Category Archives: Genealogy

Educational Materials

As I gave my last presentation of “But It’s My Family….Copyright issues for the 21st Century Genealogical Community” in Las Vegas last week my hope was that someone else would take up the mission of discussing copyright issues with genealogists and genealogical societies.  I would like to make my presentation materials available to anyone that would like to do so or to any society that would like to share with it’s members.  Feel free to download, change, enhance, share or anything else that would be useful in helping the genealogical community understand the issues of copyright.  Links to the PowerPoint presentation and to the PDF handout have been placed on the blog page “Educational Materials.”

Cath Madden Trindle – 17 Dec 2012

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Trans Pacific Partnership and Copyright

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement being negotiated between is negotiating with eleven countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, United States. Canada and Mexico.

I offer no opinions here, just some links to blogs and articles on the intellectual property portion of the agreement for your perusal.  Feel free to leave comments!

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Fairey vs. AP

Cath Madden Trindle

Another controversial copyright case that has come to a conclusion is that of  Shepard Fairey, the creator of the Obama campaign poster in 2008.  Mr. Fairey was sued by AP for violation of copyright when he used a picture taken by an AP Photographer as the basis for his poster.  In this case he argued FAIR USE saying the original picture had been transformed into a work of art.

There are many on both sides of that issue. Perhaps less controversial is the fact the in trying to prove his point he lied about the picture he used.  The second picture included President Clinton and therefore only half would have been used.  But back to the issue at hand.  In using the picture Mr. Fairey made a great deal of money, so definitely not a non-profit use.  He might rightly argue, however, that the worth of the picture increased when he used it for the poster, so perhaps could have won his case on that fact…..IF….and this is a big IF.

IF he had credited AP and the photographer when he released his work.  He did not!!!!

This is a huge issue.  As genealogists, much of what we gather and use might be considered a fair use, but only if you give credit where credit is due.   Even when the material is no longer subject to copyright, use without crediting the source is unethical at best.

Mr. Fairey not only had to pay 1.6 million to AP (over 1 million of that out of his pocket) but he also has to do 300 hours of community service and is on probation for 2 years for tampering with evidence when destroyed information on his computer that showed which picture he actually used.  This large a settlement isn’t likely to happen in the genealogical world, but as we gather information online we are sometimes dealing with ……….

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