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Is it Legal to Publish Data Acquired Using Content Aggregation Services?

Businesses nowadays are well aware of the potential benefits of implementing a data-backed business strategy and are on the lookout for new and better data sources. The web being the biggest repository of data there is, many companies make use of content aggregation services to acquire text content from various websites.

While it’s completely legal to extract publicly available data from a website that allow access to bots, there is a thin line between data aggregation for business intelligence use cases and copyright infringement. Let’s look at the potential applications of content aggregation services which are totally in the safe zone.

extract-content-wordpress-blogLegal applications of content aggregation services

Training machine learning systems

Machine learning training requires a large amount of data at your disposal. The more data you have, the better it is when it comes to training a machine learning system and content aggregation services can be used to extract this data from the web. Since the machine learning system uses this data to “learn”, this is a perfectly legal application of text content aggregated from the web.

Building a text corpora for NLP

NLP or Natural Language Processing helps in enabling machines to understand and interpret the natural languages used by humans as opposed to a computer language. NLP is a vast and complicated field since the meaning of words and sentences in natural languages can vary a lot based on the context. In order to comprehend this versatility of natural languages, NLP systems need natural text data. Content aggregation services can be used to extract large amount of text content from the web which can be used to build a text corpora for natural language processing.

Brand monitoring

Every brand is now aware of the implications of reviews, opinions and comments posted by users on the web. While positive reviews on the web can bolster the brand image, negative reviews can even neutralize all your marketing efforts and take you on a ride downhill. This means, all brands should stay updated to relevant web sources where their target customers are likely to go when they need opinions for making purchase decisions. Content aggregation services can help you aggregate data from various sources on the web on top of which you can perform advanced analytics to find the weak spots in your customer experience.

Why you shouldn’t republish aggregated content

Now that you have a fair idea about the legal and safe applications of content aggregation, let’s look at what you shouldn’t do with it. Republishing any content extracted from the web as your own material elsewhere is totally an unethical and illegal practice. The content available on the web is owned by either the website that has published it or its users. Either way, republishing content that you don’t own, is a serious infringement of copyright and could lead to legal ramifications for your business.

Looking to extract content?

While there are a host of ways by which you can acquire content from the web, the most popular method is to use a web crawling service to set up dedicated custom crawlers for all the sites in your sources list.

We recently developed a new solution focused at extracting data from WordPress blogs which can be particularly great if you are looking to extract content from the web. The WordPress scraper uses machine learning techniques to identify various data points presented on a blog running WordPress and can extract the data at scale. Since a vast majority of blogs are built on the WordPress platform, this solution will be all you need for your blog content extraction requirements.

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