Ryanair wins second case against ‘screenscraper’ site

EU Court of Justice ruling restricts access to airline’s database

Ryanair has won a second legal action against so-called 'screenscraper' website in a week after an EU Court of Justice ruling that restricts access to the airline's database by PR Aviation.

The Court of Justice, in a referral from the Dutch Supreme Court, was asked to determine whether owners of an online database such as Ryanair's could use contractual restrictions to prevent the copying or use of their databases.

On Thursday, the European Commission supported the airline's argument that was is entitled to post terms and conditions on its website that prevent PR Aviation from screenscraping its database and using it for commercial purposes.

The airline welcomed ECJ ruling, which confirms that screenscraping sites like PR Aviation that allow customers to buy tickets without directly visiting an airline’s website, do not have unrestricted access to Ryanair’s flights and price database.

Ryanair has been engaged in several legal cases against screenscraper websites across Europe in recent years.

The airline claims that many of these third-party sites cause problems for Ryanair customers and fail to pass on vital information on issues such as flight changes, web check-in, and special needs assistance and contact details.

On Thursday last, the Regional Court of Hamburg ruled that eDreams must refrain from using "Ryanair.eDreams.de" in its subdomain and from promoting it in Google Ads.

The court also directed eDreams to pay compensation for trademark infringement, and ruled that eDreams use of the subdomain wrongfully suggests that eDreams itself is Ryanair, when there is no commercial relationship between the screenscraping website and the airline.

Commenting on the latest ruling, Robin Kiely, head of communications at Ryanair advised customers to book directly on the airline's website.

“Ryanair welcomes the EU Court of Justice ruling which confirms that Ryanair can prevent PR Aviation from screenscraping the Ryanair database and using this information for commercial purposes. Ryanair will continue to pursue screenscraper websites such as PR Aviation to prevent Europe’s consumers from being misled over price and booking conditions,” he said.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist