Wikia

Familypedia

Familypedia:Copyright

Talk2
165,052pages on
this wiki


GeneralEdit

Genealogy involves using information from other documents. That inevitably leads to questions about copyright requirements and limitations. It is the responsibility of contributors to understand what is proper and legal. These rules of thumb do not constitute legal advice and are a distillation of principles in use at Wikipedia and Commons. Contributors are directed to Wikia central for questions on licensing at Wikia.

In general for Genealogy wikia:

  • Don't get paranoid. Use your common sense. If in doubt, reword a passage you are copying, or don't upload the image.
  • You may copy:
    • OK- any tabular data on a person or thing- the contents of any data such as that found in tables is not copyrightable. The particular visual expression of the table could be. So just reuse the data, not the expression of the data.
    • OK: any material published prior to 1923.[1]
    • OK: any images on Commons
    • OK: any text or images on any language wikipedia, except in rare cases for images when the image is fair use, and the image does not illustrate the subject of your article.
    • OK: any images imported using Flickr import page [2]
  • You may not copy
    • Not OK: Don't copy textual descriptions verbatim from other sites e.g.: "Mary was born to Edgar and Dorothy Rubble on November 12, 1834." unless they are public domain or from a source that allows you to copy like Wikipedia. For copyrighted material that mainly conveys public data, such as the above example, simply reword the text passage. EG: "Mary was born on November 12, 1834. Her parents are Edgar and Dorothy Rubble".  You may not do this with stories, narratives, etc that contain creative content unless it meets one of the criteria above (e.g. "Mary was known privately as a shrew, she often said 'Holy Hobgoblins' while among friends, and she told me personally that as a young girl she often dreamt of living in a rose garden").
  • What if the image is copyrighted? It is not the end of the road. Even if the material is copyrighted, it is possible to use it in an article if it illustrates the subject. For example, a photograph of a person would be allowable as fair use if it were used to illustrate an article on a person or thing. Note that such fair use claims will be scrutinized, and images with false claims of fair use will be deleted, or use barred from articles where the use is not fair.
  • Content legally displayable in Genealogy under Creative Commons or Fair Use may be barred for other reasons, such as privacy of living individuals. See Wikia's guidelines on pages about living persons and Genealogy's privacy policy for more information.
  • Texts or images first published in the United States between 1923 and 1978, may have lost (or failed to ever get) a copyright for technical reasons (such as failure to include a copyright notice or failure to renew a copyright).  This is particularly true with photographs, which often failed to have the necessary copyright notice or to be renewed.  However, the rules are different for different years and determining a lapse of copyright takes considerable research.  Consult an editor with expertise in copyright or consider asking about the copyright status of images at the Wikimedia Commons. 

The short versionEdit

This section gives brief answers to the four most commonly asked questions about copyright on Genealogy wikia, with pointers to other relevant pages. The rest of this page gives a basic overview of copyright law.

Can I add something to Genealogy wikia that I got from somewhere else?Edit

In general, no- you will have to rewrite it. A lot of the content people want to add is from other web sites or from published books and is copyrighted, although some work has been made available by authors under an appropriate license (see belowWp globe tiny), and some work is in the public domainWp globe tiny (see belowWp globe tiny). The absence of a copyright notice does not mean that a work may be freely used.
Works whose licenses commercial use are unacceptable on Genealogy wikia as well (EG Creative Commons-NC). Under very narrow circumstances, copyrighted images can be used without permission under the "fair useWp globe tiny" clause of U.S. copyright law (see Genealogy:Non-free content and belowWp globe tiny). If in doubt, assume you cannot use it.

Can I use an image from someone else's wikia article in my article?Edit

Only if the image is released under [[wikipedia|:CC-BY-SA}} or a similarly free license. If the image is tagged as Fair useWp globe tiny, then unless it illustrates the subject of the article, most likely you cannot. See the Fair use section for more details.

Can I use an image from Commons?Edit

Any images or other content on Commons may be copied to Genealogy wikia. Please include the {{usedcommons}} tag to indicate where you uploaded the image from.

