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Copyrights, Licensing, and Conditions for Using Information on This Site



Family History



Odds and Ends

The creative content on this web site is copyrighted.  However, provided certain conditions are met, it is licensed for use by others under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC) license.  Additional information about this license is contained at the following web site: www.creativecommons.org.

The remainder of this page on XenonSheepdog.org is an attempt to clarify what this license means.  What follows is written by someone is very much not a lawyer.

The CC BY-NC license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon this work provided (1) the end product is non-commercial and (2) the redistribution, or any new (derivative) work or product, acknowledges, attributes, or credits this original source (usually meaning at least mentioning the original source (i.e., this web site, XenonSheepdog.org).

My primary objective is to share the information put up on this site.  The copyright and Creative Commons license are in place to prevent loss of ownership and total loss of control of the creative content.

The “creative content” on this web site at this time (early 2013) is primarily in the form of photographs and writing. 

Facts cannot be copyrighted.  My understanding is that things such as names, dates, occupations, and locations (such as those that appear in the Family History section of this web site) are facts.  The “creative content” in the Family History section is largely the narrative material that ties these facts together (including most of the lengthy endnotes in the Family History section that describe or expand upon various topics).  Most of the photographs are creative content, as is most (perhaps all) of the writing outside the Family History section (including descriptions associated with the photographs).  

“Commercial” is a somewhat slippery term.  One gray area is when a hobbyist or a not-for-profit entity engages in what might be regarded as incidental commercial activity.  For example, many not-for-profit local museums have a gift shop (engaging in commerce), even though only a small fraction of the museums in the US actually make a profit.   

I personally regard use of creative content (on this web site) by non-for-profit entities that engage in incidental commercial activity as consistent with this Creative Commons license (provided the attribution requirements are met).  In particular, I have no problems with non-for-profit genealogical organizations, hobbyists, or bloggers using my creative content, even if these organizations (etc.) derive income from advertising (such as on a web site, or in a society publication) -- again, provided the attribution requirements are met.  I realize the amount of income from such advertising is usually quite nominal and primarily defrays the costs of publication, web site maintenance, etc.   

I should add, however, that my opinion on “incidental commercial activity” described above seems to be in a minority.  Not-for-profit entities with incidental commercial activities should be cautious about using material from other web sites with Creative Commons licenses.  This is discussed further at the following web page:  http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog/2013/02/01/the-commercial-conundrum

An example of a type of commercial activity that I’m interested in excluding (or, at least not providing blanket permission for) is having narratives contained on this web site converted whole-cloth into “stories” incorporated into family trees on Ancestry.com (or a similar family tree web site).  My understanding of copyright law is that you can incorporate facts from this web site into your tree and/or write your own story for your family tree on (for example) Ancestry.com (using facts from this web site and other sources).  If you do that, mentioning that additional information is available on the XenonSheepdog.org web site will be much appreciated. 

If you: (1) want to use any of this material in a commercial end product; (2) are unsure if your end product should be regarded as commercial; or (3) have questions about any of this material or its use, please contact me.  I’m likely to give permission to use creative content if you ask (especially if the material in to be used in a national best seller, which says nice things about this web site).  A contact form can be accessed from the home page of this web site, and from navigation links at the bottom of many other pages on the site.

There are a few creative-type items on this web site that, to the best of my knowledge, are not copyrighted (at least not copyrighted by me).  These include certain old photographs (and perhaps quotations from old documents), which (in my understanding) are in the public domain (especially material from around 1923 or earlier).  The site contains a few photographs, images, and writing obtained for others (who, to the best of my knowledge, are acknowledged in the web site as original creators, if I have been able determine who they are).  There may be some material obtained or quoted from US government records and publications and from other documents that are not copyrighted.   

My understanding is that copyrighted material (even the “creative content” from this web site) can be sometimes be used under “fair use” provisions of copyright law (and possibly under other provisions or exclusion).  I am not a lawyer.  I cannot provide guidance on this topic. 

Again, if there are any questions or concerns, please contact me (a contact form can be accessed from the home page of this web site, and from a navigation links at the bottom of many other pages on the site).


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         XenonSheepdog.org Web Site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.