Posted January 5, 2009 2:06 pm by with 17 comments

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It wasn’t long ago that we reported on‘s expansion into the North American market. The social networking aggregator that allows users the ability to navigate and participate in multiple social networks at once, now finds itself in hot water with social networking giant Facebook.

Court documents filed December 30th reveal that Facebook is suing for a host of reasons including copyright infringement, violations of terms of service, and the scraping of what they consider “proprietary data,” which I assume is user information. It appears the mere inclusion of Facebook into the site is not at issue, but rather the fact that did not use Facebook’s public API. As of now has removed every mention of Facebook from its site.

I think this will be a very interesting case to watch as this speaks to the heart of a major trend on the Internet. More and more services are popping up that are built solely on the aggregation of others’ content. What was once considered spamming by many is now considered a central tenant of the Web 2.0 world that we live in. This case may further demonstrate the awkward fit that outdated intellectual property rights law has on the internet, or it might redefine our own perceptions of open content standards. Either way, this will be interesting to watch!

  • It would be interesting to see how this would turn out for two main reasons;

    1) the hopeful clarification of copyright law (which is muddled across border anyway).
    2) to see the knock on effect on both companies in terms of growth. As mentioned in a later article I think that facebook is having record amount of growth and use. Should they encourage third party applications (via a more ‘useful’ API) or shut them down and sue their pants off in a show of strength.
    In regards of will they fall back onto the api? or leave it scraped?

    Donace’s last blog post..Spam Attack

  • “ site is not at issue, but rather the fact that did not use Facebook’s public API. As of now has removed every mention of Facebook from its site.”

    Facebook has a point there. But obviously rather than suing…they can go and do some sort of partnership for mutual benefit.

    Saad Kamal’s last blog post..Google Timeline View in Action

  • It is hard to predict the developing of the situation but I always try to figure out its going into positive direction.

  • If facebook wins, this could set a very bad precedent. On the other hand, if they lose, then it limits certain rights that creators have with their websites and the information that they have collected… I will definitely be following this case.

    Shirley’s last blog post..Perhaps You Shouldn’t Blog!

  • This is surely not what would have wished for. Why did they stray from facebook’s API? Please enlighten me as to the potential benefits they would’ve accrued from this action.

  • It will be an interesting case. This could really put a halt on the Web 2.0 movement. The line between what is proprietary and could get really hazy if facebook wins this case. This could also get many other helpful web applications in serious trouble as well just for using public information.

    Patrick’s last blog post..Shower Water and Energy Use Calculator

  • This had to happen and the timing could not be better. You are right in that what was considered spamming has got to be legitimate. This needs to be corrected and by who better?

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..New Year Resolutions to Help You Save Money

  • I’m sure it’ll be settled out of court.

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  • just shows that facebook are feeling a little threatened.
    though they have no reason to be

  • I think it is a tough balance. On one side I can see why something should be done about the fact that it is becoming legit to use other people’s content but on the other hand we have also seen some really innovative solutions that we’ve all benefited from. If Facebook wins it might result in fewer applications being developed.

    Mikael’s last blog post..How to Find Affordable Pet Insurance for Dogs

  • Typical case of a sewee becoming a sewer. Oh, well!

  • I assume facebook’s ads aren’t shown using Makes sense then that they wouldn’t be fans of the tool.

    The problem is, Facebook wants you to use their api which is so limited.

  • The world is changing so fast. I wonder what are the cases last 20 years ago is legal now. I don’t know why used Facebook.

    Atniz’s last blog post..Message To Work At Home Bloggers

  • A perfect showcase for how the laws of old don’t really cover the intricacies of the Internet.. I think this is more interesting as a study of how new developments on the Internet challenge preconceived “norms” then it is as a “who’s going to win” scenario

  • this would be an interesting case to watch about the end scenario. The power versus billionaire!

    John’s last blog post..Busby SEO Test the hard way

  • Yes, indeed this will be interesting. Finally big names are fighting over their rights about content and materials. Until now the small ones couldn’t do much in that area but now we will see will this case make something that others could also learn from.

  • I am curious of the outcome!