Copyright and Data Privacy Compliance Request

A few months ago I posted a feature request to be able to mark a person as “private”. This feature request is an update, to include the ability to mark individual media items as “private”. This additional capability is needed in order to support compliance with copyright laws. Both of these requests fall into the category of “compliance”.

Privacy flags for people and media (as well as the existing flag for individual events) are needed because RootMagic contains features that support data sharing with internet-based platforms. Utilizing RootsMagic as a desktop product, users can comply with non-commercial use copyright permissions and data privacy concerns. However, a “private” flag for media is needed to enable users to prevent copied media items from being transferred to commercial platforms. Similarly, there is, at a minimum, an ethical obligation to provide product capabilities that enable users to comply with industry and country-level data privacy standards by preventing the transfer of information about a ‘person’.

While RootsMagic allows an event to be marked private, there should be privacy flags for both people and individual media items that, when selected, would prevent those data elements designated as “private” from being published online or from being included in Gedcom exports. Though there are many requests for new product features, I submit that “compliance” requests should have a high priority.


Have you considered that there is the possibility that such “compliance” requests may require Ancestry or FS to alter their API? That may be easier said than done.

Not a problem for mac users since even a small database bombs when uploading with media to ancestry (popup claims false timeout not logged ion error).

Surely we are talking about RM not transferring such media to either Ancestry or Family Search. What is transferred is entirely under the control of RM, the APIs are just the way of doing the transfer.

It seems to me that this is a very valid requirement, though I’m sure that many users are very lax in their treatment of copyrighted material when they shouldn’t be.

Right. The intent of the request, as John pointed out, is to have a RM control on the RM db content that would prevent publishing to other platforms or including in a gedcom when an item is marked “Private”, similar to the capability that is in place today for events. I wouldn’t expect it to require any API changes.

There is a use case involving “people” where some workflow would be required to address a potential error condition – where an existing RM person is linked via treeshare to an online identity and then the RM user wants to mark that person as private. Some decisions would need to be made on how RM addresses this case, however the solution would not necessarily require any API changes.

No, we aren’t talking about that at all. We are talking about the various APIs, of which we have precisely no knowledge of what they require RM to do/send.

Sorry, Kenneth, that is not true. The original request was about the ability to stop RM transferring copyrighted media to Ancestry or FS. Yes, RM uses the APIs to transfer it, but it entirely up to RM which information it passes to those APIs. Surely there is no way can these websites can require the transfer of data over which RM or it’s users have no right to do so.

RM does not share media with FamilySearch. The request to privatize media for Ancestry Trees has been reported to development. Facts can be privatized so they are not uploaded to Ancestry. For media you wish to keep private add them to a separate folder. Then before using TreeShare break the media links by temporarily changing the folder name. None of the media in the private folder will upload to Ancestry while the media links remain broken.