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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0887015326

From: <>
Subject: Copyright in UK
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998 04:08:46 EST

There has been discussion at some length on copyright in regards to
genealogical material, facts, and other facets of the issue. The bone of
contention or at least the most misunderstood is the copyright law in the UK.
I have run across the following UK government page (Patent Office) which
governs and rules on copyright issues in the UK. Their page is:

The main thrust is the same as the US except the copyright is for 70 years
after the death of the author. The copyright is for the owner of the work
(an employee who creates and item for their employer is not the owner of the
copyright, the company is). This extends to the government in the fact that
if an government employee made the record, the record is copyrighted. Since
the government is still in existence, the record is still protected.

BUT: under this government interpretation, a work made by a non-employee but
was given to the government, it is not protected unless the copyright was
given to the government or it has been less that 70 years after their death.

Thus we can't publish the records as they exist, but we can extract,
interpolate and add material to them to make an expression of the author.

This can be tricky that if the author (the government) deems that its work has
been mutilated (defamed) and/or it was not referred to in the new work and its
obvious the information came from there, a law suit could proceed.

The best way is to determine if the UK government has copyrighted the material
under Crown Copyright (usually the item has HMSO on the book or document
somewhere) and then determine from there what you should do.

I hope the website (see above) helps anyone with copyright questions in the
UK. The website also has a way you can get a copy of the "Copyright, Designs
and Patents Act 1988" which describes the law and the governments position on

I personally appreciate the efforts on the part of those who want to
distribute information regarding everybody's favorite topic -- genealogy and
family history. I only want to be sure that they are protected from being the
defendent in a law suit as well as protecting the rights of the author(s) as

Thanks for listening to me!


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