Coffeyville, Kansas
23 comments

My complaint is not about the findagrave service, but about the people who do mass data entry without observing the spirit of findagrave, as I know it. I call them people who do it to rack up "points," one per grave. This is a matter of the heart. When a person who is a family member requests that a memorial be removed that is written by a non-family member so that the family can put the memorial up, the non-family poster should step aside and delete their post. People who enter mass numbers of graves are important and help family history researchers to find people.

However, when family requests that they allow the family to put up the memorial, it is uncouth and unconscionable not to step aside. It is not in the spirit of findagrave as I perceive it. I find myself wondering if findagrave might be held hostage by the sheer number of graves entered by people who, in a tantrum, might delete thousands of graves. How does this affect how they administrate? Do they simply get worn out from the bickering? Theirs must be a difficult position to be in.

As for the advertising, the website must pay for itself. The sheer number of hits per day would drive up the cost of maintaining the site, as this eats bandwidth of the trunk lines going into the servers. The trunklines and the servers must be paid for, along with the electricity and the professionals that maintain everything. $5 is very reasonable to remove advertising from a memorial. I plan over time to remove the ads from those associated with my family, though I have not gotten around to that yet.

Booh for the points-rackers who do not bow to the requests of families. This is not the fault of findagrave.

Review about: Funeral Services.

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rosa snyder
Madison, Alabama, United States #1300795

If the memorial in question is a direct relative within four generations (siblings, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents) to you and the original submitter is not direct family, then they must transfer the memorial. If they refuse to transfer your relative to you, contact info@findagrave.com and we will work on it for you.

saraparisdumb
#581139

The newspaper does not have the right to give permission only the family that provided the information!Once again thanks for proving the f.a.g.

members continue to violate copyrights....unless you wrote and submitted the obituary to the newspaper, funeral home you DO NOT hold the copyrights on the information. If you spoke to the editor of the newspaper they would have told you that it is a KNOWN FACT. Why f.a.g. members thinks copyright laws do not apply to them is beyond me.

I was able to get Joel Farringer susupended because he continued to violate copyrights....hopefully someone will do the same to you. NO ONE BUT THE FAMILY HAS THE RIGHT TO GRANT PERMISSION TO USE THEIR LOVED ONES OBITUARY & PHOTOS OF THEIR LOVED ONES!

The gave permission to the newspaper but only for it to be published...it doesn't matter how many or how few it is still plagarism and a violation of copyrights!

sarapar
#581031

...never stopped to think that perhaps I didn't write that, did you?

I don't understand why you're saying that I'm in violation of copyright. I believe I have posted two obituaries, with the permission of the newspaper who posted them online.

Also, if you could give me a list of your "loved ones," I will gladly make sure I do not post them on Find-A-Grave.

Thank you for all of your very kind and informative comments. They make me want to take what you're saying very seriously, and assign value to your opinions. After all, someone who types in all capital letters with horrible punctuation and grammatical errors must be incredibly intelligent.

Sincerely,

SaraPar

copyrights
to sarapar Washington, District Of Columbia, United States #581737

Copyrights:

Newspapers and Copyright

Everything published in a newspaper is protected under copyright law. Copyright law grants the legal rights to a work of intellectual property to a certain party.

Web Content Is Copyrighted, Too

Just because content published on the web can be easily cut and pasted doesn't mean it is any less protected than content on the printed newspaper page. Newspapers are vigilant about protecting their copyrights, so if you're going to paste a clipping of an article to your company or organization website, always make sure you request the permission of the newspaper before doing so.

10 Big Myths about copyright explained

An attempt to answer common myths about copyright seen on the net and cover issues related to copyright and USENET/Internet publication.

- by Brad Templeton

Note that this is an essay about copyright myths. It assumes you know at least what copyright is -- basically the legal exclusive right of the author of a creative work to control the copying of that work. If you didn't know that, check out my own brief introduction to copyright for more information. Feel free to link to this document, no need to ask me. Really, NO need to ask.

1) "If it doesn't have a copyright notice, it's not copyrighted."

