We already have an (unstated?) practice of minimising the extent of images we publish from third-party sites who have Terms of Service that preclude it. Although we may be sailing close to the wind at times (or hiding behind a fair use interpretaion -- IANAL). For example the Ancestry Terms of Service say:
Online or other republication of Content is prohibited except as unique data elements that are part of a unique family history or genealogy.
(There's other relevant stuff there that's too long to quote).
However, we routinely allow the publication of elements of images taken from such sites, and some questions might not be answerable without those image elements.
The GEDmatch Site Policy Statement says
We take steps to prevent your genealogy information from being available to the casual web surfer or to the search engines (e.g. Google)...
We take measures to ensure that only registered users have access to your results...
The nature of genealogy research requires the exchange of information. That use must also be tempered by respect for the rights and privacy of other individuals. Anybody found to be using this site in ways not consistent with this principal of human decency will be subject to an immediate ban with all their data removed. Examples include, but are not specifically limited to, spam mailing lists or publishing other people's results or personal information without their permission...
I'll also quote from the Stackexchange Terms of Service :
- Subscriber Content
You agree that all Subscriber Content that You contribute to the Network is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Exchange under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license... Subscriber warrants, represents and agrees Subscriber has the right to grant Stack Exchange and the Network the rights set forth above. Subscriber represents, warrants and agrees that it will not contribute any Subscriber Content that ... (c) infringes any intellectual property right of another or the privacy or publicity rights of another
This is one simple question:
Are we willing to accept that our users may be contravening the Terms of Service of sites from which they pull images or other information?
With a few corollaries:
Does the answer differ depending on the nature of the data -- for example, if information about living people is published?
Are we as a community responsible for ensuring that the community adheres to the SE Terms of Service?
How should we pick and choose which elements of SE's policies we choose to enforce as a community policy, and which to leave to the 'conscience' of individual users? For example, we choose as a community to redact information about living people, in line with SE's ToS, even though we're not personally responsible for its publication. If we choose to take a different approach for different elements, can we articulate why?
Note: Reworded to focus on the Terms of Service question (I'll raise a separate question on handling DNA data).