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Clarification of Intellectual Property rights / 3rd party use of project information

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  • Clarification of Intellectual Property rights / 3rd party use of project information


    Can someone clarify a few points for me?

    I wish to propose the following hypothetical scenario.

    Assume someone who has taken a yDNA test, and is matched to a yDNA group of people with the same surname who have joined a surname project.

    If they would like to use a yDNA pseudo-haplogroup name from a surname project on a WikiTree project page, are there any restrictions?

    For example, the Smiths ALL project uses "the FTDNA shorthand haplogroup conventions". They further state "The group numbering is simply sequential." Those arbitrary shorthand names are then published upstream on here.

    If someone were to make a WikiTree free space page to use as a workspace for researching, say "GRP-R-M269-1-22", would there be any legal restrictions of this use of this pseudo-group name on that page?

    I feel I can start to examine this question from the FTDNA Terms of Service page.

    Per section 9E:

    Copyright and Trademark Notice: The trademarks, service marks, and logos contained in the Services are owned by or licensed to us. Each of the Services, including the website's content, features, and functionality (including but not limited to all information, software, code, algorithms, database, text, displays, images, video and audio, and the design, selection and arrangement thereof) are owned by FamilyTreeDNA and its licensors and are protected by copyright, pursuant to United States and international copyright laws as well as other copyright laws.

    I believe it is clearly stated here that any content that is housed on is exclusively their intellectual property.

    Further, I believe that the provisions of the Fair Use Doctrine would afford private researchers the right to use this group name without the need to receive permission from a surname project administrator.

    I am curious to hear your thoughts and rebuttals.

    Thank you,

    Christopher Smith

  • #2
    I can't see how a label designating a logical category could properly be subject to copyright. You could of course create your own version of the same label, substituting Group for GRP etc., and literate people would thank you. When an organization creates labels for logical categories (archives and libraries do this all the time: catalogue numbers), it is expected that people discussing or referring to those categories will use those labels, and will generally, if the labels are not already part of a widely-used system, indicate in some way whose categories they are. That could be as simple as mentioning the FTDNA "project" that created those labels once in some introductory text. The need for words to refer to things is basic. It is clearly not possible to advance a genealogical discussion without them.


    • #3
      John, thank you for your reply. We are thinking along the same lines.