer services? How?
    **California definition of trespass to computer services:
    "No person shall purposely, knowingly or recklessly gain access to or cause access to be gained to any computer, computer system, computer network, computer program, computer data base, or computer material without the express or implied authorization of the owner or an agent of the owner empowered to authorize access to the computer, computer system, computer network, computer program, computer data base, or computer material. Any person who violates this section is guilty of the crime of computer trespass"

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    Solution Preview

    1. What did Bidder's Edge do that was different than eBay's normal customers? Why does it matter to eBay?
    E-bay is an e-commerce site devoted to selling whatever things people want to dispose of, whether garage seller or bix-box retailer, e-bay is the place to go. People can also buy aside from sell. Many home based entrepreneurs have made money out of E-bay. But the bigger companies won't allow themselves to lose this chance too.
    In the case of Bidder's Edge, it uses an automated process to search auction sites for its customers. E-bay was one of those sites. Bidder's Edge tried to negotiate terms for those automated searches for E-bay but it failed. It is for this reason that E-bay has prohibited Bidder's Edge to access its servers. When it discovered that Bidder's Edge continued automated searches to its site through the use of proxy servers and that Bidder's Edge has been linking to sites to better serve its customers and even if E-bay has prohibited access, Bidder's Edge continued to access E-bay illegally. Even though Bidder's Edge insisted that E-bay's servers were publicly accessible, the argument was rejected by the court because it was specifically stated in e-Bay's license agreement that what Bidder's ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution discusses about the case of Bidder's Edge and eBay regarding an illegal practice in Internet: illegal linking to sites. References are included.