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JewishGen Agreement Forms — Explanation

The purpose of this document is to clarify the need for Volunteer, Donor, and Work for Hire Agreements, and to help the user understand which is the appropriate agreement to submit.  It is the responsibility of all Project Managers and SIG leaders to ensure that everyone under their supervision who is involved with any JewishGen activity has executed the necessary agreement form(s).

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Volunteer Agreement

Volunteer Agreement

JewishGen is primarily a grass roots volunteer organization.  In order to offer a wide array of programs, JewishGen relies on members of its user community to volunteer their time and administrative skills to initiate new programs and to keep existing ones running smoothly.  A signed Volunteer Agreement is the only way JewishGen can acknowledge and reward the efforts of its volunteers.  In addition, Volunteer Agreements are a requirement under the contractual obligations of certain indexing projects as well as JewishGen’s liability insurance.  There is nothing in the Volunteer Agreement that impacts copyright or ownership, since neither time nor administrative efforts are copyrightable.  Ownership issues are addressed in the Donor and the Work for Hire Agreements, described below.

In summary, for someone volunteering to coordinate, supervise, or provide their time to any portion of a JewishGen project, a Volunteer Agreement is required.  This applies to SIG and Project Coordinators, webmasters and steering committee members; moderators of mailing lists; volunteer translators; and to data entry, proofreaders and QA personnel.

Since the Volunteer Agreement addresses "first assignment" and states that all subsequent assignments will be governed under the same provisions, only one Volunteer Agreement is required.


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Donor Agreement

Donor Agreement

A Donor Agreement is required when an individual or group working cooperatively wishes to donate material owned or created as an original body of text or data.  This is the only document that addresses copyright, and the donor's continuing rights in the material.

Because the Donor Agreement is specific to each donation and to the rights of the donor, a separate Donor Agreement is required for each donation.  However, for an ongoing project, such as a ShtetLinks page or a database created incrementally, only one Donor Agreement, identifying it as a "work in progress", is required.

The Donor Agreement merely gives JewishGen the right to display the material on their servers.  In the section labeled "General Requirements", the Donor Agreement specifically states:

In conjunction with this agreement and for no additional consideration, the Donor hereby grants to JewishGen a non-exclusive perpetual right to use, publish or distribute the donated material.  The non-exclusivity of this grant means that the Donor retains all rights to such data or information and may use, publish or distribute such data or information in any way Donor chooses.  This grant may not be revoked after the date of this agreement.

The Donor Agreement also states that JewishGen will accept the certification of the donor that he or she actually has all rights and any necessary written permissions to donate the material.  In cases where translations of previously published material, such as books or databases are being donated, an additional certification called "Addendum For Previously Published Material" is required.  Despite all these safeguards, should any challenge arise, JewishGen reserves the right to remove the material from our servers until such time as the problem is resolved.

In the case of an individual or group actively translating or transliterating material for a JewishGen project, the applicability of a Donor Agreement, Work for Hire Agreement or a Volunteer Agreement depends on the circumstances.  Please review the following in order to make the correct determination:


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Work For Hire Agreement

Work For Hire Agreement

If an individual is being paid by JewishGen to perform specific services, a Work For Hire Agreement is initiated and executed by the Vice President under whose aegis the project is being conducted.  The work becomes the exclusive property of JewishGen, because JewishGen will be paying for it.  This is in compliance with the terms of 501(c)(3) organizations and how they may spend their funds.  Work for Hire Agreements can be made available in languages other than English if needed.

If the individual decides that he or she will perform the work without payment, but wants to retain the rights to do other things with it, he or she can donate the work to the project and a Donor Agreement is executed.  Under the terms of every Donor Agreement, the material is donated to JewishGen in a non-exclusive perpetual right to "use, publish and distribute", but JewishGen has no underlying rights to the material.  The donor retains the rights to publish, to donate to another organization or to do anything an owner of material has the right to do.  NO COPYRIGHT IS RELINQUISHED.  However, this option can only be executed by the individual or group who has created material that did not exist previously (e.g., an index, a translation, or a transliteration).

In summary, everyone has complete freedom to select the terms under which his or her newly created material is donated. 


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