Genealogy Wise

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During the past few posts, I have been examining who owns the genealogy
companies. What I find is a mixture of huge multinational corporations
and family owned businesses. I did have an ulterior motive in examining
the ownership however, I had several larger issues to discuss and needed
to know a little background before I jumped into the controversial
arena. When you realize the diversity of the ownership of the larger
genealogy companies, you can imagine extending the diversity to the
hundreds of smaller business organizations in today's genealogy
marketplace.

The first question is this: Who owns the genealogy? If I do some
research and identify my grandparents, do I own that information? I
mean, not in the copyright sense, but in the real down-to-earth personal
control type ownership. If you have ever thought about the subject of
ownership, you probably realize that the whole concept is defined by the
society you live in. The whole concept of private ownership is societal
based. Now, let's think about owning genealogy. Do I own my research?
What rights do I have as a result of having done the research? Again, I
am not talking about the statutorily created concept of "copyright" but
the idea of ownership. In my experience, most people would claim
ownership of anything they felt they had either personally created or
obtained through purchase or as a gift. In contrast, what if you were
hired to do the research? Would you feel the same sense of ownership, or
would you acknowledge that the person that hired you owned the
research?

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