Friday, April 29, 2016

Are "Look Ups" a copyright violation?

At the risk of channeling Yoda: Lambasted for questioning the advisability of free "look ups" at paid genealogy sites, she was. Certain "genealogists" had asked for lookups among those who had paid for subscriptions to FindMyPast and In each post, the researcher admitted being "too cheap" to join the service in question.Yes, Ol' Myrt here is surprised to see numerous family historians thought me stuffy for politely suggesting alternatives. Looking things up at a local Family History Center or public library come immediately to mind here.

It's my belief that legitimate look ups concern textural items, not available elsewhere. This may be when your friend in going to a local library to look at the obituary index card file. He might do a look up for you as a courtesy.

Advertising free look ups on "behind the pay wall" websites for digital images of documents with the expressed purpose of circumventing the price of admission, is unbecoming a true genealogist.

Somebody's got to pay the piper.

In her post Just Say No, our esteemed Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell writes:
It’s like asking your neighbor who has high speed cable internet service if you can run your wire to his modem so you can use his service. Or if he’d mind sharing the password to his router so you can use his wireless system.
If you want to do research, you want websites to succeed in growing memberships. Then they will have revenue to do more preservation and digitization.

You don't want to be coming through the back-door through the use of the sleezy "free look-up" folks out there.

Either you are a responsible researcher, playing nicely in the genea-sandbox - or you are not.

IMAGE: Licensed by Adobe Stock.

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

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