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  • KHarrison
    How to Share My Family File by Rhonda R. McClure Each week Rhonda answers a question from the GenForum message boards and gives her expert answer here. We d
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 6, 2002
      How to Share My Family File
      by Rhonda R. McClure
      Each week Rhonda answers a question from the GenForum message boards and
      gives her expert answer here. We'd love to hear anything you have to add. Go
      ahead and leave your comments on GenForum with the original message.
      August 15, 2002
      See Rhonda's Previous Columns
      Q: I am going to be copying my research to CD-ROMs to give to family members
      for Christmas. I want to include information found in two books which are
      out of print, although still under copyright. Since all the information in
      these books is pertinent to our family I thought of scanning the books on a
      separate CD-ROM and giving them out with the family trees. Is this ok or a
      bad idea? If it's a bad idea how should I go about sharing the information?
      -- Ellen
      A: Genealogy is all about sharing. We want to share what we find with others
      This sharing is done in many different ways including e-mail, Web sites,
      GEDCOM files, and now even the creation of personal CD-ROMs with either
      Family File databases on them or beautifully created books and Web page
      designs that include narrative information about the individuals. Genealogy
      software programs have become quite sophisticated and we are limited only by
      our own imagination.
      Your question is one that appears more frequently as we find ourselves
      sharing information in this manner and in effect publishing our information.
      It is natural to want to share the information found in books. Of course, as
      you have already mentioned there is the issue of copyright. Facts can't be

      What is Copyrighted?
      First, lets look at just what is copyrighted on those two books. The
      copyright law was designed to protect creativity. The facts that are listed
      in the book are not covered under copyright. After all, if you and I can
      both find a marriage record and incorporate the marriage date and place into
      our Family File then neither of us can copyright the marriage date and place
      A book, however, is more than just facts.
      If you look at the book you will find that there is probably narrative, some
      photographs, and perhaps even some family stories included. The compilation
      of all of this is what is covered by the copyright notice at the front of
      the book. Copyright was designed to protect this creative compilation. The
      facts in the book can be used by yourself or others in their genealogy. Of
      course, as researchers, we should be citing sources for all the information
      we are sharing.
      Digitizing the Books?
      You talked about digitizing the books and sharing them via CD with family
      members. This would violate the copyright protection of that book. Although
      the books are out of print, they are not yet in the public domain. Because
      they are not in the public domain yet, you cannot duplicate them in their
      entirety and share with others in another format.
      If the information included in those books is truly all about your family,
      what you can do is to add the information (the facts) into your Family File.
      As I mentioned above you should be citing sources for all of your
      information, so as you add the information from these books you would then
      cite the book as the source of the event.
      This actually serves a two-fold purpose. The first is that those reading
      through your information will know where you got it, so they can properly
      evaluate your conclusions. The second is that it makes your family aware of
      the books so they can look for them if they are interested. Although the
      books may be out of print, they do still exist and are surely available for
      purchase somewhere.
      Finding Out of Print Books
      With the author and title, family members who are interested in getting
      these books can begin to search for them through booksellers and libraries.
      The books may be available on microfilm or can be ordered through
      interlibrary loan. Depending on whether your family wants to just read the
      book or would like to add it to their personal library will determine which
      method is the best for them.
      One of the easiest ways to find booksellers that specialize in out of print
      books is to visit a general search engine and type in "out of print books"
      into the search field. Be sure to include the quotation marks so the search
      engine knows you are looking for the phrase. You will find a number of such
      booksellers on the Internet.
      Interlibrary loan offers family members the chance to read the book through
      a local library. Not all books that have ever been published can be received
      in such a manner though. Many reference books do not leave their home
      library for fear that they will not be returned. Some interlibrary loan
      systems restrict where you can view the material. For instance, you may only
      be able to read the book at your library, unable to take it home.
      Another way to get a copy of a book is to look for it on microfilm. Many
      authors of genealogical books have given permission for the microfilming of
      the book. The Family History Library would be the first place to begin such
      a search. The library catalog for the Family History Library should be
      checked for the surname or title of the book to see if they have it on
      microfilm. If a family member gets the book on microfilm through their local
      Family History Center, then they will have to view the microfilm at that
      local Center. Microfilms and microfiche ordered through a Family History
      Center cannot be removed from the Center.
      Family members may be able to find a microfilm vendor that offers the book
      for sale on microfilm. There are not many of these around though. While the
      book is not out of print, you may also suggest that they check the Genealogy
      Library here at Genealogy.com. If permission was granted to digitize the
      book, a researcher could download the pages to their printer if they wished.
      In Conclusion
      While your intentions were good, I am sure that you do not want to do
      anything that impacts the copyright of the books in question. Remember that
      facts found in such books can be used by incorporating the information into
      your own Family File and citing the book as the source. The book as a whole,
      though, is still protected under the copyright law and cannot be copied in
      its entirety until it falls into the public domain.
      See Rhonda's Previous Columns

      About the Author
      Rhonda R. McClure is a professional genealogist specializing in celebrity
      trees and computerized genealogy. She has been involved in online genealogy
      for fifteen years and was the Web Site Sysop for the Ultimate Family Tree
      web site. In addition, she was the Data Manager of the Genealogy RoundTable
      on GenieĀ® for seven years and the forum manager for the Genealogy Forum on
      MSNĀ®. Rhonda is the author of the award-winning The Complete Idiot's Guide
      to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition, as well as three how-to
      guides on Family Tree Maker. Her latest book, The Genealogist's Computer
      Companion was released in 2001. She is a contributing editor for Heritage
      Quest Magazine and writes regular articles for the National Genealogical
      Society's Newsmagazine. She may be contacted at rhondam@....


      Best Regards,
      When this you see, remember me

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