This was true in the past, but today almost all major nations follow the Berne copyright convention. For example, in the USA, almost everything created...

It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by warning people, and by allowing one to get more and different damages, but it is not necessary. If it looks copyrighted, you should assume it is. This applies to pictures, too. You may not scan pictures from magazines and post them to the net, and if you come upon something unknown, you shouldn't post that either.

The correct form for a notice is:

"Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]"

You can use C in a circle © instead of "Copyright" but "(C)" has never been given legal force. The phrase "All Rights Reserved" used to be required in some nations but is now not legally needed most places. In some countries it may help preserve some of the "moral rights."

2) "If I don't charge for it, it's not a violation."

False. Whether you charge can affect the damages awarded in court, but that's main difference under the law. It's still a violation if you give it away -- and there can still be serious damages if you hurt the commercial value of the property. There is a USA exception for personal copying of music, which is not a violation, though courts seem to have said that doesn't include widescale anonymous personal copying as Napster. If the work has no commercial value, the violation is mostly technical and is unlikely to result in legal action. Fair use determinations (see below) do sometimes depend on the involvement of money.

3) "If it's posted to Usenet it's in the public domain."

False. Nothing modern and creative is in the public domain anymore unless the owner explicitly puts it in the public domain(*). Explicitly, as in you have a note from the author/owner saying, "I grant this to the public domain." Those exact words or words very much like them.

Some argue that posting to Usenet implicitly grants permission to everybody to copy the posting within fairly wide bounds, and others feel that Usenet is an automatic store and forward network where all the thousands of copies made are done at the command (rather than the consent) of the poster. This is a matter of some debate, but even if the former is true (and in this writer's opinion we should all pray it isn't true) it simply would suggest posters are implicitly granting permissions "for the sort of copying one might expect when one posts to Usenet" and in no case is this a placement of material into the public domain. It is important to remember that when it comes to the law, computers never make copies, only human beings make copies. Computers are given commands, not permission. Only people can be given permission. Furthermore it is very difficult for an implicit licence to supersede an explicitly stated licence that the copier was aware of.

Note that all this assumes the poster had the right to post the item in the first place. If the poster didn't, then all the copies are pirated, and no implied licence or theoretical reduction of the copyright can take place.

(*) Copyrights can expire after a long time, putting something into the public domain, and there are some fine points on this issue regarding older copyright law versions. However, none of this applies to material from the modern era, such as net postings.

Note that granting something to the public domain is a complete abandonment of all rights. You can't make something "PD for non-commercial use." If your work is PD, other people can even modify one byte and put their name on it. You might want to look into Creative Commons style licences if you want to grant wide rights.

4) "My posting was just fair use!"

See EFF notes on fair use and links from it for a detailed answer, but bear the following in mind:

The "fair use" exemption to (U.S.) copyright law was created to allow things such as commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education about copyrighted works without the permission of the author. That's vital so that copyright law doesn't block your freedom to express your own works -- only the ability to appropriate other people's. Intent, and damage to the commercial value of the work are important considerations. Are you reproducing an article from the New York Times because you needed to in order to criticise the quality of the New York Times, or because you couldn't find time to write your own story, or didn't want your readers to have to register at the New York Times web site? The first is probably fair use, the others probably aren't.

Fair use is generally a short excerpt and almost always attributed. (One should not use much more of the work than is needed to make the commentary.) It should not harm the commercial value of the work -- in the sense of people no longer needing to buy it (which is another reason why reproduction of the entire work is a problem.) Famously, copying just 300 words from Gerald Ford's 200,000 word memoir for a magazine article was ruled as not fair use, in spite of it being very newsworthy, because it was the most important 300 words -- why he pardoned Nixon.

Note that most inclusion of text in followups and replies is for commentary, and it doesn't damage the commercial value of the original posting (if it has any) and as such it is almost surely fair use. Fair use isn't an exact doctrine, though. The court decides if the right to comment overrides the copyright on an individual basis in each case. There have been cases that go beyond the bounds of what I say above, but in general they don't apply to the typical net misclaim of fair use.

The "fair use" concept varies from country to country, and has different names (such as "fair dealing" in Canada) and other limitations outside the USA.

