Randy Seaver has examined the Ancestry.com Terms and Conditions here. It appears that Ancestry’s images are licensed for “personal and professional history research.” Furthermore, the license provides, “Online or other republication of Content is prohibited except as unique data elements that are part of a unique family history or genealogy.” Randy surmises that downloaded Ancestry images could be used in a conference or society presentation or published in a book, magazine, or website as long as it is part of a “unique family history or genealogy.”
He may be right.
A commenter on Randy’s site points out that the restrictions on use of Ancestry’s content is the result of contract and not copyright. [This comment may have been removed]. The comment suggested that Ancestry had nothing protectable under copyright law. The commenter was correct in that Ancestry’s restrictions are imposed by contract. However, (1) Ancestry’s images, although images of government information, probably are protectable under copyright law and (2) the contract sets forth the extent to which Ancestry will allow use of its copyrighted material. Make sense? But the commenter is correct that “fair use” can by constricted by contract.
May 11, 2007 Friday at 1:40 am