I was told by a "bully" on findagrave that I had no say if I did not like a photo of my father's grave posted on the site. Too bad they told me. "If you had not wanted a photo of your father's grave taken you should not have buried him in a cemetery with a headstone." They told me that a volunteer had a right to take a photo of a grave just as they would have a right to take a picture of my house if they took the photo from the street.
I'm in the legal profession and I KNOW BETTER. So if you think your are being kind by using your time to add photos to findagrave and help family members find lost family you need to really pay attention to my advice. I say this in a kind way because I believe most people who take photos are retired individuals that feel they are helping people using their hobby of photography. They enjoy taking pictures and helping at the same time. Dont mind at all giving up their time.
Did you know that MOST cemeteries are Private??? A private cemetery is not just a family plot on private property on the back lot of the family homestead. A private cemetery can also be a cemetery that can be owned by a Business such as a funeral home, a Church,(and a church cemetery is very special because it is holy ground) Individual Groups, and of coarse the family plot we mentioned earlier located on a family's land. Some of these are "marked as private" some are not. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Many of these are huge cemeteries located right in the middle of a city. These cemetery Managers are begining to feel the heat and wrath from its owners who purchased plots, memorials to loved ones, and pay for the upkeep of the land. As findagrave has become more popular with some volunteers walking row to row taking photos of every grave in the cemetery just the image of them now called "cemetery stalkers" upset many individuals. Many families are so concerned after finding a photo of the family member's grave on this site that they have asked the cemetery to take action. I feel that most families would not feel this way if when they contacted findagrave they had been treated with respect. Any ethical company with a photo posted would remove it or transfer it if a family member did not create it and asked them to do so. Its just professional behavior.
The private cemetery in my city is sick of this behavior and tired of unsatisfied family member complaints. Several hidden cameras have been placed to track people who enter the cemetery. Private off duty police have been hired to patrol the area taking note and talking to people that they do not know that are walking from grave to grave taking a photo. Individuals have been hired by the cemetery to do nothing but search findagrave for illegal memorial photos. They mean to use examples and take the people to court. If you are in this cemetery you could be arrested for taking that picture just as if you could be arrested if you walk on my land and take a photo of my house. Most people never were upset if they saw someone in a cemetery taking pictures of interesting memorials as a hobby. This had CHANGED when the family sees the photo on a website. And the family becomes very upset when they request the photo to be removed and they are insulted verbally. Not to mention that they also see adds earning money placed all around the family grave photo. They feel that their loved one buried on private property is being used by an unethical company making money selling adds from the grave. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING.
You can take a photo of a grave in a private cemetery if you have the permission of a family member or the cemetery or if you are standing in the street off of the property.. but most close up photos I see are not taken from across the street.
A word of Caution. You are helping findagrave make money each time you post a photo of a grave. If you find yourself served with a lawsuit findagrave will not back you up. This has happened several times. Findagrave will take your free data, photos and sell adds on that work but you are on your own when found guilty of trespassing, copyright violations etc... Stealing a picture of that grave for profit (findagrave's profit not yours) is the same as stealing flowers off of that grave. Several new laws currently in state committees are being developed just to address "cemetery stalkers" "cemetery memorial violations". If you write a Bio for an individual with researched information that is proven incorrect laws of slander may apply. Researching a person you do not know and posting it on a public website could be dangerous. If you obtain information from several ancestry sites or other websites that are very likely not accurate could also be illegal and considered slander if published.
So my advice to all of you kind members who only want to post a photo to help remember a Person for ever and ever on a website: 1. Make sure you are not in a Private Cemetery. 2. Before you take any photos ask the cemetery or family member for permission. Have that in Writing and add that information to your photo credit. 3. Before you post your photo on any website for public view have permission in WRITING not just some "photo request" on a findagrave memorial.
Before you add a Bio to a memorial make sure that you have permission from a family member to add that material. Make sure that you are using accurate resource information... many things on ancestry.com are just what people "entered" not actual fact. Before you add any person's name to a bio especially if that person is living you must have permission. And.. one last thought if you publish an OBIT which ethically you should not you should never list addresses or the names of living family members.
My advice: If you have not followed the legal guidelines delete your photos. contact someone that have the power to give you permission to post the photo and then state under the photo how you obtained the permission and by who. Be very careful because as findagrave becomes bigger and bigger so will the lawsuits filed against Photo and Bio Volunteers.
Monetary Loss: $600.