[APG Public List] Copyright and obits

Traci Thompson TThompson at Braswell-Library.org
Wed Nov 4 10:15:44 MST 2009

Leslie (and any other librarians),

Take a look at this very up-to-date document, which was posted recently
to the Librarians Serving Genealogists list (you can download it to your


It has nice flow charts for decision-making.  I think your obits would
be covered on many levels by "fair use".

Traci Thompson 
Local History/Genealogy Librarian 
Braswell Memorial Library 
727 N Grace St 
Rocky Mount, NC 27804 
252-442-1951 ext 247(voice) 
Opinions expressed are my own. 

* Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.
From: "Leslie Drewitz" <ldrewitz at mybpl.org>
Subject: [APG Public List] Obituaries and copyright
To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org
Message-ID: <WC20091103161406.3205A9 at mybpl.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Good morning to all.  I have a question that I think I know the answer
to, but I'm not 100% sure of.  My department head asked a question about
the obituaries that we transcribe and put on our web site in index form
(that in some cases is searchable).

Most of the obituaries were donated (in typed transcription) from a
patron who had gathered them over the years (all family names and
extended family).  There were literally over 1000 of these.  Since then,
we have gathered our own obit collection (town residents) from local and
regional newspapers and transcribed them as well.  We have obituary
binders where we store a photocopy of the original obit and then it is
transcribed into the computer database and then (in some instances)
linked online through an index.

My Department head asks this question: "Are we infringing on any
copyrights here?"  

My opinion is that these "death notices" are public domain and are not
even written by the newspapers that carry them (my daughter is a funeral
director and advises that every funeral home has a preferred "plug in"
obituary form that they use to compose death notices).

So, I thought that I would consult the list and ask you to chime in with
your experience on this. Are we in any type of violation here?

Thank you,

Leslie Drewitz C.G.L./PLCGS
Local History/Genealogy
Bloomingdale Public Library
101 Fairfield Way
Bloomingdale, Illinois 60108
(630) 924-2765
LDrewitz at mybpl.org

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