Casefile Clues

02 November 2012

Cyndi's List

I've known Cyndi Howells of Cyndislist since she was one page. I'm proud to say that. I count Cyndi among my personal friends.

Several days ago, Cyndi let several of us know that someone had apparently taken her website (along with another website of links) and appropriated it for themselves with a little tweaking. Emphasis on the word "little." This person, who shall remain nameless, apparently forgot that genealogists are used to conducting an exhaustive search and amassing evidence. We may disagree about how to create citations and whether or not the citation police actually exist, but we're on the same page when it comes to copyright.

Copyright violation is illegal and it is wrong.  It's that simple. Facts cannot be copyrighted. Websites are not simple statements of facts--at least not Cyndislist. Entire websites such as Cyndislist (http://www.cyndislist.com) can be copyrighted (and usually are). Even short blog posts are subject to the copyright protection afforded the author. Copyright encourages the development of new material.

There's a simple way to avoid copyright violation. Create your own stuff. Do your own work. Hell, that sounds about like the way we were told do to things in third grade.

That's what Cyndi did and that's what I do too. We'd be better off if the rest of the world did as well.

Go Cyndi!