Perhaps a bit off-topic, but this is the only relevant SE forum. I sometimes come across RSS feeds with terms and conditions attached, such as one example permitting use for app-development (that would complement their revenues) but expressly not for any other purpose, and specifically statistical aggregation.

I wonder about the bottom line of legality about this sort of conditionality. The company has made the data public, without any sign-up. Can they legally enforce such conditions on usage? Of course they can sue for damages, but are they likely to succeed? Are there any legal precedents to be aware of? Much of course will depend on the legal jurisdictions involved, but if there was any useful guidance available for US/UK/European contexts it would be useful to know.

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    I'm afraid I don't think that this forum is a good advice for debating legal issues, especially without a very specific jurisdiction. Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 15:46
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    One thought: most US "hacking" laws (unauthorized access to a computer system) require that the system has a password. You can access data on systems without passwords without breaking the law. So, on a password-requiring system you are legally bound by the terms of use (otherwise your access is unauthorized). You are probably not so bound for passwordless systems, though you're actually asking about civil law, which is different.
    – user3856
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 18:19
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    I think this is an interesting question around the licensing issues of open data. Members of our community may be working in law and may be able to answer this. Licensing is an important part of sorting through the use of open data. Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 22:39
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    @BarryCarter most is not all. ask weev wired.com/2013/03/att-hacker-gets-3-years
    – albert
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 22:29
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    @albert Sounds like a terrible miscarriage of justice, but nonetheless good to know.
    – user3856
    Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 11:57

1 Answer 1


here's more of an opinion, not an answer:
i'm free software all the way, and i wouldn't give a care to what their terms say, i'd do whatever i pleased with it, until they killed the service.

in reality, corporations will destroy you, unless you have an army of lawyers too. look how broken the patent system is, or the hacker that exposed a public url and went to prison. odds are you won't get nailed, but if you do, it'll probably be severe. remember, hackers are treated like terrorists in america.

it really pains me to say that utilizing an rss feed makes one a hacker, but the media will spin it like that, no doubt.

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