TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM-L ArchivesArchiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2011-04 > 1302139148
From: Tom Kemp <>
Subject: Re: [TGF] FindAGrave: Am I Being Overly Sensitive?
Date: Wed, 6 Apr 2011 21:19:08 -0400
My comment was about the "digital image" of the newspapers not the data.
On Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 5:07 PM, <> wrote:
> I basically agree with your comments. However, if the patient has been
> re-applied for on copyrights before 1923 then there is still a copyright
> that applies. Just not the original copyright. Also remember that information
> in the public domain (dob, dod, spouses name, locations, name of cemetery,
> and other public domain facts can not be copyrighted. The format that
> someone uses (in a book, web site, etc.) is copyrighted, but not the facts. So,
> if you look at my web site and extract the public domain information about
> my Great Great Grandfather and enter it into your web site or into a book
> you publish as long as you change the format that I have it in then you are
> legal. But, if you copy and paste all of the information (public domain or
> not) onto your web site, then that would violate the copyright law.
> Good luck,
> Dave Sloan
> In a message dated 4/6/2011 7:41:12 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
> Tom, if I understand your message correctly, this means that people who
> an individual obit from GenealogyBank.com (or another subscription site for
> old newspapers) should NOT publish a copy of the image of the obit on their
> blogs, because GenealogyBank.com owns the copyright of that image. Is
> (I haven't actually done this on my own blog...but I've seen it done quite
> bit, so I think it's important to clarify whether that is or is not okay.)
> Kerry Scott
> Milwaukee, WI
> On Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 3:16 PM, Tom Kemp <> wrote:
>> Copyright does apply to obituary notices.
>> Pre 1923 - no copyright applies
>> However - a digital copy of the obituary created and put online
>> creates a new copyright set of protections for the digital image.
>> Digital images of a newspaper obituary article - or obituary for any
>> time period - that are created by one commercial firm may never be
>> copied and place on another online site - commercial or not. It has
>> been my experience that these companies give permission for a digital
>> image to be reprinted in a book/hard copy genealogy but not permission
>> to put it up in electronic form on any other site.
>> >From 1923 forward to the present copyright does apply.
>> Some newspapers consider the family-written obituaries as a paid
>> advertisement and track it as a "classified ad" even though it appears
>> in the obituary column.
>> Some newspapers treat it as their editorial content in either case
>> (staff written or family written) the text may not be quoted verbatim
>> in another online site. It can appear in a published (book form - not
>> electronic) family genealogy. The digital image may only be reproduced
>> with prior written permission from the company.
>> Contrary to the frequent disclaimer in this string that companies will
>> not enforce their copyright infringement is not correct.
>> These companies will enforce their copyright.
>> Best rule of thumb: When in doubt - ask permission and clearly state
>> the place/purpose of your planned re-use of their newspapers.
>> On Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 4:00 PM, Paula Haymon <>
>> > I am surprised, too. Copyright exists from the moment an idea is
>> > otherwise expressed.Unlike a patent, it does not need to be registered
>> for the
>> > creator of the piece to enjoy that protection. Copyright owners have
>> > exclusive right to control the copying of the work. Fair use is not
>> > viable here as the entire obituary is copied and published, verbatim,
>> > used as a citation in other research, even though the intent of the
>> copier is
>> > likely for educational use and their is no direct commercial benefit
>> > copier. Should the copier be a genealogist for hire, one could argue
>> he or
>> > she could gain some commercial benefit.
>> > Connie Sheets wrote:
>> > I would be less than honest, however, if I didn't say I'm surprised so
>> > people seem to believe that obituaries are somehow exempt from
>> > practice if not in fact) and it's okay to copy and paste them elsewhere
>> if it's
>> > for a good cause.
>> The Transitional Genealogists List was created to provide a supportive
>> environment for genealogists to learn best practices as they transition
>> professional level work. Please respect the kind intentions of this list.
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> The Transitional Genealogists List was created to provide a supportive
> environment for genealogists to learn best practices as they transition to
> professional level work. Please respect the kind intentions of this list.
> To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
> with the word 'unsubscribe' without the
> quotes in the subject and the body of the message