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Website Users May be Bound by Contract Terms

Century 21 Canada Ltd. Partnership v. Rogers Communications Inc., 2011 BCSC 1196

A treatise on browsing, indexing, scraping and republishing internet content.

A case that brought to the forefront of Canadian law “browse wrap” agreements, indexing and scraping of content by search engines generally, and vertical search engines specifically, was the 434 paragraphtour de force judgment of the B.C. Supreme Court in Century 21 Canada Ltd. Partnership v. Rogers Communications Inc., 2011 BCSC 1196. The plaintiffs were Century 21 (a real estate agency) and two of its realtors. Century 21 developed a website where it published real estate listings generated by the realtors, including property information, prose description and photographs. On the other side of the dispute was Rogers and its subsidiary Zoocasa, which referred to itself as a “vertical search engine” that “scraped” and aggregated real estate listings and other related information from different sources, including from websites of real estate agencies like Century 21. Although the court found that “scraping” was not yet a universally accepted term of art, it generally accepted the following distinction between indexing and scraping: