Thank you all for your help, support, advice, etc. on the subject of
copyright laws. Those who wrote to me privately have been answered
privately. Following is a brief summary of the remarks:
1. All personal works and compilations can be copyrighted. The person
could sue you until he's 'blue in the face' but would have to prove to a
court that you profitted in some monetary way by publishing his data in
order to collect any damages.
2. Your relative does not own the public records which provided data.
3. A copyright proclaims your ownership of the form [the wording for
example] in which you put your data, not the data itself.
4. There is no copyright in "facts, news, ideas or information. Copyright
exists in the form in which information is expressed and the selection and
arrangement of the material, all of which involves skill and labour."
Source: McNae's Essential Law for Journalists by Tom Welsh and Walter
Greenwood, published by Butterworths.
5. Copyright law protects an author's work in the creative expression
of his ideas. It does not cover facts. It also only covers the author's
original work. If you gave this strange person some information, you still
have rights in that information, to use it as you see fit.
6. Family history belongs to all the family -- it is not a 'created' work
as such (to be copyrightable I believe it has to be something created and
not in existence anywhere else)...snip... Jeez, and I thought my family
Susan Pearlman, Northridge, California
Researching [inter alia]:
JASKOLKA, JELIN [YELLIN], JOSZPA [YOSHPE], KOSLOVSKY [KOZLOWSKI],
RUBENSTEIN, SIDRANSKY, SZOR [SHORE], SZEJNMAN [SCHEINMAN], and what started
all this: WISHNIATSKY.