Data scraping cases in China: what laws are applied?


Wang Liyan, Founding Partner of Beijing TA Law Firm


So far, data has not been legally recognized as property. China’s Civil Code has explicitly included an article about the protection of data and online virtual assets. However, in practice, when we, as Chinese legal practitioners, handle cases involving various types of data scraping nowadays, we tend to juggle multiple legal routes whichever serves the purpose. Our conventional toolkit includes several Chinese laws such as the Contract Law, the Intellectual Property Law, the Anti-Unfair Competition Law. When we look at the cases filed and decided in China after 2017, Article 2 of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law has been the go-to legal basis of the decisions. As infringed parties, the plaintiffs would claim their input and investment in great amounts such as human resources, time, labor, and money as their would-have competitive advantages. They would try to prove that the infringing parties have caused direct economic losses to them. That’s about the regular remedies for data scraping cases in China.

This is the whole show (without English subtitles):


High-profile data scraping cases outside China:

Facebook, Inc. v. Power Ventures, Inc. (2009),_Inc._v._Power_Ventures,_Inc.


hiQ Labs, Inc. v. LinkedIn Corp (2019)


Craigslist Inc. v. 3Taps Inc. (2013)


High-profile data scraping cases in China:


Weibo v. Eefung (2021)


Weibo v. Momo (2017)


Dianping v. Aibang (2011)


2 major legal routes for protection in China:

copyright infringement

unfair competition


Laws applied in the cases outside China:


Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ("CFAA")

California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act

Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA")


Laws applied in the cases in China:

Contract Law of China

Intellectual Property Law of China

Anti-Unfair Competition Law of China

Copyright Law of China