Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Copyright and FindMyPast (and The National Archives)

In the comments to one of my recent posts concerning research at FindMyPast I was notified that, as reported at The Legal Genealogist - FindMyPast had some restrictive language in their Terms Of Use requiring permission to be sought for the usage of any images from the site.

So I emailed the site for permission. This morning - at 5:30 am locally (11:30 in London) They responded positively:
Thank you for your email. 
We are happy for you to use images of search functions/search results and transcriptions providing is acknowledged as the source in each caption. 
For images however it is often the case that the owner of copyright/database rights owner is not as most records are provided by external sources. For example the England and Wales census records. The underlying census records are Crown Copyright and so you would need permission from The National Archives to reproduce.
Many US citizens may get used to the tradition that government records are public domain - and not consider that our practices aren't the same in other countries.

So I visited The National Archives and read their Copyright terms
The material featured on this website is subject to Crown copyright protection and licensed for use under the Open Government Licence unless otherwise indicated.
The Open Government Licence is very similar to what Americans have come to expect with government documents.
  • worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive licence to:
    • copy, publish, distribute and transmit the Information;
    • adapt the Information;
    • exploit the Information commercially for example, by combining it with other Information, or by including it in your own product or application.
As long as you provide appropriate acknowledgment of the source. The appropriate acknowledgement procedure is rather detailed.

However - the Open Government Licence doesn't apply to the records downloaded from the National Archives site.  They 'indicate otherwise.' [And I suspected this was the same for the records on FindMyPast]

Digital Copies of Documents
The use of copies of records downloaded from our website using DocumentsOnline or Discovery is subject to the following conditions. Digital copies of documents may only be used for:
  • private study or research for a non-commercial purpose
  • education purposes; in the course of instruction or examination, or in preparation for instruction or examination (by either the giver or receiver of instruction). Copies may be used, and further copies of those copies may be made for this purpose.
Applications for permission for any other use should be addressed to the image library.
I fired off an email to the image library. My three posts this week are definitely at least partially of an educational purpose, but I will admit that isn't the sole purpose of those posts. They are also there to inform relatives of the information I have found. One might say I am educating my relatives, but that might be considered a stretch of that term. I figured I should request permission. I haven't yet heard back.

Time moves quickly on the Internet. At some point after responding to my email, The Legal Genealogist reported that FindMyPast changed their Terms today. Here's how the section on copyright now reads:
A large amount of time, money and effort has been expended to make these records and features available online. Many of these records and features have been obtained from other organizations and people. These people or organizations often own the intellectual property rights in the records (the copyright/database rights owner is displayed on most records) and website features. Accordingly, you may not use the records or features to create your own work (for example a database of records), copy or reproduce the records (either in whole or in part), or make available, share or publish them unless you have our permission (and/or that of the owner of the copyright/database rights in the work) in writing. You may however use screenshots of our website for blog postings, articles and presentations for informational and educational purposes. If you are a professional genealogist (as defined above) you may also use the records or features in preparing unpublished reports for clients. The website and services provided belong to brightsolid, and again, you must not copy or use them without our written permission. Therefore, you only have a limited license to access the website and to use the content for personal or professional family history research (including unpublished reports for clients if you are a professional genealogist).
It now allows the use of screenshots for informational or educational purposes, which would likely cover any of my typical blog posts. Still, I await The National Archives response to my request for permission this morning. Their permission might not be completely necessary anymore, but I will be happy to receive it.


Response from The National Archives:
Thank you for your email. 
Our policy is that the reproduction of direct images of documents from The National Archives on an open non-commercial website in perpetuity costs a one-off fee of £40.00. This fee covers up the use of up to twenty images. The charge reflects the fact that open website use constitutes worldwide publication. 
However, we do appreciate that in some cases, the images are provided simply to facilitate research, as is the case here, and therefore the fee can be waived. The images you have used are small sections only, and do not represent a likely target for commercial exploitation, so I confirm that you have permission to use these images without charge.
These can be credited: 'The National Archives, published by permission'. (But not (c)..., as copyright is waived for publication). 
Should you wish to use full Census pages, the fee will be payable. In all cases we ask that the images are protected from download at high resolution. You can do this by watermarking, or by keeping the resolution to a level whereby the document is legible for information and research, but is not of sufficient quality for commercial publication.

In brief:

If you want to include on your blog sections of records downloaded from FindMyPast that originate from The National Archives, you should clarify with The National Archives that it is a small enough section, but they are likely to waive their fee.

If you want to include entire records, there is a fee, but you can pay a one-time fee, and if you find 20 images first, it's only 2 pounds per.

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