The anticipated ruling from the FFHS concerning lookups has now arrived,
copied below in full so no one is in any doubt as to what they are saying.
Whilst I still have some difficulty in accepting that the FFHS would
actually pursue someone legally for offering free lookups [which is what
nevertheless, in these exact circumstances, I have been obliged to remove
all the volunteers names
from the entry on the All Wales Lookup Exchange and have replaced that with
a brief note explaining how it is.
My thanks to those volunteers for what they have done.
The 'rights and wrongs' of the FFHS's attitude and the ins and outs of
copyright law are being hotly debated right now on the Listowner's E & W
list, and I dare say some of you will have
equally strong opinions.
But don't send them direct to me :-)
Leaving aside the Lookup Exchange, it is obviously up to individuals how
they interpret the wording of the 'edict' in practice but it would
certainly be putting a listowner in a potentially vulnerable
position if results of searches on the NBI were posted back to a list.
And list archives are permanent and freely accessible.
Please note the final paragraph with the FFHS's reluctance to respond to
individual queries, and,
their recommendation for further action if anyone feels that upset about it.
List Administrator for Dyfed, CGN & PEM. tirbach(a)clara.co.uk
Lookup Exchange http://home.clara.net/tirbach/lookup.html
Help Page http://home.clara.net/tirbach/hicks.html
Dear Mailing List/Family History Society member
There have been numerous enquiries about look ups from the NBI. As acting
chairman of the Federation I am stating what the official policy of the
Executive is, which is as follows.
The copy of the NBI currently in circulation is for private
use only. The accompanying licence states :-
"Upon opening this package you are granted a licence to use
the software and data herewith contained for personal
genealogical and family history research and you agree to be
bound by the following terms and conditions: ...
* You may not make any copies of the software or data. You
may print, photocopy or download portions of the data for
private research and study only
* You may not publish or sell any portion of the software
and data, in printed, electronic, or any other format,
without prior written consent of the Licensors ..."
Look-ups as a result of which part of the data is then sent to a third
party can be regarded as publishing in printed or electronic format. Even
if this wasn't spelt out in the Agreement, the laws on copyright (if I may
simplify complex terms) state that one can only copy a limited percentage
of copyright data for one's own use, and a frequent copying of small
amounts of data (which a look-up service could entail) amounts to an
excessive use rather than a limited percentage.
There is a significant difference between someone doing the odd look-up as
a favour to a friend, and a look-up service publicly advertised to all the
subscribers to a Mailing List or visitors to a web-site. The latter is an
inducement to use that service rather than to buy the original copyrighted
The Federation is committed to support and encourage family history
research, and the last thing it wants is to antagonise or alienate
researchers, who may well belong to one or more of the Federation's member
societies. But if it were to take no action once it is aware that
laws were being breached, that could be regarded as condoning the
therefore it could be regarded in law as "an accessory after the fact". As
Charity, the Federation's Executive Trustees have a duty to
interests of the Charity, the Federation itself, and also its member
societies Many of their number have submitted their own copyrighted
for inclusion on the NBI.
Free look-ups of anything which is "out of copyright" (i.e. where the
copyright has expired) is fine. And, as I've said, the occasional specific
look-up for isolated requests are a fact of life. But a general look-up
service being advertised for copyright material is different.
We have therefore no option but to attempt to take action on anyone
offering a look up service. It is in the long term a disservice to family
history. Certainly anyone attempting to make financial gain from the NBI
doing it at expense of all those hard working volunteers in many
who gave their time for free.
The excess of income from sales of the NBI will be used to fund a further
project which I hope can be significantly discussed at the next Council
meeting in September. It will of course be a means of ensuring that all
family historians can benefit from the efforts of the NBI team.
There may be many of you who disagree with this policy but the Federation
Executive believe it is the correct way to handle this. Please note I am
not able to answer any further individual queries on this matter and
suggest that if you feel strongly the best course of action is to ensure
your Society brings the matter for discussion at the next Council meeting.
Vice-chairman (Acting as Chairman) FFHS alec.tritton(a)one-name.org