Derived data and derived data exemptions

This section is about what we mean by derived data and gives guidance on the arrangements available to PSMA / OSMA members to use the Open Government Licence to extend the sharing of their derived data beyond the Member Licence.

Please note that this guidance only applies to our intellectual property rights (IPR) and interests and does not change or supersede any other third party IPR rights (e.g. Royal Mail's, etc.). It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the necessary permission from any other third party IPR owners.

Derived data - general

What is meant by derived data?

Derived data is a term that is used to describe new datasets or information that have been created using an existing dataset or information asset as its source.

Where, during the creation of new data, an existing dataset or information asset, including data attribution or textual content, has been copied, replicated, reproduced, and or generalised; that data could be considered to be derived if it encapsulates a significant proportion of the original, or source, data.

As the derived data will be protected by copyright and/or database rights, each user in the information chain would need to be appropriately licensed.

For example:

  • if you make a complete copy (i.e. a duplicate) of a dataset, that is not a derived dataset.
  • if you select certain features (e.g. points, lines or polygons) and or their attributions, that is a derived dataset.  
  • if you derive data from a dataset that is already compiled from multiple sources, the IP licensing arrangements from all those sources needs to continue.
What is OS derived data?

By this we mean digital data and or hard copy information that you have created using OS data products, see our Intellectual Property (IP) policy

How can we release our derived data to third parties?

There are a number of options available to you.

  • The publication of your data under the Member Licence in support of your public sector business use; see the 'Publishing information' and 'Sharing data with others' sections 
  • Through the use of OS OpenData products as the source  
  • Obtaining a 'Presumption to Publish' exemption
  • The extension we have granted enabling the open release of your public sector assets
  • Obtaining a full derived data exemption
  • Through our Partner licensing arrangements, where none of the above apply. 
As a member, do we have to make our derived data available?

The Member Licence enables you to make your derived data available to others in a number of ways in support of your non-commercial public task.

In addition, we have enabled the exemption processes that allow you to publish more of your OS derived data on open government licence terms. 

To clarify the position and to reassure members, whilst you have these options, it is still entirely down to your own business decision-making and governance procedures to determine which is appropriate. It can also depend on your organisation’s preferences for releasing your derived data under the options we are providing.

Where can I get additional advice before releasing my derived dataset?

We are happy to discuss your ideas with you if you are not sure whether the terms of your Member Licence or our open data arrangements for making your derived data available meet your requirements.

Before you make contact, please have a look at these points as they are likely to come into that conversation: 

You have established that your organisation is the owner of the data (or you have the owner's written permission to publish their data). 

If you do contact the PSMA Helpdesk or OSMA Helpdesk, it may be that we will need more detail from you. If so, this is the sort of information we will need:

  • which of our datasets you have used to create the derived data
  • the extent of the coverage, the data content and what you have done to make your data different from ours
  • a representative sample of the derived dataset, in a recognised industry standard format
  • a detailed description of the purpose(s) that the derived data has been produced for (and any other expected uses)
  • how you are intending to make the data available, including your approach to licensing and charging arrangements.
Why are OS concerned about 'substantial' copying?

It is because we are in the information business and our income depends on the licensing of our intellectual property (IP).

If data which substantially copies our Licenced Data and is then made available on open terms, there is a risk that such release will negatively impact our commercial business, or that of our partners, see our Intellectual Property (IP) policy.

In considering the meaning of ‘substantially copies’, the following factors may be relevant:

i)  the total of the relevant Features and or Feature Attribution in the underlying Licensed Data, by reference to Great Britain as a whole or any of England, Wales or Scotland, and

ii)  whether the Derived Data is capable of forming part of a series of connected datasets, whether created by you or other PSMA or OSMA members.

To see some examples of what does and does not form 'substantial copying'.

Derived data exemptions

What does a derived data exemption mean?

A derived data exemption is where we have reviewed your request for a dataset you have created using our IPR beyond the terms of the Member Licence. Where an exemption is granted, it enables you to make your derived data available under Open Government Licence terms. 

It does not mean that any other third party IPR rights in your derived data have been superseded. You will still need the permission of those other owner(s).

Please note the Member Licence:

applies to:

  • all the products listed in Appendix 2 of the Member Licence
  • any data created by you (and or another member) that includes any elements of those products

does not apply to:

Is a derived data exemption necessary?


A derived data exemption is only needed where you want others to be able to download your licensed derived data so that they can use it locally. It also means that, by making your derived data available on Open Government Licence terms, recipients can use your derived data for any purpose they choose, including commercial exploitation. 

You don’t need an exemption from us if:

  • the activity is not going beyond one of the licensed activities allowed in the Member Licence 
  • you are just using OS OpenData products, or 
  • we don’t have an IPR interest in the data you are using. 

Before considering an exemption for your derived data, please look at these sections about the arrangements available for:

Why do I have to inform OS when I want to release OS derived data?

It is because we have a responsibility to manage the IP in our data on behalf of the Crown, see our Intellectual Property (IP) policy, in doing so it also:

  • enables us to monitor the number and type of openly released OS derived datasets, and
  • means that we will be aware of how successful the process is being adopted, which will also assist us in ensuring that the exemptions process is being used appropriately.
How does OS enable the open release of derived data (Presumption to Publish)

We have introduced a notification process, known as Presumption to Publish which, subject to the criteria below, enables you to apply online (via the members area) your request for your derived data exemption.

This process also supports the Government’s Transparency Agenda (including the Local Government Transparency Code (England) and the Local open data incentive scheme submissions (England))

This means that members may release more of their Licenced Derived Data on Open Government Licence (OGL) terms – should you choose to do so and you meet the qualifying criteria (see below).

Note: Before submitting a Presumption to Publish notification, you should establish that your organisation is the owner of the data (or you have the owner's written permission to publish their data).

What are the qualification criteria for Presumption to Publish?

To qualify under these arrangements:

a)  you must have already notified us using this form (via the members area), before releasing the derived data

and your derived data:

b)  must have been created by you as part of the delivery of your core business activity

c)  by being released, it does not constitute a Competing Activity or a Commercial Activity;

d)  whilst it may incorporate our IPR in the Licensed Data by copying Features  and / or Feature Attribution in part or whole, it must not consist of a substantial quantity of Features  and / or Feature Attribution from the Licensed Data used to create it (See the FAQ on how a ‘substantial quantity’ is determined)

e)  must be released independently of the source Licensed Data used to create it  and or any other Licensed Data (for example, the derived data must not be released with Licensed Data as a contextual backdrop) 

f)  includes your attribution for each point , line or polygon feature

g)  must be made available on one or more of these websites as appropriate under Open Government Licence (v3) terms, including the open data acknowledgement  


  • by 'available on' we mean that at least the metadata (which signposts where the data is available from) for your derived dataset is listed on the appropriate website(s). It does not mean that the dataset itself has to be on that site.
  • you can submit multiple derived datasets on the same notification form (just separate the dataset names with a semi-colon), but all of those derived datasets need to meet the qualifying criteria.
Making a full derived data exemption application

If your derived dataset  does not meet the Presumption to Publish criteria, you can still make an application to make your derived data available on open government licence terms.

We will work with you to ensure you are clear about what this entails. So that we can help you, we will ask you to provide the following information using this form:

  • which of our datasets you have used to create the derived data
  • the extent of the coverage, the data content and what you have done to make your data different from ours
  • a representative sample of the derived dataset, in a recognised industry standard format
  • a detailed description of the purpose(s) that the derived data has been produced for (and any other expected uses)
  • how you are intending to make the data available, including your approach to licensing and charging arrangements.

To remind you, many data sharing circumstances are already catered for under the Member licence, so please familiarise yourself with the 'Sharing data with others' section of this guidance.

Under what circumstances wouldn't our derived dataset meet your criteria?

If your derived dataset doesn’t meet our open data criteria, it may be because it:

  • 'substantially copies' our Licenced Data (to see some examples of what does and does not form substantial copying)
  • includes the use of x,y co-ordinates and or UPRN from our addressing products (which is only permitted with Public Sector Asset datasets, see below)
  • contains Royal Mail or another third party’s data, which we can’t give an exemption for.
  • doesn’t meet some of the other criteria, for example, releasing it constitutes a Competing Activity or a Commercial Activity   

In these circumstances, we will inform you in writing that you should not release the dataset, or if you have already made it available, to withdraw and stop that release.

You can still share your derived data with others, but it will have be as Licensed Data as one of the licensed activities allowed under the terms of your Member Licence.

If your Member Licence or Presumption to Publish does not cover your proposed use of the derived dataset, then you may still be able to release the data under our Partner commercial terms. We will work with you to ensure that you are clear about what this entails (see above).

