The following is a message posted to the IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies') Public Records Access Monitoring Committee mailing list and is republished here with the IAJGS' permission:
Ancestry includes many U.S. school yearbooks in their database. On December 1, 2020 in California, my home state, a lawsuit was filed in San Francisco – a proposed class action lawsuit, alleging Ancestry amassed photographs, names, likenesses and identities without permission to sell subscription access to the information and advertise Ancestry services and products.
The plaintiffs include California residents who are not Ancestry subscribers, have not donated a yearbook to the company and whose data were uploaded by Ancestry into the yearbook database—“U.S. School Yearbooks, 19090-1999”. The database has about 730 million individual records including 60 million records from schools and universities in California.
The lawsuit, filed against Ancestry.com Inc, Ancestry.com Operations Inc and Ancestry.com LLC, alleges violations of the California's publicity rights statute and unfair competition law, intrusion upon seclusion and unjust enrichment.
The case is Callahan et al v. Ancestry.com Inc. et al, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 3:20-cv-08437
At the time of this posting there is nothing on the Ancestry website regarding the litigation.
To read more see:
Thank you to Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist for informing us about this litigation. To read her blog post on this see: https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2020/12/02/ancestry-sued-for-yearbooks/
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee