Kathie, that is a bit of a grey area for sure. I can however assure you that copyrights are not usually held by the newspapers, and are much less of a concern for obituaries and death notices than many people may think.
1. If the death notice or obituary contains statements of facts, it cannot be covered under copyright in the United States.
I am no expert, but this will generally be the same for most other countries as well based on the Berne Convention and WIPO.
Statements of facts in this case would include Birth dates, death dates, locations of events, etc. Using this information, even in copy/paste format is not under the purview of copyright unless there is a creative element applied (e.g., a fully composed literary obituary of several paragraphs is more than likely copyrightable; a "death notice" is likely not copyrightable.)
2. Just because a newspaper (or website in this age) published a death notice or obituary doesn’t mean they own the copyright for the material.
These notices are often written a) by the family and provided to the newspaper for print for a fee, or b) details are provided by the family and written by the funeral home or a paid third party and then provided to the newspaper. So the family, funeral home or the third party would ultimately hold the copyright - not the newspaper as the publisher.
3. One of the most overlooked items in genealogy is "fair use". Reproduction of a copyrighted work for the purposes of research not an infringement of copyright. The basis of the "Fair Use Test", it is also important to consider:
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; [in this case, the reproduction of an obituary in WikiTree is not intended to be sold - this works in our favor].
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work; [in this case, we know that death notices and obituaries are primarily factual - this works in our favor]
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; [in this case, it is nearly impossible to identify the whole of the copyrighted work since there is no attribution provided, and we know that the newspaper will most likely not hold the copyright. In many cases, I would also say that most obituaries are not copied word for word (plagiarism) but are transformative, adding something new in the shape of a biographical outline - this works in our favor] and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. [in this case, there is not much market value for old newspaper obituaries (I doubt newspapers are reselling back-issues for profit) - this works in our favor].
Note: I am not a lawyer, but have spoken with a few surrounding genealogical usage of data. It is also important to note that fair use cannot be legally defined in any case until ruled by a judge.