On November 15, 2022, a California district court declined to dismiss a declaratory judgment action brought by a data scraper, 3taps, Inc. (“3taps”), against LinkedIn Corp. (“LinkedIn”). (3taps, Inc. v. LinkedIn Corp., No. 18-00855 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 15, 2022)). 3taps is seeking an order to clarify whether the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) (or its California state law counterpart) prevents it from accessing and using publicly-available data on LinkedIn, and whether scraping such data would also subject it to an action brought by LinkedIn for breach of contract or trespass.
This is not 3tap’s first experience with scraping litigation (see prior post). But if this dispute sounds strangely familiar and reminiscent of the long-running dispute between hiQ Labs and LinkedIn (which we’ve followed closely), it is. The 3taps action traces its origin, in part, to the original hiQ ruling in August 2017, where this same judge first granted a preliminary injunction in favor of hiQ, enjoining LinkedIn from blocking hiQ’s access to LinkedIn members’ public profiles. Following that ruling, 3taps sent a letter to LinkedIn stating that it also intended to scrape publicly-available data from LinkedIn. LinkedIn responded that while it was not considering legal action against 3taps, it cautioned that “any further access by 3taps to the LinkedIn website and LinkedIn’s servers is without LinkedIn’s or its members’ authorization.” Thus, the hiQ ruling, 3taps’s letter to LinkedIn, and LinkedIn’s reply were the genesis of the current declaratory judgment action filed by 3taps against LinkedIn.