Can I reuse Genealogy wikia's content somewhere else?Edit

Genealogy wikia's textual content is copyrighted, but you may reuse it under the terms of our licensing requirements, summarized below.
Text in Genealogy wikia, excluding quotations, has been released under Creative Commons License: "CC-BY-SA" (or is in the public domainWp globe tiny), and can therefore be reused only if you release any derived work under a compatible license. This requires that, among other things, you attribute the authors and allow others to freely copy your work. (This is a summary, see the licence text for the exact details.)
If you are unwilling or unable to use CC-BY-SA for your work, use of Genealogy wikia content is unauthorized. Small quotations of Genealogy wikia content, with its source attributed, may be permissible under the "fair useWp globe tiny" clause of U.S. copyright law. See Genealogy:Citing Genealogy wikia for information about the proper citation of articles. No permission is needed to create a hyperlink to Genealogy wikia or its articles.
Images used in Genealogy wikia may have their own, completely independent licensing scheme. Looking at an image's description page by clicking on the image itself should ideally tell you the copyright status of the image. Many images are either in the public domain or licensed under copyleftWp globe tiny licenses (such as CC-BY-SA), but many are copyrighted and used on Genealogy wikia under the "fair useWp globe tiny" clause of U.S. copyright law.

What is copyright?Edit

Copyright is the right that the producer of a creative work has been granted to prevent others from copying it. Unlike a patentWp globe tiny, however, in most places (i.e., countries) you don't have to apply for a copyright - you get one automatically every time you produce creative work.
A creative work can be almost anything - a book, a song, a picture, a photograph, a poem, a phrase, or a fictional character. In the U.S., buildings built on or after December 1, 1990 are also eligible for copyright. [3]
Licenses may be granted to others, giving them the right to copy the work subject to certain conditions. A license is similar to a contract - the work may only be copied under the conditions given by the copyright holder or if one of the other exceptions to the copy right applies.
Copyright laws vary between countries; the relevant U.S. law is Title 17.[4] The Berne conventionWp globe tiny is a comprehensive international agreement on copyrights which is part of the copyright law of many nations.[5]
Copyright does not protect against all possible copying: both U.S. law and the Berne Convention limit copyright scope and enable much copying without permission even if the copyright holder objects. Specifically, broadcast and piano roll rights are specifically granted, with an automatic license fee, managed and collected by such organizations as BMI, ASCAP and BPI. In the US fair use (in the UK, fair dealing) is explicitly permitted as well, as is the right to sell a licensed copy of a copyrighted work, such as a video tape or sound recording. Also, both the Berne Convention and U.S. law require that a work have some original creativity to be eligible for a copyright monopoly. Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone ServiceWp globe tiny contains some examples of U.S. decisions about what is and isn't original, including examples such as typo correction.
"Copyright is a temporary monopoly granted by the government -- it creates the legal fiction that a piece of writing or composing ... is property and can only be sold by those who have been licensed to do so by the copyright holder". -- Orson Scott CardWp globe tiny Note that it is limited to the form of expression, not to the ideas. Thus, a book by Agatha Christie is likely to be copyrighted, but a book about a detective with an accent and odd personal mannerisms would not be, nor would a story about someone claiming to be the premier consulting detective in a major city be a violation of the Conan Doyle copyrights on Sherlock Holmes stories. Ideas and facts are not copyrightable in most places, only the form of expression of them.

Public domainEdit

A work which is not copyrighted is in the public domain, and may be freely copied by anyone. It may have been placed in the public domain by its creator, it may be ineligible for copyright (not original enough or otherwise excluded), or the copyright may have expired: in the United States for example, almost all works published prior to 1923 are public domain because their copyright term expired and in the UK and much of Europe, all musical recordings are in the public domain 50 years after release. (In the United States special laws have been passed to extend copyright for certain works beyond the normal term.)
All work produced by employees of the U.S. federal government as part of their work is public domain—thus, much of the content found on U.S. government websites (.gov and .mil) is public domain. However, the government frequently includes works on its websites which are copyrighted by someone else, and the U.S. government can even own copyright on works which are produced by others. In other words, some U.S. Federal websites can include works which are not in the public domain--check the copyright status before assuming something is public domain. Note also that this applies only to the U.S. Federal government. Most state governments retain the copyright on their work (California being a notable exception).
Works produced by the UK government are not public domain; they are covered by Crown copyrightWp globe tiny.
Seeing something on the Internet without a copyright notice does not mean that it is in the public domain. Only two countries, Uruguay and Paraguay, currently require copyright notices for a work to be covered by copyright.
If public domain work is included in a copyrighted product the new product is not public domain. The portions of the new copyrighted work that are from a public domain source may be removed and copied without permission. For example when a public domain text is included in a Genealogy wikia article the tags and any additional text are still under CC-BY-SA.

