FamilySearch Wiki talk:Copyright, Copyleft, and Intellectual Property

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Interim copyright needed!

You should probably have a copyright notice posted at Project:Copyrights in the interim anyway, since w/o a copyright notice, you have no protection for the content of this site. You can change the copyright once you figure out where you want to go with this. The Earl 16:47, 6 March 2008 (MST)

It should be noted that most copyrights are now automatic upon creation of the work and protected by law in most jurisdictions. This is a relatively recent change with respect to how copyrights are treated and a more thorough discussion exists on the wikipedia site. I am happy to see the institution of the Creative Common License, since it has provisions that allow us to share material freely. Even with the Creative Commons License, our personal copyrights on our original contributions are still valid. Tom Huber 04:36, 15 March 2010 (UTC)


  • Since the wiki's seed content comes from FamilySearch paper publications, should the agreement allow FamilySearch to publish the wiki's content in paper publications and sell these publications at cost?
  • Should users be able to redistribute wiki content without attribution?
  • Should users be able to redistribute wiki content for profit?
  • Should the agreement prohibit companies from distributing FamilySearch Wiki content on their sites without permission?
  • Should the agreement allow companies to distribute FamilySearch Wiki content on their sites for free?
  • Should the agreement prohibit companies from distributing FamilySearch Wiki content on their sites for a fee?

What I think

FamilySearch (FS) should have the ability to re-publish, resell, and license the content here. I would LOVE to get to a point where some or all of this information could be published in a hard-media format and used as an offline reference. The copyright notice should contain an assignment clause that allows this.

Original author attributions should be kept intact as much as possible, especially for larger chunks of content.

As long as FS has the rights listed above, they should limit external commercial access to linking only, and encourage people with a deeper interest to license the work from FS. This allows FS to explore options for distribution that include reselling, physical and electronic resale, and licensing to third parties. The licenses can change as FS feels it is needed, without altering the copyright of this site.

I see a potential problem with third party licensed information appearing here. Of most concern would be photos or other media not owned by FS. I think a hard assignment clause would limit some contributions to the site, while trying to track all of the content licensed from a third party has its own headaches. I would worry that FS could not track rights held by others, and would not be able to further distribute content for fears of violating a third party copyright.

I wonder if FS could indemnify itself from copyright violation if it has good faith in its users. I suspect that such a thing is not possible because the person that posts the information may not be the copyright holder, and may not be able to assign rights to FS.

Just my 2c The Earl 08:54, 10 March 2008 (MDT)

We now have a permanent Creative Commons license (see the icon at the bottom of the screen). Thanks to The Earl for the comments above -- it was these comments that prodded us to change the outdated information that said the intellectual property issue wasn't baked yet. Ritcheymt 13:12, 10 March 2008 (MDT)