Help talk:Image licensing


I am not sure what license to use for letters in my family collection. Some of them are personal letters and others are from a government agency or insurance company, etc. One I entered as prior to the cutoff date and one I entered as public domain. The third one I am entering without a copyright notice but really think there should be a different category for personal letters. Help. --Beth 20:20, 1 July 2008 (EDT)

Hi Beth,

Beth you worry too much! Lol. I agree adding more categories would definitely make things more exact, but most people have trouble differentiating between the categories we do have. When I'm not sure of the copyright status, I rely on the Fair Use rules. Generally speaking, if an image has been reduced in resolution or you are using a small part of the total text or image, you can claim Fair Use. Copies of public domain items are still public domain. With reference to personal correspondence, I would cut and paste the important parts if I was unsure of the copyright. In copying the entire letter, however, I am not sure of the copyright rules. =) --SQ

Thanks Solveig. I also have too many projects; I forgot that I sent this message. I will try and not worry so much. I am a Virgo; so it's really not my fault. <g>


Image-type specific guidelines [4 September 2012]

I don't know if this is the correct page for this (I will also post this on the suggestions page), but would love to have specific guidelines about whether specific image types are permissible on WeRelate, and how to use/cite them.

For example, a section on census images, explaining that they are fine to use, as long as you are just using a low-resolution image of one page (or whatever the actual "rules" are). Or that it's not OK to take headstone images from FindAGrave (unless it is...), etc.

Right now, the guidelines aren't very helpful - they just direct us to become experts in copyright law. I come to the page with an image, wondering if I can upload it to the site. I want the tools to figure out if the answer is "yes" or "no" or "yes, but make sure it's low resolution or only one page", etc.

- Jdfoote1 10:44, 31 August 2012 (EDT)

We're going for a balance between brevity and completeness. Unfortunately, copyright law is both vague and complex at the same time. It's not just a question of image type; it's also a question of who the copyright holder is, what license they provide the images under, whether you're using a full-resolution image and/or a small snippet, etc. Because of this we can't definitively tell people what is and isn't ok to publish. But we're open to suggestions on how to explain things more clearly.

--sq 23:42, 2 September 2012 (EDT)

First, thanks for the hard work you've done on that (and many other) pages!!

I shared this on the suggestion page, but what about some simple categories - something like:

OK to Upload

  • Public domain photographs
  • Photographs you own (and are willing to put under a creative commons license)
  • etc.

Not OK to Upload

  • Copyrighted photos
    • This could include photos taken within X years, etc.
  • Screenshots of family trees from proprietary websites (e.g., Ancestry, FamilySearch)

Gray Area

  • FindAGrave headstones
    • These images may be owned by the person who took it, etc.
  • Census images
    • Snippets fall under fair use, etc...

Alternatively, it could be organized by content type, e.g.:

Census images

  • A snippet of a census image (for example, cropping it so that it's just your family) is acceptable, but X isn't allowed

Personal Photographs [14 September 2012]

  • Photographs become public domain after X years. If you aren't sure whether they are public domain, then don't upload.


Basically, I think that people come with a specific question - "Can I upload a census image from FamilySearch?", but the page isn't organized in a way that gives a simple (or as simple as possible) an answer to that question.

- Jdfoote1 14:26, 3 September 2012 (EDT)

Thank you for your input. I understand the problem. WeRelate runs on Wikimedia--a sister organization for Wikipedia. I think our upload page with its options for licensing are straight from Wikipedia. They have lots of lawyers who have researched what is OK to say and what is not. I would be very hesitant to change any of the canned text. That said, we are currently working on the WeRelate help pages and will use some of your suggestions. --sq 17:45, 3 September 2012 (EDT)

That would be great! - Jdfoote1 16:51, 4 September 2012 (EDT)
Actually, I created the list of licensing options on the upload page :-). I've just added some examples to the main page. Please add some additional examples if you think some are missing. I'll try to fill in the answers as best I can.--Dallan 21:02, 14 September 2012 (EDT)

What happened to the FamilySearch limited-use license? [14 September 2012]

FamilySearch has added a clause to their terms of use that prohibits posting images onto other websites. From now on images from FamilySearch must be posted under "fair use". I am not a lawyer, but based upon my understanding of fair use, I believe that posting a small number of significantly-reduced-resolution or small snippets of unique historical documents on a non-profit website like WeRelate agrees with the "fair use" principles.--Dallan 21:08, 14 September 2012 (EDT)

Image use from allefriezen, Tresoar [21 February 2015]

Hi, Is it OK to insert images from record books found in searches through and TRESOAR? These would be of complete pages or partial pages from the 1800's showing birth, marriage and death records. I would certainly show the source of each.--Chrisv5656 19:31, 21 February 2015 (UTC)