From the September 16 Wall Street Journal, page R13 (online subscription only): “Are Bots Legal.”  A good introduction to the various issues arising from the use of automated search robots including the eBay v. Bidder’s Edge case in which eBay successfully argued that Bidder’s Edge’s Bots, which captured 100,000 eBay pages a day, were committing a form of electronic trespass.  According to the article, a case to watch is the Second Circuit appeal of’s injunction against Verio from using Bots to data mine’s whois database.

In contrast to the general linking controversy, where an implied license to link can be inferred under certain circumstances, it was alleged that in both cases, defendants’ Bots had ignored plaintiffs’ robot exclusion protocol.  What would Isaac Asimov say?