Facts and ideas can't be copyrighted, but their expression and structure can. You can always write the facts in your own wordsthough

See the DMCA alert for recent changes in the law.

5) "If you don't defend your copyright you lose it." -- "Somebody has that name copyrighted!"

False. Copyright is effectively never lost these days, unless explicitly given away. You also can't "copyright a name" or anything short like that, such as almost all titles. You may be thinking of trade marks, which apply to names, and can be weakened or lost if not defended.

You generally trademark terms by using them to refer to your brand of a generic type of product or service. Like a "Delta" airline. Delta Airlines "owns" that word applied to air travel, even though it is also an ordinary word. Delta Hotels owns it when applied to hotels. (This case is fairly unusual as both are travel companies. Usually the industries are more distinct.) Neither owns the word on its own, only in context, and owning a mark doesn't mean complete control -- see a more detailed treatise on this law for details.

You can't use somebody else's trademark in a way that would steal the value of the mark, or in a way that might make people confuse you with the real owner of the mark, or which might allow you to profit from the mark's good name. For example, if I were giving advice on music videos, I would be very wary of trying to label my works with a name like "mtv." :-) You can use marks to critcise or parody the holder, as long as it's clear you aren't the holder.

6) "If I make up my own stories, but base them on another work, my new work belongs to me."

False. U.S. Copyright law is quite explicit that the making of what are called "derivative works" -- works based or derived from another copyrighted work -- is the exclusive province of the owner of the original work. This is true even though the making of these new works is a highly creative process. If you write a story using settings or characters from somebody else's work, you need that author's permission.

Yes, that means almost all "fan fiction" is arguably a copyright violation. If you want to publish a story about Jim Kirk and Mr. Spock, you need Paramount's permission, plain and simple. Now, as it turns out, many, but not all holders of popular copyrights turn a blind eye to "fan fiction" or even subtly encourage it because it helps them. Make no mistake, however, that it is entirely up to them whether to do that.

There is a major exception -- criticism and parody. The fair use provision says that if you want to make fun of something like Star Trek, you don't need their permission to include Mr. Spock. This is not a loophole; you can't just take a non-parody and claim it is one on a technicality. The way "fair use" works is you get sued for copyright infringement, and you admit you did copy, but that your copying was a fair use. A subjective judgment on, among other things, your goals, is then made.

However, it's also worth noting that a court has never ruled on this issue, because fan fiction cases always get settled quickly when the defendant is a fan of limited means sued by a powerful publishing company. Some argue that completely non-commercial fan fiction might be declared a fair use if courts get to decide. You can read more

7) "They can't get me, defendants in court have powerful rights!"

Copyright law is mostly civil law. If you violate copyright you would usually get sued, not be charged with a crime. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a principle of criminal law, as is "proof beyond a reasonable doubt." Sorry, but in copyright suits, these don't apply the same way or at all. It's mostly which side and set of evidence the judge or jury accepts or believes more, though the rules vary based on the type of infringement. In civil cases you can even be made to testify against your own interests.

8) "Oh, so copyright violation isn't a crime or anything?"

Actually, in the 90s in the USA commercial copyright violation involving more than 10 copies and value over $2500 was made a felony. So watch out. (At least you get the protections of criminal law.) On the other hand, don't think you're going to get people thrown in jail for posting your E-mail. The courts have much better things to do. This is a fairly new, untested statute. In one case an operator of a pirate BBS that didn't charge was acquited because he didn't charge, but congress amended the law to cover that.

9) "It doesn't hurt anybody -- in fact it's free advertising."

It's up to the owner to decide if they want the free ads or not. If they want them, they will be sure to contact you. Don't rationalize whether it hurts the owner or not, ask them. Usually that's not too hard to do. Time past, ClariNet published the very funny Dave Barry column to a large and appreciative Usenet audience for a fee, but some person didn't ask, and forwarded it to a mailing list, got caught, and the newspaper chain that employs Dave Barry pulled the column from the net, *** off everybody who enjoyed it. Even if you can't think of how the author or owner gets hurt, think about the fact that piracy on the net hurts everybody who wants a chance to use this wonderful new technology to do more than read other people's flamewars.

