I have been doing free look-ups for 3 or more years in a book called "Shasta County, California, 1852-1880:Births, Deaths, Divorces, and Marriages Recorded Elsewhere." This book was compiled and published by my mother in 1986, and is rare, as only 100 copies were published.She indexed Shasta County newspapers from 1852-1880 and added much information from census and mortality schedules, baptismal records, county hospital records, and probably more.
My mother died in 1989, and as her only child I am the sole copyright owner of this book.Recently I discovered that a woman in Redding had digitized my mother's book and sold it as a database to Ancestry.com.During the free trial membership period in December, I accessed the database and gathered evidence of COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT because I was never notified, asked, or consulted about this.And if I had been asked for permission I would have said NO.Remember, I am giving the information away for FREE.
I wrote a letter to the copyright attorney for MyFamily.com and enclosed several examples I had gathered which proved that the database was a pure plagiarism of my mother's work.The woman who did this had even copied my mother's typographical errors!
At my request, Ancestry.com has removed this database and has promised not to keep any copies.I could have allowed them to make it one of their free databases, BUT - the copy was far inferior to my mother's work and was not worthy of having her name on it.For example, the woman had left out ALL of the causes of death that my mother had noted, and the places of origin of the deceased, leaving in only notes about relationships, such as "son of..." or "wife of..."Furthermore, my mother had given the place of death but not the deceased person's residence.But the woman who plagiarized her work had put the place of death in the "Residence" field of the database.This led to such ludicrous things as people who drowned being listed as "residents" of the Sacramento River.One poor soul was listed as a "resident" of the Sea of Cortez.
I am furious about this violation of the copyright laws.Ancestry.com says this woman claimed to have a letter of permission from the Shasta Historical Society but she did not produce a copy of it and they took her at her word.She also claimed that the copy at the Historical Society did not have anyone's name on it as an author.If this is true (and my spies are checking!), I will be sending them a photocopy of the title page and the verso of the title page and request that they attach them to their copy.
By the way, the verso of the title page includes the statement, "No name or date may be stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or for printed publication, without the prior written permission of this author."Since copyright does not die when an author dies, permission must now be applied for from ME.If the woman who plagiarized it had bothered to ask around, I am quite sure that she would have found out who compiled the data and how to contact her daughter.Furthermore, there are other copies of the book in Shasta County, most notably at the public library, so it would have been quite easy to have found a copy WITH a title page.
If anyone wants a lookup in this book, they will get COMPLETE and CORRECT information from ME, not from a plagiarized database.Please note that only the years 1852 through 1880 are covered.