Copyright law and publishing record images

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lcafarel
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Copyright law and publishing record images

Postby lcafarel » 08 May 2012, 20:49

As you may have noticed, Ancestry.com has recently updated its terms of use regarding the posting without permission of copyrighted record images on its website as part of family trees, etc. A month ago, before coming across the new terms on Ancestry, I wrote to the Intellectual Property Office of FamilySearch.org (actually the office for the LDS Church, which also owns Ancestry) to inquire whether it was acceptable to post record images obtained from FHL microfilms on Ancestry family trees and how to secure permission for posting images to personal family websites and genealogical blogs and for publishing images in professional articles or family history books. The response indicated that the contracts FamilySearch.org has with the owners of original records such as those held by Italian comuni only prescribe the use of these records for "incidental, personal, noncommercial" research purposes and that one must secure any permissions for web or print publication from the original owners. The writer stated that as long as someone had such permissions, the LDS church had no problem with such uses.

In the case of Italian vital records, I take the owners of original records to be the individual comuni. Do the comuni also own census records and catasti?

I'm wondering if anyone knows more about the intellectual property laws governing the publication of Italian and other records (even those obtained from NARA and U.S. city or state archives). Do copyright limitations expire after a certain time since the records were created, as they do with published works in the U.S.? Also, does anyone have experience securing permissions for publication?

Thanks for any information you can provide.

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