10) "They e-mailed me a copy, so I can post it."

To have a copy is not to have the copyright. All the E-mail you write is copyrighted. However, E-mail is not, unless previously agreed, secret. So you can certainly report on what E-mail you are sent, and reveal what it says. You can even quote parts of it to demonstrate. Frankly, somebody who sues over an ordinary message would almost surely get no damages, because the message has no commercial value, but if you want to stay strictly in the law, you should ask first. On the other hand, don't go nuts if somebody posts E-mail you sent them. If it was an ordinary non-secret personal letter of minimal commercial value with no copyright notice (like 99.9% of all E-mail), you probably won't get any damages if you sue them. Note as well that, the law aside, keeping private correspondence private is a courtesy one should usually honour.

11)"So I can't ever reproduce anything?"

Myth #11 (I didn't want to change the now-famous title of this article) is actually one sometimes generated in response to this list of 10 myths. No, copyright isn't an iron-clad lock on what can be published. Indeed, by many arguments, by providing reward to authors, it encourages them to not just allow, but fund the publication and distribution of works so that they reach far more people than they would if they were free or unprotected -- and unpromoted. However, it must be remembered that copyright has two main purposes, namely the protection of the author's right to obtain commercial benefit from valuable work, and more recently the protection of the author's general right to control how a work is used.

While copyright law makes it technically illegal to reproduce almost any new creative work (other than under fair use) without permission, if the work is unregistered and has no real commercial value, it gets very little protection. The author in this case can sue for an injunction against the publication, actual damages from a violation, and possibly court costs. Actual damages means actual money potentially lost by the author due to publication, plus any money gained by the defendant. But if a work has no commercial value, such as a typical E-mail message or conversational USENET posting, the actual damages will be zero. Only the most vindictive (and rich) author would sue when no damages are possible, and the courts don't look kindly on vindictive plaintiffs, unless the defendants are even more vindictive.

The author's right to control what is done with a work, however, has some validity, even if it has no commercial value. If you feel you need to violate a copyright "because you can get away with it because the work has no value" you should ask yourself why you're doing it. In general, respecting the rights of creators to control their creations is a principle many advocate adhering to.

In addition, while quite often people make incorrect claims of "fair use" it is a still valid and important concept necessary to allow the criticism of copyrighted works and their creators through examples. It's also been extended to allow things like home recording of TV shows and moving music from CDs you own to your MP3 player. But please read more about it before you do it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In Summary

These days, almost all things are copyrighted the moment they are written, and no copyright notice is required.

Copyright is still violated whether you charged money or not, only damages are affected by that.

Postings to the net are not granted to the public domain, and don't grant you any permission to do further copying except perhaps the sort of copying the poster might have expected in the ordinary flow of the net.

Fair use is a complex doctrine meant to allow certain valuable social purposes. Ask yourself why you are republishing what you are posting and why you couldn't have just rewritten it in your own words.

Copyright is not lost because you don't defend it; that's a concept from trademark law. The ownership of names is also from trademark law, so don't say somebody has a name copyrighted.

Fan fiction and other work derived from copyrighted works is a copyright violation.

Copyright law is mostly civil law where the special rights of criminal defendants you hear so much about don't apply. Watch out, however, as new laws are moving copyright violation into the criminal realm.

Don't rationalize that you are helping the copyright holder; often it's not that hard to ask permission.

Posting E-mail is technically a violation, but revealing facts from E-mail you got isn't, and for almost all typical E-mail, nobody could wring any damages from you for posting it. The law doesn't do much to protect works with no commercial value.

Show more
copyrights
to sarapar Washington, District Of Columbia, United States #581738

Copyrights:

Newspapers and Copyright

Everything published in a newspaper is protected under copyright law. Copyright law grants the legal rights to a work of intellectual property to a certain party.

Web Content Is Copyrighted, Too

Just because content published on the web can be easily cut and pasted doesn't mean it is any less protected than content on the printed newspaper page. Newspapers are vigilant about protecting their copyrights, so if you're going to paste a clipping of an article to your company or organization website, always make sure you request the permission of the newspaper before doing so.

