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Re: HTTP::Headers error when submitting form via WWW::Mechanize

by skyknight (Hermit)
on Jun 30, 2004 at 23:09 UTC ( #370937=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to HTTP::Headers error when submitting form via WWW::Mechanize

This node should probably be resectioned to "Illegal". It sounds like you are almost certainly trying to do an end run around paying for a for-fee service.
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Re^2: HTTP::Headers error when submitting form via WWW::Mechanize
by jerrygarciuh (Curate) on Jul 01, 2004 at 02:13 UTC
    If the institution in question provides a web application (and they do) for me to run reports as a person with a browser, why on earth would it be illegal for me to access the service and do the same reports via an automaton? I am time impaired, so I am making a 'screen reader' which not only reads the reports but updates my database every quarter hour. As paulbort points out there may be a clause denying me this access but in my view I am merely automating the manner in which I already am allowed to avail myself of the reports.


    "The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods.
    The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.
    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

      The medium via which information is presented is an integral component of any contract. For example, if a content provider provides you with content without a fee, then it probably has a revenue model that involves some secondary effect of you viewing the content, e.g. advertisement viewing. If you bypass their system and extract the information you want directly, in a way that violates your contract, then you are depriving them of their revenue. No matter how you slice it, taking something without authorization from someone is stealing. Furthermore, via your automation you may be harming them via resource over-taxing. There are very good reasons for prohibiting "robots" from accessing web sites, and your selfish disregard for them invites a Tragedy of the Commons.

      There is plenty of precedent for content/service providers going after people who violate the terms of their service agreement. Don't take my word for it though... Just ask some of the people who have been taken to court by eBay.

Re^2: HTTP::Headers error when submitting form via WWW::Mechanize
by paulbort (Hermit) on Jul 01, 2004 at 21:11 UTC
    Whoa, Nellie. It's not necessarily illegal. AFAIK, it would not be illegal to use WWW::Mechanize to pull a copy of the PM front page every five minutes. But if one has an agreement with a financial services institution, and that agreement prohibited any use of their web site other than access personally and immediately directed by the authorized user, this could be a violation of that agreement. They have a habit of writing terms into their agreements that are to their advantage, rather than their clients' advantage. Said institution could include in its terms such a prohibition, and the penalty the institution could levy for a violation, but unless there is a specific law being broken, we're talking about breach of contract, rather than criminal charges.

    I was suggesting caution, not a visit from the grim NodeReaper.

    Spring: Forces, Coiled Again!

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