I am not an attorney and any comments I post are not intended, nor should they be construed, as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult a legal expert who is familiar with the area of legal expertise you need.
In this post – Find-A-Grave and Copyright – Tombstone Tuesdays December 8, 2020, I mentioned copyright. I didn’t add how I re-write obits to stay within copyright and avoid violating Find-A-Grave guidelines. The website doesn’t allow living relatives to be named.
When I see an obit, I re-write in my own style and my own words to avoid copyright issues. As Find-A-Grave requires removing names of living people, I remove those names unless I verify they have died. My style is significantly different than a standard obit. While the facts can’t be copyrighted, how they are written can be. In essence, I create a separate copyright for my version of the re-written obit. I also avoid the flowery language used in many obits. In many obits I find, other family members are left out and I include any who have died. If they are still alive, I mention the relationship, but not the names.
My aunt died in 2009. In her obit, it mentions survived by a brother. Apparently the two families had not talked in a while as he died a year before she did. I haven’t found his or his wife’s obits. As obits have become very expensive, I may not found them. I don’t know his children well enough to try and figure out specifics.
I ran across an obit in the same newspaper published by his widow and girlfriend, both next to each other. You can read more about him at: https://pressofatlanticcity.com/news/eht-man-gets-obituaries-from-wife-and-girlfriend/article_f6929768-5b51-11e6-98aa-0b32bec5b515.html. The women weren’t willing to pay for separate ceremonies which would have cost a lot more than the obits. Plus, I doubt the funeral home would have done separate burials without an increase for each burial.
One note on obituaries on funeral home websites. Those often don’t stay up long. Some are gone within a week or maybe three months. Others may stay up for 6 months to a year. With some funeral homes, you can pay anywhere from $38.00 to $79.99 to keep them up permanently.