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What Can I Legally Copy?
You've got questions about discovering, preserving and celebrating your family history; our experts have the answers.
Q: I have some questions after reading "Copyrights and Wrongs" (Now What?, February 2001). I have been doing family research for several years and with the onset of the Internet, I correspond with several other researchers. We send photos back and forth and other documents. One of the other researchers opened a private family Web site at, and we've posted photos, death certificates, marriage licenses and other documents on this site. Is that wrong or illegal? We don't want to get in trouble.


I am aware that photos cannot be reproduced if they are stamped "Do Not Copy" and if you want copies, you have to have written permission from the photographer. But I didn't know if we could legally make copies of death and marriage certificates or any other documents.

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