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Christie’s via Collectrium sued by Heritage Auctions for web scraping

London-based auction house, Christie’s, and their New York City-based digital art collection management and market research firm, Collectrium, have been accused in a lawsuit by Dallas, Texas-based collectibles auctioneer Heritage Auctions of using a computer program to steal images, price information, and research from them and repacking and reselling said information as part of its own subscription database.

According to the lawsuit, the listings were utilized in Collectrium’s searchable proprietary database of over 11 million items. Christie’s purchased Collectrium last year.

The case was mostly about the increasing use of web scraping, or the automated copying of valuable information from some other website. Santa Clara University School of Law internet law and intellectual property professor Eric Goldman was of the opinion that web scraping for commercial uses is “probably not legal”.

Collectrium’s site makes the claim that it provides “searchable auction results from over 1,500 auction houses worldwide”.

We at Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C. help guide our clients in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex of Texas during litigation when it comes to intellectual property cases. Speak with a qualified member of our team by calling our offices today at (214) 824-1414 as soon as possible.