Interesting Article Here.

  Today’s announcement (here) that has acquired the popular collaborative genealogy site Find A Grave is still sending shock waves throughout the genealogy and family history community three hours after the announcement. And I can almost guarantee that this will be the lead topic of conversation online and in-person/at events by members of the genealogy community for days, if not weeks to come.  But what does this acquisition really mean? Here is my take on it which means my observations plus some answers to questions posed to via email:

What I'm wondering is: Will they require us to now have a membership now to view the site?

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Who would own the copyright to content put on 'Find a grave'? I have put a number of ancestors on this site and have included text from a future family history book I intend to publish. Is this material still mine?

All good questions Margaret.  We should all keep an eye on this and post an article if need be.

Margaret…You retain the copyright to whatever you post on these sites.  Both Find A Grave and Ancestry, like many similar sites where users contribute content, consider themselves "distributors" of the material, rather than owners or copyright holders.  They do this for the simple reason that they can disavow liability in the case of copyright infringement, libel, or other civil claims that may arise from the content posted by third-party users of their site.  "Not my fault…we just supply the forum, not the content."

Of course, there are probably elements that they do retain copyright to, involving the areas of their site that display content that they created…but as to your question…the copyright is still yours.  Same goes for photographs that you might post on these sites.  Of course, that doesn't prevent people from misappropriating your work. You run that risk anytime you post anything online.  I can't even begin to tell you how many of my photographer friends have had their photos stolen and posted elsewhere…with someone else taking the credit.  It's rampant.  And very difficult to combat unless you have the time to hunt them down one by one, send cease and desist letters, and then follow up as necessary.  I never post anything online that I'm concerned someone will nick.  The photos I post on Facebook, WG, etc., I'm not worried about.  My portfolio is locked down on a professional photography website, which is about as safe as it gets online.  Even then, there's still the chance.

Thank you Lisa.

Thank you Belinda! The cynic in me suspects that there will be a fee to pay . . .


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