Uploading Information to the Internet

@ 2001 Cath Trindle – Published in the CSGA newsletter – Vol 19 #4 April 2001. Permission to copy this page is granted with inclusion of this permission notice.

Before uploading any item to the internet it is important to stop and ask, “Do I have the right to publish this item?” Posting to the internet is a form of publication and all copyright law applies. So think:

  • Did this item come from a published work? Is that work covered by a copyright?
  • Did the item come from a non-published source? If so who owns the source? Do you have permission to share the information from the creator or owner of the source, or was it given to you solely for your own use?

Some items that we might not tend to think of as being covered by copyright laws are letters, journals and email. However, the authors of those items are entitled to full copyright privileges and permission is necessary to share them.

Some permission can be implied. If you write or email other researchers and tell them that you are planning to publish a family history, you can probably assume permission to use their information if they send it with no stipulation. That does not excuse you from the duty to fully source that same information. However, if you write or email the same researchers and state you are just looking for your family information, you should obtain permission before you use their information in a publication or post it on the web.

It doesn’t matter whether your motive is to share exciting information with others or achieve financial or social gain, if you do not have the right to publish, you do not have the right to post an item on the internet.

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