Roots Tech 2018 - Copyright for genealogists

March 16, 2018

I’ve been catching up on a number of Roots Tech 2018 videos.  One of the best in my opinion is the 60 minute lecture by Janice Sellers of Ancestral Discoveries titled Online Does Not Equal Free: Copyright Issues for Genealogy.


Copyright is a very dry but nevertheless very important topic for genealogists. While the lecture is based on US Copyright law, it is still well worth watching because the issues are the same in all countries. 


Ms Sellers covers many practical examples and answers multiple questions from the audience.  As well as copyright she also discusses ethical issues in family research. I found it to be a very useful presentation in what can be a confusing minefield for the unwary.


Watching the Roots Tech video also reminded me that given the international nature of genealogists’ family research, it is important we are across any material differences in copyright law among the countries in whose records we delve.


In addition to Ms Sellers’ video, the Australian Copyright Council has an excellent website with advice in separate sections for copyright users and copyright holders.  See Their downloadable pdf document titled An Introduction to Copyright in Australia is a good starting point and includes what it is, how it works, ownership and more.


The UK Government has a comprehensive and well-structured website dedicated to copyright matters in that country. See


For information on Irish copyright matters, the Irish Patents Office has a dedicated section on its website.  See


Do you have any favourite copyright websites you would like to share?




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