Monday, December 14, 2009

Mundia? Oh no! strikes again

There has been a buzz lately about Ancestry's new Mundia website, but Ol' Myrt here definitely will not join thanks to Bill West who explained on Facebook that he was going to join Mundia until he read the Terms of Use.

Most of us skip over terms of service screens as they are somewhat generic. But thankfully, Bill took the time and discovered's stated intentions:

The Website may contain areas where you can post content, such as text, images, photographs, data, files and other materials. For purposes of clarity, as between you and us, you retain ownership of any content that you post, subject to the following paragraph.

For each item of content that you post, you grant to us and our affiliates a world-wide, royalty free, fully paid-up, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, transferable, and fully sublicensable (including to other Website users) license, without additional consideration to you or any third party, to: (i) reproduce, distribute, make available, transmit, communicate to the public, perform and display (publicly or otherwise), edit, modify, adapt, create derivative works from and otherwise use such content, in any format or media now known or later developed; (ii) exercise all trademark, publicity and other proprietary rights with regard to such content; (iii) use your name, photograph, portrait, picture, voice, likeness and biographical information as provided by you in connection with your content for the Service, in each case, in connection with your content. For example, after your registration or subscription has ended, we may continue to use and display any content that you previously posted, and other users may continue may access, change, edit, add to, subtract from or otherwise amend such content. If you do not want to grant us the rights set out in these Terms of Use, please do not post any content on the Website. [Emphasis is as it appears in the original.]

To the extent permitted by applicable law, you agree to waive all moral rights in any content that you post or send whilst using the Website, including the right to be identified as the author of such content.

Source: Ancestry's viewed 12/14/2009 9:17am Mountain Daylight time.

Call me silly, but it appears that in paragraph #1 at grants you full ownership of your uploaded content, but then paragraphs #2 & #3 effectively remove typical, standard ownership rights.

... a member trees website that includes a map-based interface. It is a creation of that is in a "beta" testing stage right now. The concept isn't new -- that of encouraging interface with other researchers whose ancestors are in the same geographic area as yours . Good idea,

That wishes to own everything you post and can re-purpose your content in any venue it chooses is also, unfortunately, not a new concept. Bad idea,

This ill conceived project is just shades of the old Internet Biographical Collection. See:

The only difference with Mundia is that Ancestry isn't culling the internet for external content to copy and place in the paid subscription area at This time is inviting folks (who don't read the terms of use) to submit content so can effectively own said content.

Please note that Ol' Myrt has benefitted by placing a version of her personal database online at to allow computers to find possible record matches and like-ancestored fellow researchers. But at, unlike Mundia, members who upload info have the option to select public or private use.

If I find my content is considered owned by, Ol' Myrt here will just give up on that site like I have Mundia. One researcher has observed "it would appear the lawyers have taken over again" and left common sense behind -- effectively "waiving all moral rights".

The legal team is messing up the good work being done by the programmers on the Mundia project.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.


  1. I've just discovered, or rather my wife has.

    They encourage people to give feedback while beta testing, and I hope you have, but there's more.

    Mundia displays Ancestry trees, and encourages cut-and-paste genealogy mby making it extremely difficult to contact the owners or compilers of the trees.

    I'm soliciting opinions of other users, and hope to write a review on my blog (which I'll link to yours), but I hope you'll give them feedback and that others will too.

  2. They may encourage people to give feedback while beta testing, but once you sign in and create a profile have to accept the terms and conditions, so you have already given away the rights to your content, (which is already linked to Mundia through Maybe people need to be able to give them this feedback before joining... Thanks Myrtle for bringing this to my attention. I just heard of Mundia today for the first time, and I was looking over the FAQs, but nothing jumped out as a red flag. What you just shared DEFINITELY does!

  3. Just another reason why I refuse to post my family history research on or any of its affiliates

  4. Even if you mark your Ancestry tree "private" for paid subscribers of Ancestry, it becomes totally public on Mundia.

    I have a private tree I play on - trying out possible relatives and looking for families of old photographs. Much of it is totally inaccurate. And now some fool is going to copy it.

    I also noticed that while all my dates are listed, there is not one single source. This is a dangerous lesson to the new family historian. What are they thinking?


  5. I'm using it to find possible relations and have found 2 already. I want to share information with them. I've already found 2 other cousins recently and we've each learned something new.

  6. I had never heard of until the other day when a Google search led me to it. To my surprise, the "match" was with my own family tree that I had put on some time ago. So, if you have a family tree on Ancestry, you may have already given them permission to use it in Mundia before Mundia even existed.

  7. Personally, I don't care that people can access my tree on Mundia. That's exactly what I would prefer. I don't like that, by default, inteded to make money of my work so they can give it away to other users who pay them to see it. I freely give my work away to anyone who asks, because in my eyes I don't own it. You can't own the truth, and that's what we're trying to do as genealogists, isn't it? We're trying to represent the truth.

  8. its the first time i have heard of mundia,i have tried other family tree site and they bring you to a point where you have thought you have found a relative then bring up the charges they want you to pay up to now i have been on mundia for about a couple of day and found my granddads brothers and up to now its free if they use it for anyone to see thats alright it helps you to build your family tree

  9. I'm with Heather and Mike, we do our family history and trees hoping to find other distant relatives who can fill in the gaps, dates and even photos. I just discovered Mundia say a week ago and already have a copy of my ancestor's sister's photo and contacted a couple of very distant relatives with more names and dates.

  10. Wow. I will be linking to your blog post tomorrow. You are so right, I think that they are hoping that people won't actually read the terms of use so that they can get a hold of your stuff.