The Impact of Legal Challenges on the Evolution of Web-based Intelligent Agents

Yun Wan, Yue Liu


Shopbots and Metabots are two Web-based intelligent agents that emerged since
1994 with the popularity of the Web. Both agent categories experienced impacts from lawsuits due
to their innovative ways of information collection. Though the nature of their information collection
methods was the same – which is extracting data from other websites - shopbots generally received
favourable rulings while metabots received the opposite. As a result, shopbots become a dominant
B2C ecommerce category nowadays while metabots-enabled ecommerce only exists in certain niche
markets. This paper intends to explore the validity of the legal measures related and demonstrates
that the legal force has a major impact on the development of Web technologies and the business
models they later supported.


Intelligent Agent, Internet, Data Extraction, Shopbots, Metabots, Database right, Trespassing in cyberspace

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