So THANK YOU, FamilySearch.
Recently this organization (which has provided the genealogy community with so much free information) has introduced some well-designed (in my view) capabilities that allow users to enter their family tree information, and upload photos and stories about their ancestors.
I had previously chosen to make my ancestors' photos and stores available via a couple of family history websites that I had created and currently own. That way at least I had some level of control. This was a personal choice at that time.
In reviewing the new FamilySearch tree, photos and stories features, I asked myself why would I want to put all of MY research on someone else's website? You should know that I am not a big fan of the "One World Tree" concept. Not because all of them have so many user submitted errors, but also because none of the sites where I have submitted trees have resulted in many "finds," with the exception of a half dozen connections I have made via Ancestry Family Tree.
I was intrigued by the new FamilySearch Photos and Stories capabilities however, so I did a little research, and this is what I found:
First of all, you must know that I am not a lawyer, nor have I had any legal training, but I have dealt for years with many hundreds of contracts in my pre-retirement profession. So I am not afraid of legal language, even if it is often difficult to decipher.
I was curious about the "ownership" issues regarding the uploaded photos and stories to the FamilySearch website, so I reviewed what is called the "FamilySearch Content Submission Agreement" which is available on the LDS.org website as a link from the Photos Agreement page, which one can get to by clicking "Photos" from the main FamilySearch web page.
There were two pertinent paragraphs that I found interesting and they are reproduced word for word below:
4. Licenses and Rights Granted to Us. By submitting content to FamilySearch, you grant FamilySearch an unrestricted, fully paid-up, royalty-free, worldwide, and perpetual license to use any and all information, content, and other materials (collectively, “Contributed Data”) that you submit or otherwise provide to this site (including, without limitation, genealogical data and discussions and data relating to deceased persons) for any and all purposes, in any and all manners, and in any and all forms of media that we, in our sole discretion, deem appropriate for the furtherance of our mission to promote family history and genealogical research. As part of this license, you give us permission to copy, publicly display, transmit, broadcast, and otherwise distribute your Contributed Data throughout the world, by any means we deem appropriate (electronic or otherwise, including the Internet). You also understand and agree that as part of this license, we have the right to create derivative works from your Contributed Data by combining all or a portion of it with that of other contributors or by otherwise modifying your Contributed Data.
Again I am not an attorney but my reading of it basically says that FamilySearch can do anything they pretty much want with the photos and stories that you upload, including creating derivative works, and that they can edit your material for any reason.
Because of these restrictions as well as what appears to be the loss of rights to the material that I upload, I choose to not participate, for what I think are obvious reasons.
What do you think? Any attorneys out there that care to weigh in?