10 Big Myths about copyright explained

An attempt to answer common myths about copyright seen on the net and cover issues related to copyright and USENET/Internet publication.

- by Brad Templeton

Note that this is an essay about copyright myths. It assumes you know at least what copyright is -- basically the legal exclusive right of the author of a creative work to control the copying of that work. If you didn't know that, check out my own brief introduction to copyright for more information. Feel free to link to this document, no need to ask me. Really, NO need to ask.

1) "If it doesn't have a copyright notice, it's not copyrighted."

This was true in the past, but today almost all major nations follow the Berne copyright convention. For example, in the USA, almost everything created...

It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by warning people, and by allowing one to get more and different damages, but it is not necessary. If it looks copyrighted, you should assume it is. This applies to pictures, too. You may not scan pictures from magazines and post them to the net, and if you come upon something unknown, you shouldn't post that either.

The correct form for a notice is:

"Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]"

You can use C in a circle © instead of "Copyright" but "(C)" has never been given legal force. The phrase "All Rights Reserved" used to be required in some nations but is now not legally needed most places. In some countries it may help preserve some of the "moral rights."

2) "If I don't charge for it, it's not a violation."

False. Whether you charge can affect the damages awarded in court, but that's main difference under the law. It's still a violation if you give it away -- and there can still be serious damages if you hurt the commercial value of the property. There is a USA exception for personal copying of music, which is not a violation, though courts seem to have said that doesn't include widescale anonymous personal copying as Napster. If the work has no commercial value, the violation is mostly technical and is unlikely to result in legal action. Fair use determinations (see below) do sometimes depend on the involvement of money.

3) "If it's posted to Usenet it's in the public domain."

False. Nothing modern and creative is in the public domain anymore unless the owner explicitly puts it in the public domain(*). Explicitly, as in you have a note from the author/owner saying, "I grant this to the public domain." Those exact words or words very much like them.

Some argue that posting to Usenet implicitly grants permission to everybody to copy the posting within fairly wide bounds, and others feel that Usenet is an automatic store and forward network where all the thousands of copies made are done at the command (rather than the consent) of the poster. This is a matter of some debate, but even if the former is true (and in this writer's opinion we should all pray it isn't true) it simply would suggest posters are implicitly granting permissions "for the sort of copying one might expect when one posts to Usenet" and in no case is this a placement of material into the public domain. It is important to remember that when it comes to the law, computers never make copies, only human beings make copies. Computers are given commands, not permission. Only people can be given permission. Furthermore it is very difficult for an implicit licence to supersede an explicitly stated licence that the copier was aware of.

Note that all this assumes the poster had the right to post the item in the first place. If the poster didn't, then all the copies are pirated, and no implied licence or theoretical reduction of the copyright can take place.

(*) Copyrights can expire after a long time, putting something into the public domain, and there are some fine points on this issue regarding older copyright law versions. However, none of this applies to material from the modern era, such as net postings.

Note that granting something to the public domain is a complete abandonment of all rights. You can't make something "PD for non-commercial use." If your work is PD, other people can even modify one byte and put their name on it. You might want to look into Creative Commons style licences if you want to grant wide rights.

4) "My posting was just fair use!"

See EFF notes on fair use and links from it for a detailed answer, but bear the following in mind:

The "fair use" exemption to (U.S.) copyright law was created to allow things such as commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education about copyrighted works without the permission of the author. That's vital so that copyright law doesn't block your freedom to express your own works -- only the ability to appropriate other people's. Intent, and damage to the commercial value of the work are important considerations. Are you reproducing an article from the New York Times because you needed to in order to criticise the quality of the New York Times, or because you couldn't find time to write your own story, or didn't want your readers to have to register at the New York Times web site? The first is probably fair use, the others probably aren't.

