How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Michael Holly Your Own Question
Michael Holly
Michael Holly, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7046
Experience:  BA honours degree in law, over 20 years experience in litigation, contract and property matters
Type Your Property Law Question Here...
Michael Holly is online now

I am researching family history and uncovering a potentially

This answer was rated:

I am researching family history and uncovering a potentially interesting story via websites with members who claim they can copyright my details and this history thus preventing me from using it in anything I might like to write about it. Two questions: a) is this possible? b) if so, how can I take out copyright over my own family history material?

Copyright does not work that way.

It is not possible to copyright a historical set of circumstances or what people said or did

Copyright comes into existence when something is written such as an article, book etc and applies to that piece or writing.However there is nothing to stop you writing about the same situation as long as you do not copy the original piece.

I hope this clarifies the situation. If I have missed something or you have further points please reply

Best wishes

Yours sincerely

Michael Holly and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks very much that is clear enough. So I assume that no one can somehow register ownership over my family story etc, but could write a piece about it which would then be subject to copyright. But this would not stop me from using the same set of data to write my own story if I wanted to.


Nonetheless I should take care in this researching exercise as it seems that there are would be authors out there who latch into these sites to get info and ideas for their own work.


Thanks again

Yes, that is correct.

From what you say someone pinching the idea seems the greatest risk so you need to make sure yours is the first book on the subject!

Yours sincerely


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Indeed. Many thanks for your advice. Happy Christmas to you and family

Dear Christopher


You are welcome, the seasons greetings to you and your family.


Yours sincerely