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Re: The Ethics of Webbots

by tilly (Archbishop)
on Sep 17, 2004 at 17:37 UTC ( #391854=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to The Ethics of Webbots

Yes, there are possible legal ramifications to violating the ToS. Doubly so if you're going to engage in copyright infringement with the data that you scrape. The most likely consequence, though, is that they'll detect you and block your site and you will not be able to reach them at all.

You're right that it is unethical to do this project.

Whether it is worth your job is your choice. Two factors to consider though. The first is that my experience is that slimeballs are usually not just slimeballs in one way - how they want you to treat others is how they'll also treat you when push comes to shove. (A tip when you eat out with people. Watch how they treat the waiter/waitress. That tends to be very revealing about what those people are really like...)

The second is that your practical ability to take a stand on principle strongly depends on your personal circumstances. If nobody depends on you and you have strong skills, then you can do it pretty safely. The current job market (see http://jobs.perl.org/) is reasonable. However if your background is weaker or if you have a family depending on you, then it becomes much harder to walk away from a currently paying job.

My suggestion, without knowing your exact circumstances, is that if you cannot afford to take an immediate stand on principle, when an employer does something that you don't want to stand for, quietly start shopping your resume around. In fact even if you think that you can afford an immediate stand on principle, you may feel more comfortable making sure that you have a good fallback before burning any bridges.


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