Fair use is generally a short excerpt and almost always attributed. (One should not use much more of the work than is needed to make the commentary.) It should not harm the commercial value of the work -- in the sense of people no longer needing to buy it (which is another reason why reproduction of the entire work is a problem.) Famously, copying just 300 words from Gerald Ford's 200,000 word memoir for a magazine article was ruled as not fair use, in spite of it being very newsworthy, because it was the most important 300 words -- why he pardoned Nixon.

Note that most inclusion of text in followups and replies is for commentary, and it doesn't damage the commercial value of the original posting (if it has any) and as such it is almost surely fair use. Fair use isn't an exact doctrine, though. The court decides if the right to comment overrides the copyright on an individual basis in each case. There have been cases that go beyond the bounds of what I say above, but in general they don't apply to the typical net misclaim of fair use.

The "fair use" concept varies from country to country, and has different names (such as "fair dealing" in Canada) and other limitations outside the USA.

Facts and ideas can't be copyrighted, but their expression and structure can. You can always write the facts in your own wordsthough

See the DMCA alert for recent changes in the law.

5) "If you don't defend your copyright you lose it." -- "Somebody has that name copyrighted!"

False. Copyright is effectively never lost these days, unless explicitly given away. You also can't "copyright a name" or anything short like that, such as almost all titles. You may be thinking of trade marks, which apply to names, and can be weakened or lost if not defended.

You generally trademark terms by using them to refer to your brand of a generic type of product or service. Like a "Delta" airline. Delta Airlines "owns" that word applied to air travel, even though it is also an ordinary word. Delta Hotels owns it when applied to hotels. (This case is fairly unusual as both are travel companies. Usually the industries are more distinct.) Neither owns the word on its own, only in context, and owning a mark doesn't mean complete control -- see a more detailed treatise on this law for details.

You can't use somebody else's trademark in a way that would steal the value of the mark, or in a way that might make people confuse you with the real owner of the mark, or which might allow you to profit from the mark's good name. For example, if I were giving advice on music videos, I would be very wary of trying to label my works with a name like "mtv." :-) You can use marks to critcise or parody the holder, as long as it's clear you aren't the holder.

6) "If I make up my own stories, but base them on another work, my new work belongs to me."

False. U.S. Copyright law is quite explicit that the making of what are called "derivative works" -- works based or derived from another copyrighted work -- is the exclusive province of the owner of the original work. This is true even though the making of these new works is a highly creative process. If you write a story using settings or characters from somebody else's work, you need that author's permission.

Yes, that means almost all "fan fiction" is arguably a copyright violation. If you want to publish a story about Jim Kirk and Mr. Spock, you need Paramount's permission, plain and simple. Now, as it turns out, many, but not all holders of popular copyrights turn a blind eye to "fan fiction" or even subtly encourage it because it helps them. Make no mistake, however, that it is entirely up to them whether to do that.

There is a major exception -- criticism and parody. The fair use provision says that if you want to make fun of something like Star Trek, you don't need their permission to include Mr. Spock. This is not a loophole; you can't just take a non-parody and claim it is one on a technicality. The way "fair use" works is you get sued for copyright infringement, and you admit you did copy, but that your copying was a fair use. A subjective judgment on, among other things, your goals, is then made.

However, it's also worth noting that a court has never ruled on this issue, because fan fiction cases always get settled quickly when the defendant is a fan of limited means sued by a powerful publishing company. Some argue that completely non-commercial fan fiction might be declared a fair use if courts get to decide. You can read more

7) "They can't get me, defendants in court have powerful rights!"

Copyright law is mostly civil law. If you violate copyright you would usually get sued, not be charged with a crime. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a principle of criminal law, as is "proof beyond a reasonable doubt." Sorry, but in copyright suits, these don't apply the same way or at all. It's mostly which side and set of evidence the judge or jury accepts or believes more, though the rules vary based on the type of infringement. In civil cases you can even be made to testify against your own interests.

8) "Oh, so copyright violation isn't a crime or anything?"

Actually, in the 90s in the USA commercial copyright violation involving more than 10 copies and value over $2500 was made a felony. So watch out. (At least you get the protections of criminal law.) On the other hand, don't think you're going to get people thrown in jail for posting your E-mail. The courts have much better things to do. This is a fairly new, untested statute. In one case an operator of a pirate BBS that didn't charge was acquited because he didn't charge, but congress amended the law to cover that.