Derivative worksEdit

A derivative work is something that is "based on and a close copy of" another work. For example, the Harry PotterWp globe tiny movies are derivative works of the Harry Potter books. Therefore, Warner Bros.Wp globe tiny required J.K. RowlingWp globe tiny's permission to make and distribute the films.
You may not distribute a derivative work without the original author's permission unless you're using one of the rights they weren't granted (like fair use or fair dealing). Generally, a summary (or analysis) of something is not a derivative work, unless it reproduces the original in great detail, at which point it becomes an abridgement and not a summary.
Taking a work in the public domain and modifying it in a significant way creates a new copyright on the work. For instance, the Homecoming SagaWp globe tiny by Orson Scott CardWp globe tiny is a re-telling of the Book of MormonWp globe tiny. Therefore, the books in the Homecoming series can be copyrighted.
However, the new work must be different from the original in order for a new copyright to apply, as the court ruled in Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel CorporationWp globe tiny.
The Bridgeman Art Library had made photographic reproductions of famous works of art from museums around the world (works already in the public domain.) The Corel Corporation used those reproductions for an educational CD-ROM without paying Bridgeman. Bridgeman claimed copyright infringement. The Court ruled that reproductions of images in the public domain are not protected by copyright if the reproductions are slavish or lacking in originality. In their opinion, the Court noted: "There is little doubt that many photographs, probably the overwhelming majority, reflect at least the modest amount of originality required for copyright protection.... But 'slavish copying', although doubtless requiring technical skill and effort, does not qualify." [1]
This ruling only applies to two-dimension works. For pictures of statues (which is, effectively, a translation of a three dimensional work into a two-dimensional copy) the picture taker has creative input into which angle to take the photographs from. Therefore, a new copyright is created when the picture is taken. Therefore, pictures of public domain 3D works are not necessarily in the public domain.
Pictures of copyrighted buildings are not considered derivative works. "The copyright in an architectural work that has been constructed does not prevent the making, distributing, or public display of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the work – but only if the building in which the work is embodied is located in or ordinarily visible from a public place."[6]

What is fair use?Edit

Under certain conditions, you may copy a copyrighted work without a license from the original author. One of these limitations on the rights granted to the copyright holder is called "fair useWp globe tiny." A more restricted version called fair dealingWp globe tiny generally applies outside the United States.
Generally, fair use exceptions are ill-defined, and vary widely from country to country. What is fair use in one country may not be in another country.
Under U.S. copyright lawWp globe tiny, the primary things to consider when asking if something is fair use (set forth in Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107) are:[7]
  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Asking yourself these questions might help you determine if something is fair use:
  1. Is it a for profit competitor or not? Is it for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research? Is the use transformative (of a different nature to the original publication)?
  2. Is it a highly original creative work with lots of novel ideas or a relatively unoriginal work or listing of facts? Is the work published (to a non-restricted audience)? If not, fair use is much less likely.
  3. How much of the original work are you copying? Are you copying more or less than the minimum required for your purpose? The more you exceed this minimum, the less likely the use is to be fair. Are you reducing the quality or originality, perhaps by using a reduced size version?
  4. Does this use hurt or help the original author's ability to sell it? Did they intend to or were they trying to make the work widely republished (as with a press release)? Are you making it easy to find and buy the work if a viewer is interested in doing so?
None of these factors alone is sufficient to make a use fair or not fair - all of them must be considered and weighed. It's routine for courts to express degrees of acceptability or unacceptability for each factor and try to come to a summary and conclusion based on the balance.
Quotations are very well known and widely used form of fair use and fair dealing and are explicitly allowed under the Berne conventionWp globe tiny.
If you produce a derivative work based on fair use, your work is a fair use work. Even if you release your changes into the public domain, the original work and fair use of it remains and the net effect is fair use. To eliminate this you must make the use of the original so insubstantial that the portion used is insufficient to be covered by copyright.
It is possible for a work to be both licensed and fair use. You may have a license which applies in one country or for one use and may make fair use in other cases. The licenses help to reduce the legal risk, by providing some assurance that there won't be legal action for the uses they cover. It's often wise to ask for a license, even a restrictive license, even if you are sure that your use is fair.
  • Stanford University Library - Summaries of Fair Use Cases[8]
  • Giglaw - What is "Fair Use" in Copyright Law[9]
  • Nolo law center - When Copying Is Okay: The "Fair Use" Rule[10]

