Category: Pet Peeves


Copyright and Fair Use

Monica and I have this discussion occasionally, especially pertaining to obituaries. Can we re-publish them on the web? If they are from before 1923, no. Just recently I told her, “Since everyone else is doing it, I’m tempted to just wait for ‘them’ to catch me.” But that’s not really The Right Thing To Do, so I’ve settled on excerpts with links for items that I don’t have permission to copy outright. Some newspapers have given express permission to do so, The Current Local and the Idaho Statesman, for instance.

Copyright law is a bear to understand. The University of Texas Libraries has a section that might help — the Copyright Crash Course. In a nutshell, “Fair Use” is NOT “re-publish the whole thing.”

Legacy Family Tree 9

Long post, so bottom line: No, I’m not upgrading. I’m not even going to spend the time to find out what new features Legacy is rolling out.

In my efforts to get more organized, I thought I might start from scratch, software-wise — definitely not from scratch entry-wise. Made that mistake a couple of years ago and I still haven’t restored even a fraction of my photos, documents and sources. This is painfully evident from the lack of documentation appearing on the website. But this was necessary since all my “let’s put this over there” silliness finally caught up with me and it really was easier to start over than to try to correct all those paths or find all those files. I retained the names, facts., etc., in the original family file, though. Whew.

Anyway —

I’ve been using Legacy Family Tree pretty much from . . . [Yes! There’s more!]

Why Do They Keep Publishing This Guy?

Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter recently mentioned another instance of plagiarism on the internet. Dick didn’t even want to mention the alleged offender’s name, (Barry Ewell) and linked to the Ancestry Insider article (he also didn’t want to quote the article, even with attribution, thus walking the walk as well as talking the talk).

My question is — why do they even keep publishing this guy? Not only that, apparently he’s also still be hired as a speaker. Perhaps his fees are lower than the fees of the real creators of the content he “borrows.” Good grief, he doesn’t even bother to try to re-write the sentences, making Google a great way to quickly find the work he steals.

While browsing the blog, I also came across this popular post: Monday Mailbox: Ancestry Removing Find A Grave Photos? The article itself is interesting, but read the comments. They . . . [Yes! There’s more!]

‘Bots and Spammers Win Again

Well, sorta.

Unfortunately, I just can’t keep up with them. By the time I find that the site is being hammered and scraped, the damage is already done. The only solution I know of at this point is to require you, the “real” users, to register and login. Ugh.

I really hate when I have to do this myself. I get it, but I hate it.

One method of proving a potential user is a “real” person is a CAPTCHA challenge. I especially don’t like these because there are too many of them I can’t read. So, register and login it is.

You do have options, though. Many of the areas have a login and password of “Guest” (without the quotes). This seems to be the most painless way to do it. Some sections do require registration, but rest assured I have no interest in harvesting your emails or selling . . . [Yes! There’s more!]

Trust, but Verify? No — Don’t Trust AT ALL!

It’s not just me. You’ll find complaints about bogus family trees all over the web.

It’s one thing to make a mistake. It’s quite another to import an entire GEDCOM from Rootsweb or Ancestry, or copy information from an old book — or a new one, for that matter — and assume there are no mistakes in them. And then blame the original author when your tree is now a hot mess.

I received a mailing list post recently that I’m still laughing about. The writer complained that she and a cousin had spent a great deal of time cleaning up their family trees because they had relied on erroneous information from an old genealogy book about their family. The upside is that, at some point, they realized there was a problem and set out to actually do some research.

One of the Ancestry commercials that makes my spine tingle . . . [Yes! There’s more!]

No More Messing Around

If you can’t access the site from a search engine or Facebook, it’s because your IP CIDR has been blocked. This won’t be an issue for most “real” visitors, because most of the IPs resolve to Europe or Asia. However, there are a few bad actors using IPs in the US and while I apologize for the inconvenience, I am determined to eliminate them, too.

I spend way too much time dealing with unauthorized login attempts and site harvesters. I have many security measures in place, so — knock on wood — none of my sites have been compromised. Yet. However, these Bad Kids still consume server resources and bandwidth, as they usually target several sites at once, and the bots can hit the sites hundreds of times in just a few minutes — not to mention the time it takes to review logs and block individual IP addresses, which . . . [Yes! There’s more!]

ARGH! Ancestry.com Strikes AGAIN!

I’ve used HeritageQuest Online for years to access the U.S. census. It’s a service available through libraries which, unlike Ancestry.com Library Edition, can be accessed from home using your library card number. Yes, the interface was a bit outdated and maybe not as pretty as some. You had to be a bit creative with your searches because of the way the indexing was presented, and while all available images for all years were there, not all years were indexed. The pages with the images themselves loaded relatively quickly, taking into account how large the files were, and there were several format options available for saving them.

Enter Ancestry.com, screwing things up again, a la RootsWeb and Find A Grave.

I don’t know when HeritageQuest Online climbed into bed with Ancestry.com, but some time in the last month or two, the website has been “updated.” At . . . [Yes! There’s more!]

Find A Grave

The big genealogical news of late is the acquisition of Find A Grave by Ancestry.com. A significant percentage of the people who are talking about this seem to fear that Ancestry.com plans to eventually make Find A Grave part of their pay-to-play site (not likely). A much smaller contingent remembers the glory days of Rootsweb and think Find A Grave, too, will be similarly gutted (again, I don’t think so).

Though the “poor, dedicated Jim Tipton” myth continues to circulate, the fact is that Find A Grave generated enough advertising revenue to allow him to quit his day job. So there’s no reason for Ancestry.com to charge for the site and every reason for them to continue to develop it, though most of the ads will probably now be for Ancestry.com’s products and services.

The deal was negotiated for months — though not specifically stated, it was obvious from . . . [Yes! There’s more!]