Trespass law relates to an action for trespass to chattels that is available to seek damages from anyone who had intentionally or forcibly injured personal property. It is more synonymous with physical trespass of property, but has been applied to the online world.
The injury could include carrying off the plaintiff’s property or harming it, destroying it, or keeping the plaintiff from holding or using it as s/he had a right to do. Some spamming techniques use software robots in order to create links from third party forums, guestbooks, blogs and Web statistics pages. This may be illegal.
In 2000, eBay won a preliminary injunction when a judge applied trespass law to stop robots from Bidder’s Edge accessing its site. Many of the arguments used in defence of Bidder’s Edge centred on the idea that access to free and public information is available to everyone on the Internet. These arguments certainly could not be used to defend the creation of spam links. They failed even for Bidder’s Edge. The injunction was granted, with the judge stating “eBay’s servers are private property, conditional access to which eBay grants the public”.
The trespass laws are very similar to those offline, but they do need to be proven on the open, online environment.
Glossary: Advertising, Affiliate Fraud, Affiliate Network, Ambush Marketing, Astroturfing, Bait & Switch, Blogs, Brand Essence, Brand Personality, Branding, Comparative Advertising, Corporate Identity, Corporate Reputation, Dark Marketing, Guestbook, Link Baiting, Loyalty Marketing, Marketing, Masking, Pharming, Phishing, Reputation Management, Spam, Trojan Virus, Website Analytics