Genealogy wikia and fair useEdit

Because the database servers are located in the United States, Genealogy wikia is subject to U.S. copyright law in this matter and may not host material which infringes U.S. copyright law. warning.pngThe given value was not understood. is an evolving page offering more specific guidance about what is likely to be fair use in the Genealogy wikia articles and what Genealogy wikia policy will accept, with examples. In general, the educational and transformative nature of Genealogy wikia articles provides an excellent fair use case for anyone reproducing an article.

Other considerations for photographersEdit

Particularly in relation to photographers a number of other considerations may also restrict your right to take or publish photographs. For example a photograph of a person may infringe their right to privacy. Similarly you may not have the right to take photographs in non-public locations. These restrictions are often mistakenly referred to as copyright infringements when in fact other laws apply.
Useful short-hand guides may be found concerning certain rights and restrictions affecting photographs taken

LicensesEdit

A license is a permission to use a work in the way described by the license. A single work can have as many licenses as the creator decides are useful.
Example - the very widely used database MySQL is available with at least two possible licenses, one a GPLWp globe tiny license, the other a license allowing distribution of modifications without compelling publication of source code.
It's very common for a copyright holder to provide licenses tailored to the needs of an individual large business customer; it's much less so for individual, and small business customers. Typically, individuals will use one of the following boilerplates:

Non-commercial licensesEdit

There are many different kinds of non-commercial licenses, but generally they say something like You may use, copy, or distribute this work for non-commercial purposes.
Example: "Images contributed to this database by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes without asking permission from the COC or paying copyright royalty"
Jimbo has prohibited the use of these.[11] However, they may still be used under the doctrine of fair use.  Furthermore, they are frequently copyfraud.

Educational licensesEdit

It is very common for scientific works to allow educational use. What each publisher considers to be educational varies. Some consider only schools and colleges to be educational, others include all forms of public education, including encyclopedias, to be educational.
Jimbo has prohibited the use of these.[11] However, they may still be used under the terms of fair use.

Permissive licensesEdit

Permissive licensesWp globe tiny allow for unrestricted use, modification, and distribution of a copyrighted work. The modified BSD licenseWp globe tiny, the X11 licenseWp globe tiny, and the MIT licenseWp globe tiny are each examples of permissive licenses. These licenses seek to make it as easy as possible to reuse the licensed work: the objective is generally to make the work available and as widely used as possible, but without releasing it to the public domain. Those using permissively licensed works can relicense derivative work under more restrictive license terms.
Because of the very limited license requirements, license incompatibility problems with this type of license are relatively uncommon, so it is very easy to reuse these works.

Attribution licensesEdit

An attribution license is a permissive license with an additional requirement of attribution of previous authors' works in any derivative work. An attribution licenses says (essentially): "You may use, copy, or distribute this work, as long as you give credit to the original author." The original "four clause" BSD licenseWp globe tiny is an example of an attribution license.
Example: "Photo by John Smith. Copyright 1999. Permission granted for free use and distribution, conditioned upon inclusion of the above attribution and copyright notice."

