Can I Copyright “Paper Neighbors?”

I like the phrase “paper neighbors” because I think it emphasizes an important point about records that people sometimes forget.

But can I copyright that phrase? Can I copyright that idea?

The answers are “no” and “no.”

Other people are free to use the idea without indicating where or how they heard about it. I can’t stop that. I can’t copyright that short phrase and I can’t copyright the idea. Phrases can be trademarked–I’m not going to that expense–and ideas can be patented, but “paper neighbors” doesn’t qualify for that either.

I do have copyright to the blog post I wrote about the concept.

So if you like the concept, share it. We’d really appreciate it if you let people know where you heard about it.

If you share the blog post–link to it (http://rootdig.genealogytipoftheday.com/?p=5621). But don’t copy and paste it and strip my name from it. That’s a violation of copyright.

And it’s also lying to suggest that you wrote it, but that’s another story.

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