+4 votes


I found an obituary for someone I was researching on  I've seen photos of articles on other profiles, but I wanted to make sure that this isn't some sort of copyright infringement.  I did look at the copyright policy on the website, but I didn't find it very clear.  Of course I can just cite the article without including the jpeg, however I thought the jpeg was striking both due to its length and inclusion of a picture.  The profile in question is HERE.

Thank you in advance!

Betsy Ko

WikiTree profile: William Stitt
in The Tree House by Betsy Ko G2G6 Mach 1 (18.0k points)

3 Answers

+6 votes
I'm pretty sure the picture of the newspaper is theirs and cannot be posted elsewhere. But you can transcribe it and cite.

Another possibility is to check for the same item on Chronicling America.  There is some overlap between what the two sites have.
by Amy Garber G2G6 Mach 1 (11.3k points)
+8 votes
I don't think it's necessary to post a photo. allows you to make a clipping, and I believe anyone can see that whether they have a subscription or not.  I just post a link to the clipping.  Please correct me if I'm wrong about the accessibility of clipping links.
by Herbert Tardy G2G6 Pilot (653k points) will do an OCR of the clipping. As is typical with character recognition a little cleanup of mis-read characters may be necessary. Their terms of service should be consulted for what you can do with that.
I don't have a subscription and can see articles perfectly fine when I click clipping links so you're not wrong.
Thanks for confirming, David!

I do the same, Herb. The individual clippings serve, if you will, as "live" advertising billboards; that's why uses them. And that's a very valuable benefit for researchers.

I'm also, albeit slowly, trying to get into a habit that seems to be becoming more prevalent on Wikipedia. If an item used in a source citation may be difficult to locate elsewhere, e.g., a clipping or a free-to-view source image, I try to remember to hop over to the Internet Wayback Machine and get a capture of the URL, then post both links in the citation. There is nothing so diaphanous or impermanent as an internet link.

Not to reignite past copyright discussion on G2G (for that see an earlier discussion here last January)--and I'm speaking only of U.S. law here, being applicable to me as a U.S. citizen when I find a U.S. publication originally made prior to 1926 (or an applicable government publication) and that I then post on a U.S.-owned website--anything published through 1925 is in the public domain. U.S. case law, including Supreme Court decisions, has made it clear that two-dimensional items in the public domain that are subsequently copied or reproduced with the intent of replicating the original cannot themselves then be copyrighted. The new scan, image, or photograph remains in the public domain unless a new "creative layer" is added, e.g., by translation, revision, annotation, illustration, or other means that must then be part of the new item, not simply something extra accompanying it. and other sites have a lot of imaged material that was published prior to 1926, and if I find an interesting obituary or marriage announcement published before that, I save the item as a JPEG and will upload it to WikiTree if I believe it might be of use to others (the downloads can be very large, so I'll often also Photoshop them to a more web-friendly size). As of January 2022, items published in 1926 will enter the public domain.

The U.S. clarification was needed in part because Betsy's William Stitt was born in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, and died in Montreal. In the small world department, ancestry in Kirkcudbrightshire is the farthest back we've been able to trace my yDNA line.

Hello Edison--That is a very small world coincidence indeed!  Thank you very much for thorough explanation.  

+4 votes
Thank you to all who took time to respond.  I will err on the side of caution and take it down.  It's quite true that readers can access the clipping via the link; I tested it with another browser.  And, it's way too long to transcribe!
by Betsy Ko G2G6 Mach 1 (18.0k points)

I think this is wise, Betsy.

However, it raises a question I've worried about before. If you have a account and make a public clipping, what happens to it if eventually your account is closed? Note that the clippings do carry the user name of the account holder who made them: see Betsy's example. Will that, or indeed the clipping itself, survive indefinitely? Of course, we want clippings to be permanent when linked from WikiTree.

This is an excellent question.  I myself go on and off with the subscription.  I just looked at my clippings collections and I see everything that I've collected over a few years.  However, I don't know if I can access these when my subscription is paused.  Same would go for links to these clippings inserted within a WikiTree profile.  

The way I craft citations always includes the newspaper's name, date, page and article title.  So, in a worst case scenario, someone with an active subscription could recreate my search and find the article on their own.  Not perfect, but better than nothing.

My subscription hasn't lapsed for a few years, so I honestly don't know what might happen to clippings made by former subscribers; I assume they would remain, but that may be a misplaced assumption.

I mentioned above that I'm trying to get into the habit of including a Wayback Machine capture of items that might otherwise be difficult to locate, like clippings. It only takes a few seconds to get a capture, and it provides a backup plan. From last July's Connect-a-Thon, here's an example of how I construct a citation:

"Miss Vivian Cooper Announces Personnel,"''The Greenwood Commonwealth'', Greenwood, Leflore County, Mississippi; edition of 14 Aug 1940, page 2, column 2 : accessed 24 July 2021. Bride: Vivian Josephine Cooper; Groom: David E. Hicks; Marriage Date: 15 Aug 1940; Venue: First Methodist Church of Itta Bena. [ Free-to-view image] of clipping from; [ archival capture of clipping] at

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