9) "It doesn't hurt anybody -- in fact it's free advertising."

It's up to the owner to decide if they want the free ads or not. If they want them, they will be sure to contact you. Don't rationalize whether it hurts the owner or not, ask them. Usually that's not too hard to do. Time past, ClariNet published the very funny Dave Barry column to a large and appreciative Usenet audience for a fee, but some person didn't ask, and forwarded it to a mailing list, got caught, and the newspaper chain that employs Dave Barry pulled the column from the net, *** off everybody who enjoyed it. Even if you can't think of how the author or owner gets hurt, think about the fact that piracy on the net hurts everybody who wants a chance to use this wonderful new technology to do more than read other people's flamewars.

10) "They e-mailed me a copy, so I can post it."

To have a copy is not to have the copyright. All the E-mail you write is copyrighted. However, E-mail is not, unless previously agreed, secret. So you can certainly report on what E-mail you are sent, and reveal what it says. You can even quote parts of it to demonstrate. Frankly, somebody who sues over an ordinary message would almost surely get no damages, because the message has no commercial value, but if you want to stay strictly in the law, you should ask first. On the other hand, don't go nuts if somebody posts E-mail you sent them. If it was an ordinary non-secret personal letter of minimal commercial value with no copyright notice (like 99.9% of all E-mail), you probably won't get any damages if you sue them. Note as well that, the law aside, keeping private correspondence private is a courtesy one should usually honour.

11)"So I can't ever reproduce anything?"

Myth #11 (I didn't want to change the now-famous title of this article) is actually one sometimes generated in response to this list of 10 myths. No, copyright isn't an iron-clad lock on what can be published. Indeed, by many arguments, by providing reward to authors, it encourages them to not just allow, but fund the publication and distribution of works so that they reach far more people than they would if they were free or unprotected -- and unpromoted. However, it must be remembered that copyright has two main purposes, namely the protection of the author's right to obtain commercial benefit from valuable work, and more recently the protection of the author's general right to control how a work is used.

While copyright law makes it technically illegal to reproduce almost any new creative work (other than under fair use) without permission, if the work is unregistered and has no real commercial value, it gets very little protection. The author in this case can sue for an injunction against the publication, actual damages from a violation, and possibly court costs. Actual damages means actual money potentially lost by the author due to publication, plus any money gained by the defendant. But if a work has no commercial value, such as a typical E-mail message or conversational USENET posting, the actual damages will be zero. Only the most vindictive (and rich) author would sue when no damages are possible, and the courts don't look kindly on vindictive plaintiffs, unless the defendants are even more vindictive.

The author's right to control what is done with a work, however, has some validity, even if it has no commercial value. If you feel you need to violate a copyright "because you can get away with it because the work has no value" you should ask yourself why you're doing it. In general, respecting the rights of creators to control their creations is a principle many advocate adhering to.

In addition, while quite often people make incorrect claims of "fair use" it is a still valid and important concept necessary to allow the criticism of copyrighted works and their creators through examples. It's also been extended to allow things like home recording of TV shows and moving music from CDs you own to your MP3 player. But please read more about it before you do it.

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In Summary

These days, almost all things are copyrighted the moment they are written, and no copyright notice is required.

Copyright is still violated whether you charged money or not, only damages are affected by that.

Postings to the net are not granted to the public domain, and don't grant you any permission to do further copying except perhaps the sort of copying the poster might have expected in the ordinary flow of the net.

Fair use is a complex doctrine meant to allow certain valuable social purposes. Ask yourself why you are republishing what you are posting and why you couldn't have just rewritten it in your own words.

Copyright is not lost because you don't defend it; that's a concept from trademark law. The ownership of names is also from trademark law, so don't say somebody has a name copyrighted.

Fan fiction and other work derived from copyrighted works is a copyright violation.

Copyright law is mostly civil law where the special rights of criminal defendants you hear so much about don't apply. Watch out, however, as new laws are moving copyright violation into the criminal realm.

