; Your sister has come up with what she thinks is a brilliant idea
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Your sister has come up with what she thinks is a brilliant idea


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									Your sister has come up with what she thinks is a brilliant idea for a home -based business - a
website which helps lonely people find their perfect match by comparing different singles website
services. She intends to link to some of the top dating sites, several alternative ones, and a few
regional ones. While she explains her idea to you, you stop her in mid -sentence and say, "Whoa
there, remember Bidder's Edge?" She has no idea what you're talking about, so you give her the
following article.

Trampling through the Websites—When is "Linking" an Illegal Trespass?
LEAD STOR Y-DAT ELINE: The Recorder, 5/26/00.

"Linking" is a common practice on the Internet. One Web page often establishes a "link" to another
web page or web site. This practice normally benefits the linked web site, as it increases the
number of individuals that mig ht access and use the site. Bidder's Edge, Inc. was a company that
helped consumers comparison-shop for the lowest price on auction web sites by posting auction
items on its web site. Bidder's Edge used an automated process to search various auction sites for
items to post for customers' use. eBay was one of the auction sites searched by Bidders' Edge, and
Bidder's Edge sought to negotiate terms for performing its automated searches of eBay.
Negotiations failed, and eBay prohibited access to its servers. To circumvent this prohibition,
Bidder's Edge used proxy servers (not directly linked to Bidder's Edge) to continue its automated
searches. When eBay discovered this, eBay filed suit and sought a preliminary injunction to
prevent Bidder's Edge's continued automated searches and use of eBay's site. eBay claimed it
would be irreparably harmed, pending a trial in the year 2001, if Bidder's E dge was allowed to
continue its activities. The alleged harm included reduced system performance, system
unavailability, or data loss.

eBay filed suit based on several causes of action; one was that Bidder's Edge was guilty of
trespass to personal property. Under C alifornia law, in order to prevail in a suit for trespass based
on accessing a computer system, the injured party must show the defendant intentionally and
without authorization interfered with the plaintiff's possessory interest in the computer s ystem,
and that the defendant's unauthorized use approximately resulted in damage to plaintiff.

Bidder's Edge responded to the request for a preliminary injunction by arguing that it could not
trespass because eBay's site is publicly accessible. So one por tion of Bidder's argument was that
there could not be a trespass, because there was no interference with a private property right.
Bidder's Edge also argued that no irreparable harm would occur if the preliminary injunction was
not granted, because its 80,000-100,000 hits per day represented a small fraction (approximately
1 ½ percent) of the hits to eBay's site. eBay admitted that these hits represented a relatively
slight interference with eBay's servers. The district court rejected Bidder's arguments.

In eBay Inc. v. Bidder's Edge Inc., 99-21200, C alifornia Northern District C ourt Judge Ronald
Whyte ruled that eBay was likely to prevail on the trespassing claim, and granted the preliminary
injunction. In its opinion, the court found that eBay's servers were private property. eBay intended
to give conditional and limited public access to those servers, and eBay did not intend tha t the
public use its servers in the way contemplated by Bidder's Edge. The court noted that in eBay's
use agreement; it specifically prohibited the type of automated access used by Bidder's Edge.
Further, the court ruled that irreparable harm could occur should a number of companies engage
in this automa ted access process.

After reading the article about eBay which you have sent her , your sister emails you with the
several questions listed below. All of her questions indicate that she is trying to figure out ho w to
design her Internet dating website so that it is legal and so that she does not get tangled up in a
complicated lawsuit.

Write an email to your sister that addresses all of her concerns and the questions below and that
helps her to decide the best course. Please upload your response to the Submitted Assignments
area. Do not email it to your instructor.
1. What did Bidder's Edge do that was different than eBay's normal customers? Why does it
   matter to eBay?

2. Look in your text. What is the definition of traditional trespass to personal property?

3. Does the definition of trespass to personal property in your text differ from the C alifornia
   definition of trespass to computer services? How?

4. List and explain intentional torts against persons and against property

4. List and explain intentional torts agains t persons and against property

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