[APG Public List] Obituaries and copyright

Pat Asher pjroots at att.net
Tue Nov 3 14:28:24 MST 2009

At 11:14 AM 11/3/2009, Leslie Drewitz wrote:
>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).

If you want to get technical, "obituaries" are those articles written 
by newspaper staffers on the death of a prominent local.  They 
usually appear on the front or second page of a Section.

The list of recent deaths on the "obituary page" are probably more 
correctly called "death notices".

The latter are quite often composed using a boiler-plate from the 
newspaper or funeral home and contain little or no original 
expression, which is required for copyright.

The COPYRIGHT-L archives contain several threads on the subject of 
copyright of obituaries.  While the archives contain a total of 
35,940,830 documents/posts, searching for "obit" (without the quotes) 
in the body of the message using Advanced Search returns 39 
documents.  As an answer to your specific question, I recommend

Pat Asher

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