A lot of wiki-style family tree sites are very particular about copyright on family photos. I tried to educate myself about the issues around copyright, and found this post by The Legal Genealogist, really helpful. There're a lot of complicated permutations that people ask her about in the comments, but here is what I came away with:Read more... )

I am lucky that many of my immediate family branches have few twigs. Snapshots taken by quite a few of my great-grandparents have almost no one but me to inherit the rights. I have been going through the pictures I have online and attaching "copyright info". If I don't own the copyright, I don't necessarily take the photo down, but I let anyone who might copy it know its status. So here are some examples of what I've been adding to my photos:

"This photo was taken by [-----] [-----], who died in 1955, so the photo isn't out of copyright until 2025. If the rights descended to his heirs, there are only myself, my uncle and my cousin to own them, and all of us give permission for the image to be copied and used with or without attribution."

"I do not own the copyright to this photo. Copy at your own risk."

"This photo was taken in a studio about 1880. The photographer has undoubtedly been dead longer than 70 years, but it is possible his descendants still own the rights."

Yes, I did email my uncle and cousin to ask if they cared if old photos get shared on the internet. They both gave a bemused, "Of course not," which I have put aside for the record, just in case. :)


genealogy: Cover of the Register for Alameda County 1904 (Default)
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