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06.01.2010 Blog

Cvent Sues Eventbrite for Alleged Webscraping and Unauthorized Access

Cvent, Inc., a Virginia-based software company which licenses web-hosted software for large-scale event planning, recently filed an action and motion for preliminary injunction against competitor Eventbrite, Inc. in Cvent, Inc. v. Eventbrite, Inc., No. 1:10cv481 (E.D. Va. May 10, 2010).  Cvent alleges that defendants used a technique known as “webscraping” to access Cvent’s website and copy thousands of its website pages, including various venue descriptions and a destination guide distributed to Cvent customers. 


Cvent alleges that to attract customers to its website, it created a database of about 100,000 hotels, conference centers, and special meeting venues around the world called the Cvent Supplier Network (“CSN”), which included detailed information about venues, such as images, descriptions, the availability and capacity of meeting rooms, venue amenities and services, and other information.  Cvent also alleges that, as part of the CSN, it created a “Destination Guide,” a resource of city-specific profiles designed for meeting and event planners.   


Cvent alleges that Eventbrite’s website contains content identical to content on Cvent’s website.  Upon initiating a forensic review of how such content was collected, Cvent discovered that John Doe defendants appeared to be using an automated website data retrieval (or web crawling) program, affiliated with so-called “bot” or “robot” programs, which allow automatic, systematic download, and copying of websites.  Cvent alleges that defendants used these programs to copy Cvent’s CSN and Destination Guide content on Eventbrite’s own venue profile pages.


Cvent has made claims of copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.; violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030, and the Virginia Computer Crimes Act, Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-152.3 et seq.; reverse passing off under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a); and various state and common law claims, including breach of Cvent’s terms of use on its website. 


Enclosed are links to the complaint, Cvent's motion for preliminary injunction, and the parties stipulation regarding expedited discovery of the identity of John Does 1-10, and other stipulations going forward.