GEN-NYS-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-NYS > 2002-09 > 1031152659
From: "Val Conway" <>
Subject: Major Changes at Ellis Island Site
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2002 11:18:27 -0400
Re: Major Changes to Ellis Island Search and Save Capabilities
I have just read some very disturbing news about changes at the Ellis
Island site. The Save function for the manifests have been disabled
and Steve Morse's site which gave us some tremendous search
options has been shut down due to a threat of a lawsuit. I checked
out the sites and found that this was true. I have some comments on
First, the ability to save the manifest allowed researchers to enlarge
the copy and read the small notations. It is impossible to read much
of the manifest as it appears online even in it's largest form. Without
reading where and who the person lived with before they immigrated
or the person and final destination of the ancestor it is often not
possible to verify that we have the correct manifest. Why would we
consider paying $25 US ($37 Cdn + $5 for a US Bank Draft) for one
page of this document without even knowing if it pertains to our
heritage. Also the printed copy is not always as clear as it's digital
counterpart which can be enlarged to 2-3-4 or even 500 times it's
Second threatening Steve Morse with a lawsuit if he doesn't close
his site sounds like bad business practice to me. Steve has helped
many researchers find their ancestors when the search engine on the
Ellis Island site failed. Does The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island
Foundation want us to find the manifests or not? Would it not be a
wiser move to hire Steve Morse and use his expertise to set up an
online search engine that works well instead of taking away our only
search engine that will find some of our manifests? Without Steve's
site fewer manifests will be found and if the SLEIF is looking for
money from people ordering the manifests then how many orders
will they loose if the manifests can't be found? Is this good business
A Newsletter concerning the lawsuit is at the end of this e-mail.
I feel this is a sad day for Genealogy. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis
Island Foundation, Inc. (SLEIF) raised huge amounts of money for
the Ellis Island site and used volunteers to do the work. Over 12,000
volunteers from the LDS and many others either for personal reasons
or as part of other organizations decided to donate their precious
time and money. Now that people are using the site the SLEIF has
changed the original policies which may have been instrumental in
getting many of the donations. The LDS who I gather may have been
their biggest or one of their biggest contributers provides us all with
genealogical data at reasonable rates. I wonder if they are feeling
good about what is happening now. Reasonable rates are not what I
am finding on this site.
If your interested in reading more about the volunteers you can go to
google and do a search on: Volunteers "Ellis Island"
I wonder how many people who donated time and money in the past
and would have donated in the future will be rethinking their
decision. Futhermore this will probably make it harder for other
genealogical organizations to get donations and volunteers for things
on the internet.
Those of us who volunteer may come to believe that things will
change for the worse as soon as the donations are gathered. Is that
not what we are being told by these changes?
If you want to voice your opinion on these changes I suggest you send
an e-mail or letter to The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation,
Or write: The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.
Attention: History Center 292 Madison Ave New York, NY 10017
If anyone gets an answer I hope you will post it since many have said
that they have not received answers to their questions in the past.
=========More about threat of lawsuit=================
From: Nu? What's New? News About Jewish Genealogy
Vol. 3, No. 16 - September 2, 2002
Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Steve Morse "One-Step" Site Forced to Shut Down
Under the threat of legal action from The Statue of Liberty-Ellis
Island Foundation, Inc. (SLEIF), Stephen Morse has shut down all of
his sites that link to the Ellis Island Database. The Foundation
accused Morse of creating a site that performs what has come to be
known as "deep linking." Deep linking is the act of linking to a
page at a web site other than the Home Page.
Deep linking may, indeed, be illegal. In a court case brought in a
country of the European Union, it was deemed illegal and, therefore,
cannot be performed in any country of the EU. In the United States,
a Georgia state law that banned deep linking was ruled
unconstitutional only because it overstepped the boundaries of
Georgia law which has to be limited to events which occur within the
state. A number of years ago, Ticketmaster, a U.S. company that
sells tickets to events, sued Microsoft, who was providing deep
links to the Ticketmaster site. The case was settled out of court
with Microsoft agreeing not to continue the practice.
Morse and SLEIF actually came close to an agreement which would
allow portions of his site to remain available until they provided
comparable service, but the contract they presented him to sign
demanded that he admit that what he did was "in violation of the
Foundation's legal rights and in breach of the Foundation's terms
and conditions...." The contract then stated SLEIF would forgive him
for past sins. Morse refused to agree to such terms and decided
instead to close his site.
Deep linking is a common practice. Every search engine performs the
function. Every edition of "Nu? What's New?" includes such links.
Web site owners normally do not object to the practice because it
has a positive benefit to the site owner. However, this does not
mean they cannot reserve the right to request that such a practice
be selectively banned.
Additional information about this controversy can be found at
which, of course, is a deep link into The New York Times web site.
======End of Newsletter Editorial ==========