Tuesday, May 8, 2007

More on Ancestry.com images

Concerning the issue of The Generations Network (TGN) demanding deletion of full or partial images obtained from the http://www.amcestry.com/ subscription web site:

I posted my own comment yesterday here. Please read the comments to that post for some excellent insights. Dave and Wunder think that this is not a copyright law issue, but a contract law issue. Subscribers to Ancestry.com may have agreed to some restriction on the use of images from Ancestry on a web site or in a report or book. It would be useful to have that information so we all can understand what the limitations are.

I wonder if there is a similar problem with images from a NARA microfilm, an FHL microfilm or an image from HeritageQuestOnline, so there may be work-arounds for researchers who want to use census images. But it will be a hassle segregating the Ancestry images from the other images on our computers, and even obtaining the images may be a hassle - a trip to the FHC, FHL, NARA, or a library with HQO.

Another work-around for someone like Michael John Neill, who posted images of famous people, would be to transcribe the information onto a census form and post the transcription. That would take considerable time and effort, but it would be doable. As long as it is not an Ancestry copyrighted form, I guess.

I am quite sure that many professional speakers and writers have used Ancestry images in their presentations, magazine articles and books. Is TGN going to hunt them all down and force them to delete the images on penalty of canceling their Ancestry subscription? Or require them to pay a fee for use of the images? Those options sure seem like "biting the hand that feeds them" to me.

This still seems real petty on the part of TGN. Will we have to try to spot the "Ancestry spies" at conferences and society meetings?

For a good discussion of copyright law and its application to genealogy research, please go to Craig Manson's Geneablogie blog and read his posts.

UPDATE 5/9, 12:30 PM: I used a word in my initial post that was inappropriate. I have substituted a better word for it. My apologies to anyone that was offended.


Bill Cribbs said...
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Bill Cribbs said...

One can get these same images from a microfilm reader/printer and post them at their pleasure. The difference between Ancestry's images and the microfilm is that theirs are processed and filters for the clearest possible representation. They've spent a ton of money to get these images.
I think that showing snippets of images only helps TGN to sell their subscriptions as it shows the clarity of their product.
Bill Cribbs