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Is there a recommendable layperson's guide to copyright, privacy, etc?

Posted: 08 Nov 2019 11:57
by gamdyson
After 20 years’ research I’m thinking of turning my FH material into a website and putting it online while I think I’m still compos mentis. But I wonder what legal traps and pitfalls are waiting for me.
I'ld like to share my data more widely than I have so far, and I don't want to leave it to die with me (when the time comes). But posts here about copyright give me the strong impression that I probably ought to forget the whole idea. Is it naive to ask whether anyone can recommend a helpful layperson’s guide?
George

Re: Is there a recommendable layperson's guide to copyright, privacy, etc?

Posted: 08 Nov 2019 12:47
by tatewise
George, I think you are really asking a different question than your Subject line suggests.

Putting all your data online is generally illegal not only due to copyright but also GDPR data protection of living people.
So it would only be a de-sensitised version anyway.

See What will we do with our research? (16834) that discusses what you are really asking.

Re: Is there a recommendable layperson's guide to copyright, privacy, etc?

Posted: 08 Nov 2019 13:12
by ColeValleyGirl
You need to be considering:
  • Copyright -- obviously you own the copyright in any original material you've produced, and facts can't be copyrighted, but have you included an material written by others in your research (even a transcription of a source?) Do you have a photo of your parents' wedding day? Who owns the copyright in that -- very possibly the professional photographer who could theoretically object to you publishing -- or, if your late Uncle Albert took it, how long ago did he die? Did his copyright expire yet? If not, who inherited it? Can you contact them and get permission?
  • Ethics. Are you comfortable revealing that the dead husband of Aunty Ethel remarried bigamously? He might be dead but Aunty Ethel isn't and she might not want it published
  • The privacy of living people people and (for EU residents) their rights under the GDPR to control how their identifying data is used
  • The rights you were granted to go with any source images, photos etc. you might put on line -- some stuff like English birth certificates are Crown Copyright, and you can publish them, but if you download a census image from e.g. Ancestry you cannot republish it because of the rights (or lack of them) that they granted when you did the download.

Re: Is there a recommendable layperson's guide to copyright, privacy, etc?

Posted: 08 Nov 2019 13:16
by gamdyson
Mike
You may be right, up to a point. The thread you directed me to is certainly interesting and deals with an important topic, but I'm not only interested in creating a legacy.
I'm well aware of privacy considerations, and my Subject line should probably have said "....copyright, privacy, etc?" I really would like to know whether there is recommendable guidance of any kind, and whether there are any relevant legal issues beyond those two.
George

Re: Is there a recommendable layperson's guide to copyright, privacy, etc?

Posted: 08 Nov 2019 15:11
by davidf
ColeValleyGirl wrote:
08 Nov 2019 13:12
  • Copyright -- obviously you own the copyright in any original material you've produced, and facts can't be copyrighted, but have you included an material written by others in your research (even a transcription of a source?) Do you have a photo of your parents' wedding day? Who owns the copyright in that -- very possibly the professional photographer who could theoretically object to you publishing -- or, if your late Uncle Albert took it, how long ago did he die? Did his copyright expire yet? If not, who inherited it? Can you contact them and get permission?
I would broadly agree with Helen about Copyright - you don't want your hobby embroiled in "cease and desist letters" (or worse) from publishers, so it pays to be cautious.

The law on copyright (in the UK) changed a few years ago. Many of the changes have not be tested in court so it is not totally clear how some will play out. The general thrust of the changes seemed (to me, a non-lawyer) to be trying to make the law "more sensible" and to allow some of the more minor breaches subject to a concept of "fair dealing" (broadly "will the copyright holder suffer - usually economically - as a result of your use?").
Copyright law allows quotations to be used more widely without infringing copyright, as long as the use is fair (in law, the use must be a “fair dealing”, see the box below) and there is a sufficient acknowledgement – which generally means the title and the author’s name should be indicated. (Exceptions to copyright: Guidance for consumers, Intellectual Property Office, 2014, © Crown Copyright - quoted under the Open Government Licence)
The Intellectual Property Office published a series of guidance notes at the time. The most useful is probably, Exceptions to copyright: Guidance for consumers.

Re: Is there a recommendable layperson's guide to copyright, privacy, etc?

Posted: 08 Nov 2019 15:23
by Martin Tolley
The current November 2019 edition of Who Do You think You Are magazine has an article "Copyrights and Wrongs" which covers a range of related isssues.