Web scraping that is also called data extraction or data scraping is a method of extracting structured data in a spreadsheet or a database from an unstructured data of HTML format with the help of intelligence automation methods.
Extraction of data from the web can be legal or illegal. Extraction of the data that is publicly available is not illegal. In other words, you can scrape any data on the web as long as the data is publicly available and you are not violating the terms & conditions of your targeted website.
Let’s take a dive into the subject to know more about legality and myths of web scraping.
What Are The Myths Related To Web Scraping?
There are some common myths and misconceptions we often hear in most conversations about the scraping or data extraction.
Myth 1: Web scraping is illegal
Performing web scraping is not illegal as long as it is not violating the laws and regulations of a particular place. In simple words, it depends on various factors – what ways are you using to obtain the data from the websites? What kind of data are you scraping? How do you use the extracted data? If you certify that you are not violating the rules of your targeted website, it is not illegal.
Myth 2: Web scraping is hacking
Web scraping is an act of extracting data that is publicly available on the internet. Web scraping cannot be equal to hacking, as hacking is an act of obtaining information that is stored on another computer without permission.
Myth 3: You need to be able to code to scrape data from the Web
We are able to perform web scraping even without being a good programmer and can scrape information from the web. Today we have a lot of companies that provide specially developed software to extract useful information from websites as web scraping services or tools. These tools allow users to collect information as per the needs. Among those tools, we have newsdata.io that helps users to extract news data by using its News API. Newsdata.io also gives you a free plan to test the functionality of the tool.
Myth 4: Web scrapers are stealing data
Web scraping only means extracting data that is publicly available on the internet and stealing data means gathering information or data that is not displayed to everyone. Web scrapers obtain information from the web that is freely accessible to everyone.
Myth 5: You can scrape any website or web page
Webpages have some rules and standards to prevent a bot from scraping data from the page directly. While scraping, a web scraper or scraper bot should not violate the terms & conditions of a webpage and avoid collecting information that is not accessible publicly.
Myth 6: Web scraping and Web crawling is the same
Web crawling is a process in which web crawlers also called as spiders or search engine bots browse the web pages for indexing content from all over the internet by following links so that it can provide the relevant information as per the needs and queries of the users. These search engine bots are mainly used by major search engines like google, yahoo, Bing etc
Data Extraction or Scraping , on the other hand, is accessing the structured data with the help of intelligence automation methods.
How Can We Avoid Illegal Scraping?
There is no wrong in extracting the data that is accessible to everyone on the web but you must avoid using the protected data without the consent of the owner because it will be treated as illegal.
Here are some regulations regarding unauthorized web scraping:
- Violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
- Breach of Contract
- Copyright Infringement
- Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
- Trespassing, etc.
If you are not trying to collect the restricted information or data, you are in the safe zone. Terms & conditions differ from place to place, you must be aware where and whose data you are scraping.
We have some points we should keep in mind while web scraping:
- Keep an interval of around 12-15 seconds in between your requests.
- Avoid using the scraped data without the consent of the original owner.
- Read the Terms of Service carefully and follow the rules.
- Do not try to make copies of copyrighted content.
- Ask for permission if you are trying to extract the protected data.
I would suggest you to have a look at Newsdata.io for news extraction. Newsdata.io is a News API and a great tool to extract news data from the web. They offer a huge amount of news data that we can access in its news API. They provide data from over 5000 news sources for live breaking news, historical news, top headlines, trends using NewsData.io API and you can collect the data in JSON or Excel Formats.