I need legal advice on use of copyrighted materials?
Our Temple and Family History Center [#3339084] received a large donation of documents from a member of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society (GRHS) and which was supplemented with our stake purchasing the remaining Heritage Reviews portion of the collection to bring the collection up to date. The collection contains large quantities of names, places, and other data on births, deaths, marriages, christenings and ship manifests for Germans living and moving around in eastern Germany, western Russia, Poland, and Ukraine during the 18-20th centuries period. I contacted FamilySearch before (case No. 5897887) about keeping the collection here at the Stake's TFH Center because it is this north central states and Saskatchewan that has the largest numbers of descendants of these immigrants settling this region. The person I contacted suggested that the collection remain here in our TFH Center in Rapid City, SD.
A usage problem has developed, however. The GRHS office in Bismarck, ND has denied copyright release to our TFH Center which would allow photographing or copying portions of these documents. I have searched the U.S. Copyright office catalog and found no registration of copyright by GRHS even though the Heritage Reviews show the usual (c) All Rights Reserved notice.
Family Search only has a list of the Reviews with publication volume numbers and dates, but no actual textual information within each issue. My question is two-fold; (1) has the TFH Department of the Church attempted to obtain these GRHS documents with copyright release, and (2) can our TFH Center ignore the release refusal because of their lack of formal registration with the U.S. Copyright Office?
Briant L. Davis, Lead Consultant, Rapid City South Dakota Stake TFH Center