Copyleft licensesEdit

Some licenses are called "copyleft" licenses. Essentially, they have three key properties:
  • A work licensed with a copyleft license can be copied at will.
  • All published derivative works must use exactly the same license as the original: if you use the work, you're forced to use the same license for your own original work as well.
  • If your work is using a different license, you can't use the copyleft license, even if your work is also using a (different) copyleft licence.
You aren't forced to use the copyleft work as part of your own work if you don't want to accept the license.
There is increasing awareness of the license incompatibility problem of copyleft licenses, since many people are simply trying to force reusers to publish the source of their work. Licenses which allow the use of other copyleft licenses seem likely to evolve to overcome the fragmentation of the copyleft world. Today, multiple licensing (licensing under all desired copyleft licenses) is the best workaround available. Sometimes people don't want to solve this problem: they may believe that the Free Software Foundation or Creative Commons is best and may want to hurt the one they dislike or promote only the one they like.
Example: Alice writes a thesis on St. Peter and releases it under a copyleft license. Bob wants to use part of her thesis in his book about the Bible, but if he does, he would have to release his book under the same license. This would let others copy Bob's book whenever they want without paying him for it.
Example: Alice writes a programming language example at WikiBooks. Bob can't use it in his GPL computer program because the GFDL and GPL are different and incompatible copyleft licenses. Alice would need to offer both a GFDL and GPL license to allow this use.
Example: Alice writes a thesis. Bob wants to use part of the thesis in a description of a trade secret. He can't do this, because the license requires him to make the trade secret public, not restrict distribution to only those who agree not to publish the trade secret. Bob would need to ask Alice for a different license.


GFDLEdit

The GNU Free Documentation LicenseWp globe tiny (GFDL) is a copyleft license produced by the Free Software FoundationWp globe tiny.
Example: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or later
Some people have complained that the GFDL is too hard to interpret and too hard for reusers of small works to comply with because the license can be longer than the work covered by the license. This reflects its origins as a license intended for manuals, not small works. There is some hope that the FSF will help to remove these problems in a future version.
Prior to July, 2009, all text on Genealogy wikia was formerly licensed under the GFDL, and is now available under CC-BY-SA. See licensing at Wikia.

Creative Commons licensesEdit

"Creative Commons LicenseWp globe tiny" (CCL) may refer to one of several licenses written by Creative CommonsWp globe tiny (founded by Lawrence LessigWp globe tiny). Most of the CCLs allow non-commercial distribution of the work if it's unmodified, but different ones allow different combinations of various features:
  • Requiring attribution.
  • Noncommercial (disallowing commercial reuse).
  • No Derivative Works (prohibiting someone from distributing a derivative work).
  • Share AlikeWp globe tiny (copyleft) (requiring someone to distribute their derivative work under the same license).
  • Some of the new licences still apply full copyright to people in developed countries (Developing Nations Licence), or don't permit distribution of the whole work (Sampling Licence)

Typical commercial licensesEdit

A typical commercial license is written to prohibit redistribution and limit the rights of the licensee as far as practical while still allowing them to make some use of the work. While any license is better than no license, these are often very restrictive.
As with non-commercial and educational licenses, these may not be used on Genealogy wikia, although works licensed as such may be used under the guise of fair use.

Further readingEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ For more information on the 1923 rule, see Wikipedia:Template:PD-US
  2. ^ The Flickr importer screens for correct licensing terms, but it is still the responsibility of the contributor to manually verify that the licensing terms permit use.
  3. ^ Copyright Claims in Architectural Works
  4. ^ Title 17
  5. ^ berne convention signatories
  6. ^ Mary Cullen Yeager and Katherine A. Golden LLP: Owner vs. Architect: Who Owns the Design?
  7. ^ Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107
  8. ^ Stanford University Library - Summaries of Fair Use Cases
  9. ^ Giglaw - What is "Fair Use" in Copyright Law
  10. ^ Nolo law center - When Copying Is Okay: The "Fair Use" Rule
  11. ^ a b Jimbo has prohibited the use of noncommercial-only images


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Wikipedia:Copyright FAQ. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki