There I saw photographs of Dixon Bartley's home and Dixon's will (that I had photographed from microfilm at a Family History Center) which had been copied from my blog. There was also an image of a newspaper clipping that I had scanned and posted (but which the owner of this tree could and may have requested, scanned, and uploaded herself).
In addition to the images, there were several posts from My Ancestors and Me which had been copied word for word and pasted into the stories area of this individual's tree. Granted, there were links to the individual posts somewhere on the pages but there was no other mention of how the images and words had been obtained, who had written them, or that permission to copy and paste them had been obtained.
The owner of this tree has never contacted me. She has never left a comment on any of the posts she copied, nor has she emailed me directly.
This feels like a violation of copyright to me. I sent a message to her through the Ancestry contact information telling her that, asking that she remove my content, and requesting that she contact me. She has not yet responded.
When I was looking at her pages again this evening I noticed a link to Ancestry.com's Terms and Conditions. (Click through if you want to read the whole section about user provided content.) There were several parts that stood out to me.
Ancestry states that they host and provide access but are not responsible for the accuracy of the user provided content. The company doesn't monitor or preview user provided content but may use automated filtering tools (which seem to focus particularly on obscene content) and reserves the right to remove content. The company states it is sensitive to copyright and intellectual property rights of others.
Directly from the terms and conditions:
The decision to upload or share User Provided Content on the Websites is your responsibility and you should only submit or share User Provided Content that belongs to you (or where you have obtained all necessary permissions or consents) and that will not violate the rights of others. Be aware that copyright and other intellectual property rights will normally belong to the creator of the material in question and you should not reproduce or submit anything without permission of the owner. By submitting User Provided Content to any of the Websites, you represent and warrant that you have the right to do so or that you have obtained any necessary third party consents....Additionally, the terms and conditions state,
By submitting User Provided Content on any of the Websites, you grant Ancestry and its Group Companies a perpetual, transferable, sublicenseable, worldwide, royalty-free, license to host, store, copy, publish, distribute, provide access to create derivative works of, and otherwise use User Provided Content submitted by you to the Websites, to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered.Does this mean that because someone else copied and posted my work to Ancestry, it now belongs to Ancestry?
I'm interested in interacting and cooperating with other descendants of my ancestors who are researching the same individuals and families. And I'm obviously interested in sharing my research or I wouldn't have a blog. But seeing what I've written copied word for word and posted elsewhere on the internet without my knowledge or permission feels like a violation. It's causing me to reconsider blogging about my ancestors.
Is this a copyright violation or am I just being too sensitive? Is this how the genealogy community does things and I'm just unaware of how it works? Is this something that generally happens and writers/photographers ignore it? Or is it a violation of my copyright?
If you've had a similar experience please share and tell me what you did, if anything, and what the outcome was. Thank you.
Copyright © 2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.