Skip to content

Crown copyright

Crown copyright applies to works produced by the employees of the Crown. These include Acts of Parliament, Government Circulars and so forth.

Furthermore, Parliamentary copyright covers works produced by or under the control of the Parliament. Examples of such works are Hansard, Bills, White and Green Papers, Select Committee reports etc. Parliamentary copyright applies to works produced after 1st August 1989. Any works produced prior to this date fall under Crown copyright.

The Crown and Parliamentary copyright are administered by the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI).

Crown copyright in published works applies for 50 years from the end of calendar year in which the work was published. In unpublished works, copyright protection lasts for 125 years from the end of year when the work was produced or until 31st December 2039 - whichever is the longest.

Parliamentary copyright extends to 50 years from the end of the year it was produced.

A figure craved in stone on a building exterior

License to use Crown Copyright materials

The licence for the re-use of a wide range of public sector information, including that which is covered by Crown copyright, is the Open Government Licence (OGL). Further details about the Open Government Licence can be found on the OPSI web site. The OGL permits the copying, publication, distribution, transmission and adaption of materials falling under its remit. Commercial use is also permissible as long as acknowledgement of source is made (specific wording often required by the information provider).

Things to remember

If you use Crown copyright material, you must ensure that

  • you do not imply that the information provider endorses you or your use of the information.
  • by including Crown copyright materials, you do not suggest your work has any official status.
  • you avoid misleading others or misrepresenting information or its source.
  • you do not breach the Data Protection Act 1998 or the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (EC Directive).

The license does not cover the use of

  • personal data found in the information you are re-using.
  • information that has neither been published nor disclosed under information access legislation (including the Freedom of Information Acts for the UK and Scotland) by or with the consent of the information provider.
  • departmental or public sector organisation logos, crests and the Royal Arms (except where they form an integral part of a work).
  • military insignia.
  • third party rights the information provider is not authorised to license.
  • information subject to other IP rights, including patents, trademarks and design rights.
  • identity documents like the British Passport.

License to use Parliamentary copyright materials

The licence for the re-use of information covered by Parliamentary copyright is the Open Parliament Licence (OPL).

The OPL permits the same activities; and carries the same restrictions and exemptions as the Open Government License.