Calling Out Scraper for “Stealing” Data Is Not Defamatory – Tamburo v. Dworkin

4 10 2013

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]

Tamburo v. Dworkin, 04 C 3317 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 26, 2013)

Kristen Henry built a database of pedigrees for Schipperkes dogs, a “small, mischievous Belgian dog breed.” She made the database freely available through her website at bonchien dot com. Tamburo, the plaintiff, operated Versity (d/b/a “Man’s Best Friend Software”), a now defunct entity, and scraped the information compiled by Henry. According to Henry, not only did Tamburo obtain this information from Henry’s website, Tamburo offered the data for a fee to his end users (as part of a larger product package).

Understandably chagrined, Henry, who testified that she felt “frustrated and violated” by defendants’ use of her database, engaged in an email and online campaign to set the record straight. She posted messages and sent emails to various individuals who were a part of the Schipperke community, alerting them to Tamburo’s actions:

. . . .

Based on these and other statements, Tamburo and his entity filed a complaint against Henry and various other defendants. Nine years later, counts for defamation and tortious interference with contract remained. (There may have been counterclaims or other claims, but this order focuses on the remaining claims against Henry.)


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