Don't rationalize that you are helping the copyright holder; often it's not that hard to ask permission.

Posting E-mail is technically a violation, but revealing facts from E-mail you got isn't, and for almost all typical E-mail, nobody could wring any damages from you for posting it. The law doesn't do much to protect works with no commercial value.

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sarapar
#579054

While I think it's decent to transfer a memorial to a family member, I think it's a shame that you expect someone to delete their hard work so that a family member can put up another one.Why can't they just add information to the existing one, or even just send the edits to the person who maintains the memorial?

Why is it such a big deal for a family member to manage a memorial (as long as the person who is currently managing it is civil)?

I don't manage the memorials of the majority of my family members on Find-A-Grave, but I'm not bothered.Without the people who enter "mass numbers" of graves, most of these memorials would not exist.

FindAGravesux
to sarapar Butte, Montana, United States #579229

It is a shame that fools that are members of Find A Grave work so hard so that Jim Tipton can profit from their "hard work".If families DO NOT want their loved ones names and gravestones posted to a grave vampire website like Find A Grave then decent people should remove the memorial move on you and the soul vampire adminstrators sure love to tell everyone else how to be but you all don't know how to behave yourselves.

Why are you or anyone creating memorials for people you don't know? The should not exist on Find A Grave's website..Why do you all feel a need to line Jim Tipton's pockets. He has made hundreds of thousands of dollars from fools like you enter "mass numbers' of graves without the permission of the family. Some of you steal obituaries that family pay for steal photos from obituaries and take photos of gravestones family pays for...only for Jim Tipton to make money from how much has it cost you in gas, batteries time etc...?

Just so Jim Tipton can be a millionaire!

Find A Grave members are grave vampires!STOP SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF THE SURVIVORS SO JIM TIPTON CAN PROFIT FROM OUR LOVED ONES DEATHS!!!

sarapar
to FindAGravesux #579902

If families don't want their loved ones on there at all, then they can request that they be removed. This question dealt with family members wanting to manage their loved ones memorial. Different question. :) You seem to have implied that I'm an administrator on the Find-A-Grave website, but I'm not. I'm just a normal user there.

Also, I don't steal anything from anyone. Posting obituaries is allowed, as long as a source is provided. That is not just a rule Find-A-Grave made up, but a policy that newspapers have in place. Also, most obituaries are free - and obituaries are put in the paper to provide the public with the information regarding a loved one's death. They're posted ONLINE at newspapers. What is the issue?

I never post a photo I did not take with my own camera. That is disrespectful.

I don't care about Jim Tipton (I'm assuming he is the owner of Find-A-Grave); I provide a service through his website because it helps people who are looking for family members who have passed on. Plain and simple. There are tons of websites who have burial databases. The information is out there and I don't understand why it's being complained about. If you're complaining about Jim Tipton himself, go on, but that has nothing to do with the individuals who are posting these records trying to help others. Please don't lump us all together just because a few people are bad.

findagravesux
to sarapar Butte, Montana, United States #579953

sarapar you need to read the Find A Grave FAQ;s you are NOT allowed to post obituraries it states that FACT in the so called FAQ;s!And again you are wrong families do pay for obituaries to be published in the newspaper and funeral home websites it is a part of the service with funeral home.

YOU clearly don't know what you are talking about because copying obituaries is a VIOLATION OF COPYRIGHTS! Taking pictures of gravestones that family paid for and posting them on Find A Grave is not fair to the family that paid for those gravestones and then for Find A Grave aka Jim Tipton to profit from those deaths with the "so called' memorials and photos of gravestone THE FAMILY PAID FOR! Anyone that contributes anything to FIND A GRAVE is a part of the problem and should be lumped together as GRAVE VAMPIRES & BUZZARDS. Stay away from our families burial sites!

And STOP helping FIND A GRAVE PROFIT FROM THE DEATHS OF OUR LOVED ONES!Don't forget to go back and read F.A.G.;s FAQ's regarding copying obituaries.

Anonymous
to sarapar #579966

findagravesux, just keep whining, and thinking you're right about everything. It's very endearing. :)

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