Crown copyright is defined under section 163 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as works made by officers or servants of the Crown in the course of their duties.
Crown copyright covers material created by civil servants, ministers and government departments and agencies. This includes legislation, government codes of practice, Ordnance Survey mapping, government reports, official press releases, academic articles and many public records. For clarification of the duration of copyright please see the flowcharts for Crown copyright and non-Crown copyright. The National Archives has also produced a Permanent Secretary's Guide to Copyright (PDF, 0.34MB).
Copyright can also come into Crown ownership by means of assignment or transfer of the copyright from the legal owner of the copyright to the Crown. Copyright in a work which has been assigned to the Crown lasts 70 years after the death of the person who created it.
Some Crown material is subject to a waiver, which means that it may be reproduced in any format, free of charge, without obtaining official permission. Categories of Crown material for which copyright has been waived includes government press notices, legislation and explanatory notes on the legislation, ministerial speeches, consultation documents, documents on official websites (unless otherwise stated).
The default licence for most Crown copyright and Crown database right information is the Open Government Licence.
Third party copyright
The permission to reproduce Crown protected material does not extend to the any material on this site which is identified as being the copyright of a third party. Authorisation to reproduce such material must be obtained from the copyright holders concerned.
For further information on Crown copyright policy and licensing arrangements, see the guidance featured on The National Archives.
© Crown copyright