Archiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2003-09 > 1064590392

From: "Gary Boivin" <>
Subject: Re: [Q-R] (OT) Re Obits
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 09:33:12 -0600
References: <> <003901c38433$6a033720$bc6bfea9@q6k8m6> <008e01c3843c$835202c0$> <008801c38440$a9b09040$bc6bfea9@q6k8m6>

This was discussed on another OBIT List and they apparently checked with a
legal expert.

In his opinion...
The data included within an obit cannot be copyrighted.
Newspapers will not publish Obits without being paid for the advertizing
The Obit Notice belongs to the individual that paid for it... Always.
Online sites that post and charge for obits can only copyright the format
that was used for the delivery. They cannot copyright the Obit itself
because it belongs to the person that paid for it --- doubtful if the site
has compensated the individual who owns the obit.

So what these sites are charging for is the service they provide and not for
the data itself.
As for posting a copyright notice... Anyone can post any sort of notice and
say what they want... But that doesn't mean that it would stand up in Court.
If these sites believed they could enforce a copyright, they would be suing
everyone that infringed on these so-called copyrights such as the Rootsweb
Obits Lists.

One person did attempt to sue because their copyrighted Obituary Notice
appeared in a publication (I think it was The Canadian Obituary Record).
When it got before the Judge it was thrown out because the Judge ruled that
the purpose of an Obituary Notice was to inform and honour the life of the
deceased and to preventing the publication of the Notice would not be doing
that. He also ruled that the Notice belonged to the deceased even though it
was paid for by the Plaintiff.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Sharyn Hay" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, September 26, 2003 9:12 AM
Subject: Re: [Q-R] (OT) Re Obits

> In other words, Gary, if someone copies an obituary
> from one of these sources and posts it to a list, thus
> stealing potential revenue from the newspaper's obit
> site, are they not in violation of the copyright at that
> point?
> Most paid obit sites have a very clear copyright
> statement posted on the site and I have seen some obits
> on this list which listed a URL. When I went to the URL
> there was a very clear copyright statement posted at the
> site. I even sent a copy of one to Uncle Fred. That is
> why the suggestion has been made here, and on other lists,
> that only the info covered by the Freedom of Information
> Act (names, dates, locations) be posted instead of full
> obits. Just because it is a lot of work to send copies of
> full obits privately (which, if copied from a *paid site*, is
> also illegal), does not make it right to post copyrighted
> info (which is the narrative portion, not the names, dates,
> and locations). The argument that individuals pay for obits
> in some papers, and thus own them, is true. However, when
> they come from a newspaper site which declares a copyright,
> it is a much different story.
> Regards,
> Sharyn
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