Web/data scraping e secondary ticketing: è inadempimento contrattuale?

Un’agenzia di viaggio acquista biglietti aerei da Southwest Airlines (SA), rivendendoli poi a terzi, ed estrae sistematicamente vari dati, pubblicamente accessibili nel sito web di questa: ciò nonostante le condizioni di acquisto lo proibissero.

SA agisce per varie causae actiones tra cui violazione contrattuale. Decide la NORTHERN DISTRICT COURT OF TEXAS – DALLAS DIVISION , CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:21-cv-00098-E, Soutwest Airlines c. Kiwi, 30.09.2021, accogliendone la domanda.

Kiwi cita il noto precedente hiQ Labs c. Linkledin del 2019, ove fu ritenuto lecito lo scraping dei dati.

Però prevale l’orientmento del divieto di scrapintg fondato su patto apposito, presente nelle Terms  and Conditions : <<Kiwi has purchased over 20,000 flights on the Southwest Digital Platforms.  In connection with its sales of Southwest flights, Kiwi specifically acknowledges that: “All services provided by Southwest Airlines are subject to their Terms and Conditions. More information is available on their website.”  The Terms are hyperlinked at the bottom of each page of Southwest’s website with a statement that use of the website constitutes acceptance of the Terms. For all online purchases, the  user  must  affirmatively  acknowledge  and  accept  the  Terms  by  clicking  a  button  that  states:  “By clicking ‘Purchase,’ I agree to the Terms and Conditions below, the privacy policy, and the contract of carriage,” which appears just above a yellow “Purchase” button with hyperlinks to the Website Terms, Privacy Policy, and Contract of Carriage.  For each purchase, Kiwi affirmatively accepted  the  Terms.    Southwest  sent  multiple  cease-and-desist  notices  to  Kiwi’s  chief  legal  counsel, Kiwi’s CEO, and to Kiwi’s registered agents in the United States.  Southwest specifically referenced the Terms and attached a copy of them, pointing out examples of how Kiwi’s conduct violated the Terms. Kiwi acknowledged receipt of one such cease-and-desist notice in September 2019.  As  in  BoardFirst, when  Kiwi  continued  to use  the  Southwest  website  in  connection  with  Kiwi’s  business  with  actual  knowledge  of  the  Terms,  Kiwi  “bound  itself  to  the  contractual  obligations imposed by the Terms.”  See BoardFirst, 2007 WL 4823761, at *7>>, p. 7

E’ poi intgersante anche il ragionamemnot sul danno irreparabile , requisito per la cocnessione della cautgela: viene ravvisato e la cautela  èconcessa: <<Balance of harms: Southwest must also demonstrate the threatened injury if the injunction is denied outweighs any harm that will result if the injunction is granted. Southwest argues Kiwi’s business practices interfere with customer communications, misrepresent Southwest customer-friendly policies,
charge customers unnecessary fees, divert traffic away from Southwest’s website, and tarnish  Suthwest’s reputation and goodwill. Southwest argues Kiwi will suffer little if any damage by ceasing unauthorized sales of Southwest flights and that Kiwi’s interest in using the Southwest website for its own commercial purposes is entitled to “scant consideration.” Kiwi can continue its business and sell flights for other carriers.
Kiwi alleges the balance of harms tips strongly in its favor. Kiwi argues an injunction poses a significant threat to its business model, reputation, and partner relationships. Kiwi asserts removing Southwest flights from its website will drastically affect its ability to build dynamic travel itineraries for its customers. According to Kiwi, for many key travel routes and destinations,
it is impossible to fly without traveling on Southwest. It also contends that an unspecified “threat of further injunctions against brokering ticket sales poses a potentially existential threat to Kiwi.com’s US operation.”
The Court concludes the threatened injury to Southwest if the injunction is denied outweighs the harm to Kiwi. Southwest has shown that Kiwi’s unauthorized sales of its flights  poses a significant disruption to its customer operations. Kiwi has not convinced the Court that the injunction will significantly threaten its business. As Southwest notes, Southwest is not listed as one of Kiwi’s “top 20 airlines” on its website>

(notizia e link alla sentenza  dal blog di Erik Goldman)

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