How to Sell Your Grandmother Guilt-Free

In the last post, we told how our friend Sheri Fenley had been approached by a publisher who asked permission to use a photograph of her grandmother which had appeared on Sheri’s blog.  The publisher apparently had no intent to compensate Sheri although the publisher stood to make a fine sum of money from the publication on the cover of …Continue reading →


Should Newspaper Be Publishing “Love Letters”?

We’ve been discussing the publication of a number of “love letters” from a World War II sailor to his wife back home in San Francisco.  The letters from Claude Everett Dawson to his wife Nadine Henry Dawson were discovered in a trash bin in Grass Valley, Nevada County, California, a Sierra foothills community.   The local newspaper, The Union, has published …Continue reading →


Copyright Issues: Photographs

Around the first of the year, Jewelgirl left the following comment: I would really love to hear your ideas about old photographs and who owns them. I find it hard to think that a 100 year old photo is owned by a 130 year old photographer. And I need a signature from the dead person so I can copy the …Continue reading →


A Most Unique Law Lesson

For this lesson, you have to visit my friend the footnoteMaven. Enjoy!


Genealogy Law Quiz Answers

The fall semester will be over soon at Pacific McGeorge School of Law, so I thought I’d practice for the grading season with the quiz that appeared here a couple of days ago. BTW, every one who tried it got a passing grade. Here’s the “model answer”: Copyright Infringement The first claim against Delia is Al and Bert’s action for …Continue reading →


Some Final Thoughts on "Did Ancestry Violate Copyright Law?"

I think an analysis of the statutory “fair use” factors can lead to the conclusion that’s “Internet Biographical Collection” as it was initially set up, did not constitute a fair use of the copyrighted material collected and used. I think that Ancestry’s IBC probably does not qualify for the system caching “safe harbor” for infringement in the Digital Millennium …Continue reading →


Did Ancestry Violate Copyright Law?. . . . It Depends. . . .Part 4 of 4

Here are some important observations before we go on: (1) Ancestry’s IBC is operationally unlike Google’s search engine. “Fair use” and direct infringement cases are highly fact-specific. (2) Whether Google’s search engine is or is not “fair use” has yet to be considered adequatelyby a court because: The Field case involves unique facts (i.e., the plaintiff “set up” Google to …Continue reading →


Did Ancestry Violate Copyright Law? . . . . Part 3of 4: Fair Use

We’ve explored the Field v. Google, Inc., case thus far and learned about the facts of that case and some of the holdings. A number of commenters have insisted (and still insist) that because the court found Google’s caching to be “fair use,” the same result would obtain with respect to Ancestry’s Internet Biographical Collection. I do believe that the …Continue reading →


Part 3 of Legal Analysis Temporarily Delayed

It’ll be here later today. I have to add a few things and I got busy with my first priority–my students!


Did Ancestry Violate Copyright Law? . . . . Part 2 of 4

Before we get to the heart of the legal analysis, here are some additional facts which may be legally significant. They were provided in the Comments to yesterday’s post by Janice Brown of Cow Hampshire. Janice first called my attention to this issue in late August. Ancestry also provided an option (to subscribers only, and even after IBC became “free”) …Continue reading →

August 2015
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