Image usage issues

+6 votes
149 views
This is something that has always been in the back of my mind. The use of images seems to be an area where Wikitree could stand some improvement. Wikitree is strong (seemingly) in every area except for that. We do things by the book and legally of course, but I note our trees seem to fall short in this area. For so many to be part of Wikitree and put many hours of effort it seems that researching photo sources is last on the priority list. I would note the exception to be the notables, royalty, movie stars etc...sure it is easy to find free non-copyrighted pictures for a president for example with a full page of sources, but is this all we are? Since Wikitree isn't a non-profit geneology site (I understand why) it places some limitations on our ability for free use. Headstones are also problematic as even though I myself have taken a picture of a headstone and posted it on FindAgrave, someone else is the "manager". There are those on Wikitree who have contributed by taken the photo, but can only link to a site owed by a pay site. Somehow this doesn't seem right. Does anyone share this concern or is the majority satisfied with verbal sourcing and DNA?
in Photos by Mark Hough G2G6 Mach 1 (19.5k points)
If you took the picture and let Find a Grave use it, then you are the owner and someone else can contact you for use of the photo. If you gave Find a Grave sole and exclusive right to use the photograph, then you essentially gave them ownership of the photo and even you would have to ask their permission to use that photograph.  It would be a good idea to check the fine print in the Find a Grave agreement.   Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, so do not take anything I say as legal advice.

2 Answers

+5 votes
Pre-lockdown one of our hobbies was taking pics for Wikitree and we hope to get back to it soon. We could contribute more if members added more location categories to their profiles.
by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Pilot (272k points)
+1 vote
For noncommercial use, just about any photograph created more than 75 years ago is now in the public domain and no longer subject to copyright restriction.  So, say for example, I posted a photograph of my 2nd great grandfather, Elhanan Fitzgerald on his WikiTree profile. (Which I did.) He died in 1916, so the photograph is more than 75 years old.  FamilySearch would then be within their rights to use this image without my consent, which they did. (I had absolutely no issue with them doing this... 100% okay.)  However, say someone wanted to use pictures of my grandmother, Lucille (Krum) Remynse (1903-1999) from her profile. If they wanted to use the picture of her as a baby, the photograph would be more than 75 years old and there would be no problem.  But if they wanted to use the picture of her as an adult with white hair taken in the 1960s, they would need my permission to use it.  Which they would get if it was someone doing a family tree on another service.

Personally, I feel it is kind of uncool to use someone else's family photo without first trying to get their okay, even if it is old.  But if the picture is of some public figure from more than 75 years ago, it is fair to use.  Example - I was doing a profile of a person who had been a US congressman for a couple terms back in 1839-1842. I found a few photos of him from his time in congress and used one on his profile.  Clearly public domain images and I did not need to worry about copyright restrictions.  It is also nice if you can give credit to the photographer or the source from which you got the photo.  

I am not a lawyer, so do not take any of this as legal advice.
by Anonymous Fitzgerald G2G5 (5.3k points)
Oh yes , he was a public official. Franklin Hough was federally appointed to the first Chief of the US Forestry Division in 1883 and died in 1885. He was a third cousin of mine. Photos is used in the Library of Congress.; A question...when you say someone are you referring to another person working on the same tree, or possibly a relative, or do you mean some random person on another site?
I was referring to someone working on another site like Ancestry, Family Search, or Find a Grave.

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