One of the items she discussed that really caught my attention wasn't about copyright at all. It was about licensing and terms of service. That's what you enter into when you use sites like Ancestry.com, Archives.com and GenealogyBank.com. When you subscribe to these sites the vendor will share access of their product or service if you agree to abide by their licensing and terms of service.
Last night Judy mentioned that Ancestry.com recently changed their terms of service at the end of March 2012. The specific part that she mentioned related to the topic of Limited Use License. The recent changes now restrict use of the Ancestry.com website and images to personal use only:
"You may access the Website, use the graphics, information, data, editorial and other Content only for personal family history research."
Where does that leave professional genealogists and bloggers?
Does this mean that professionals are not allowed to access the website for professional research for either clients, background research for books, preparation of presentations or research for articles?
Does this mean that bloggers can no longer share information they find on Ancestry.com unless it relates specifically to their personal family?
I would love to hear from Ancestry.com in plain English specifically where they stand on Professional Genealogists (who are not employed by Ancestry.com or their subsidiaries) and bloggers.
I would like other bloggers and professionals to take up this issue on their blogs. And I would like a direct, public response from Ancestry.com. We deserve explicit clarification on this topic without having to resort to unspoken acceptable sneaking around use of the website.
Perhaps I've misunderstood what Judy was saying last night. And perhaps I've misunderstood what Ancestry.com wrote in their terms and services which is quoted above. If that's the case, then I look forward to further correction and clarification.
[Postscript: See comment #3 below for the Terms of Service language before the change was made and how it specifically included professionals.]
*** [Postscript: Please read the official response to this blog post from Ancestry.com] ***