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Family Data Copyright
Posted by: Fazli Sameer (ID *****5463) Date: April 01, 2003 at 21:56:27
  of 2355

Message sent in by Sandy Austin at

which may be useful knowledge for all genealogy researchers:-

Hi fellow Researchers
Not to stir up that hideous hornet's nest again . . . but we were sent this by a friend. It was published in the most recent Rootsweb newsletter:

I recently discovered that someone called Richard Alan Nelson has taken the results of 25 years research on my Grierson family and has uploaded it onto the site via the rootsweb site and is passing it off as his
own work.
When I complained, Rootsweb sent the following "Whether or not he obtained the ged directly from you is immaterial. Facts such as names, dates and places can not be copyrighted.
Copyright requires originality (your original, creative writing). The Supreme Court (I presume US) has ruled that facts can never be original, they can only be discovered and are "free for the taking".
So if you share your data with your 'cousins' and they pass it on to a third party then that person can pass it off as his own! Nice one!!


We ask, why are you getting your knickers in a twist, Irene!
Perhaps if she felt so strongly - after all it is a bit of a bummer when you spend time and money and then someone swipes it all - she should write to Richard Nelson and ask for a credit line, attributing her part in the original research! It's only fair. The same Rootsweb newsletter also includes:

I understand the frustration that can occur when you see your years of work credited to someone else. This is one reason why my homepage is not the typical family tree. I am into genealogy for more than just an accumulation of names and dates. I am interested in the history of it, and include the facts and lore on my pages, along with copyright notification.
My accumulation of dates, places and names is the result of many, many people who have helped me along the way with a bit of this and a piece of that. I do the same for other researchers when I can. That's part of what makes us family.

Gayle Thorpe Baar, MS, MLS
Irving, Texas



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