Auction houses face off in website data scraping lawsuit

Christie's auction house has been accused in a lawsuit of using a computer program to scrape research, images and price information from a rival's website and then reselling it as part of its own subscription database.

Dallas-based Heritage Auctions announced the lawsuit on Monday. It accuses London-based Christie's of copyright infringement, computer fraud and other wrongdoing.

The lawsuit accuses Christie's and its independently operated subsidiary Collectrium of unlawfully appropriating nearly 3 million auction sale item listings from Heritage's website.

Heritage says its data was then used in Collectrium's database of more than 11 million items.

A Christie's spokeswoman in New York City has declined to comment.

Heritage says it wants $150,000 from Christie's for each instance of copyright infringement.