The Ninth Circuit’s decision arose from a dispute between LinkedIn and a company called hiQ Labs. hiQ Labs is a data analytics company that scrapes publicly accessible LinkedIn user profiles and analyzes that information for its customers, either by summarizing their workforce’s skill set or identifying those employees most likely to leave.
LinkedIn.com has a user agreement that forbids scraping. In 2017, LinkedIn sent hiQ a cease-and-desist letter demanding that hiQ stop copying data from the site. Claiming the survival of its business was under threat, hiQ filed suit in the District Court for the Northern District of California seeking a declaratory judgment that its conduct was lawful and a temporary restraining order preventing LinkedIn from blocking its access.