With respect to COI records the issue at hand is not a copyright issue but rather a more
general property rights issue; copyright is only one form of property right. The records
you are referring to are indeed state records and are managed by the NAI. Permission must
be sought from the NAI before publishing any of those records. Records that the PRONI has
on microfilm also require permission from the NAI if they pertain to the counties of the
Republic of Ireland and also from the church itself. Those are the PRONI rules of access
to those records. Records in the custody of a church require permission from the church
directly. None of these records can be published without permission.
The LDS has very strict regulations. In many instances they are not the owner of the
records that they hold but rather they have a license to use and provide access to those
records under strict conditions. If the records are owned by the LDS then permission is
required from the LDS themselves, otherwise the LDS requires that you obtain permission
from the owner as well. Nothing can be published from LDS sources without prior
The issue is not whether the LDS minds, it is whether the owner minds. The way to
ascertain that is to ask for permission first. In most cases permission will likely be
granted due to the nature of the use.
I am really not sure what the big deal is all about when it comes to asking for
permission; other than people's fear that they might be told that they are not allowed
to do what they want. It is not difficult to ask for permission although it can take time.
If permission is denied then unfortunately the relevant records cannot be published, if
permission is granted then the records can be published. It is really as simple as that.
In the dealings that I have had with the NAI, PRONI, RCBL, and others I have found them to
be genuinely helpful and reasonable. It has taken time and discussions with the NAI and
RCBL have gone on in various aspects over several years now. Things are a lot clearer
today than they were several years ago. In general if what you are proposing is lawful and
acceptable then permission will be granted. I have not uncovered any hidden conspiracy to
keep records locked away from everyone.
Please consult the following page on the wiki for information about copyright and property
rights. It contains the most up to date information that I have been able to access from
the relevant sources.
If anyone have any further questions then I am happy to answer them directly to my email
I really do urge anyone that is doing transcriptions to please take the time to apply for
permission to publish their transcriptions. It will make life easier for everyone if more
people did this as the true scale of voluntary effort and public interest in the records
would be revealed to those who hold ownership of them.
None of any of this is in any way directed towards Vynette who has done an exemplary
effort over many years of selflessly assisting a great many people. I commend her for her
work and for her resolve to continue to work with me to make sure that as much of her work
as possible gets the required permissions to make it lawfully available for everyone.
It is not just my neck on the line, however I am happy to expend some of the little time
that I do have to ensuring that everyone has free and lawful access to as much
genealogical information as is possible. I have some great new ideas for the future which,
if I get enough time, will hopefully make access to records even easier.
Please do not reply to this post on the forum. If there are any replies please direct them
to me personally.
I do try to keep any property rights discussions on the forum about fermanagh genealogical
records to an absolute minimum.
On 25/11/2013, at 7:29 PM, Frank McHugh <f.mchugh4(a)btinternet.com> wrote:
As far as I am aware and I am happy to stand corrected on this, Church of
Ireland records prior to disestablishment (1869 Act, but took effect on 1
January 1871) are 'public' [State] records, and are therefore not subject to
the same copyright restrictions. Of course, as a matter of courtesy I
would recommend that all churches (and any other relevant organisations and
individuals) are approached for permission to put their records online.
Although LDS have very strict regulations re copyright, I really can't see
why they wouldn't allow the databases that have been transcribed to go on a
free website, such as Fermanagh Gold. Fermanagh Gold very much promotes the
same ethos as Family Search - free access to genealogical material. If LDS
won't allow the records to go on the Fermanagh Gold site, then I would ask
them to go on the Family Search website.
I also want to record publically that I don't think Vynette needs to feel
embarrassed or needs to apologise for all the great work she has done,
making Fermanagh records accessible for free. Anyone who knows Vynette,
knows that it was a genuine error. I also understand why David is being so
rigorous. It is his 'legal' neck on the line.
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