How does OS support the open release of public sector asset datasets

In addition to the Presumption to Publish criteria, we have agreed that data which meets the criteria for being a public sector asset dataset can be published on the same terms and can be notified using the same PtP form. 

This means that, along with the use of the AddressBase UPRN, we also allow you to release the associated OS x,y co-ordinates – as they specifically relate to your public sector asset datasets.

For the avoidance of doubt, this includes allowing local government members in England to release their address data with associated co-ordinates and AddressBase UPRNs, for any of their public asset derived datasets that are created to meet the requirements of the Local Government Transparency Code (England). 

Please note: the above is also subject to you having received permission from Royal Mail in relation to the release of any data derived from PAF.

Can our ‘planning applications’ dataset become an exempted dataset?

Yes – provided that you do not include any geocoding (either x,y or lat/long) in your derived data, although you may include the appropriate AddressBase UPRNs (see here for more information) or Royal Mail PAF information.

Many members can, and already do, make planning application data available to view on their websites and they can also share this data with other third parties under End User Licence terms, following the publication guidelines under the terms of the PSMA. 

However, if you are wanting to include the geocoding (either x,y or lat/long) – then the answer is No. 

OS considers the risk still exists to the sustainability of our addressing product, despite this further analysis and is not something we are currently prepared to exempt. This is because the data contained in the planning dataset is premium address information and exempting that element of AddressBase Premium would significantly devalue that element of the product.

We came to this conclusion because, by granting them exemption status it is likely to mean that these dataset(s), either on their own or aggregated with others, they are potentially unfairly competing with or substituting addressing products supplied by OS and /or its Licensed Partners. 

For example, those scenarios where members want to release their derived data under OGL terms in such a way that either they or a recipient could generate financial gain through making the data available for commercial exploitation by third parties. 

We are working with a number of members and undertaking further analysis of the derived datasets they have provided to us. The purpose is to learn more about what sort of addressing product could be created from this type of data, whether individually or collectively.

The challenge is that, while not necessarily being a whole dataset, over time recipients would be able to build up the history; where the total impact is then greater. Furthermore, OS need to consider the actual value of the total of all the planning data across the country, which even if it were 1%, it is still a ‘substantial’ copy.

It should be noted, it is only the extra geocoding (either x,y or lat/long) element where we have concerns, albeit Royal Mail still need to be consulted about the use of PAF.


Exemptions process governance

What is the process for assessing a full derived data exemption request?

This is the process we use when assessing a ‘compliant’ application from a Licensee for a derived data exemption. 

Please note: by ‘compliant’ we mean that the application includes all the necessary information to enable us determine whether or not to approve the request. 

  • Where there is clear precedent, we will inform the Licensee in writing whether we have approved (either with or without conditions) or declined the request within 15 Working Days of receipt. If it is declined, that decision may be appealed by the applicant by writing to us (detailing the reasons) within 15 Working Days of receipt of the decision.
  • Where there is no clear precedent, or there is an appeal (see above), the request will be referred to our Pricing and Trading Group for a decision. Within 35 Working Days of receipt of the application, we will inform the applicant that we have either approved (either with or without conditions) the request, or declined the request.
  • If the application has been declined, the Licensee is entitled, within 20 Working Days of being informed to write to OS stating that they wish to appeal the decision, along with their reasoning. Within 5 Working Days of receipt of that notice, we will refer the Application to the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) for their consideration.
  • Within 20 Working Days of receiving a referral from OS or an appeal from the applicant, the IAG will make a written recommendation to OS’s Chief Executive and Director General as to whether the request should be approved (either with or without conditions) or declined, in each case containing details justifying such recommendation.
  • Within 20 Working Days of receiving a recommendation from IAG, OS’s Chief Executive and Director General shall, having given due consideration to such recommendation, decide in their absolute discretion whether to approve (either with or without conditions) or decline the request, and in each case inform the Licensee of the decision. 
    The Licensee acknowledges and agrees that the OS Chief Executive and Director General has sole discretion in relation to the decision, which shall not be subject to the Dispute Resolution Procedure(which is set out in the Member Licence).

Note: If, at any of the above stages, either OS or the IAG reasonably considers that it needs further information in relation to the initial request or an appeal, OS can request that (whether on its own behalf or on behalf of the IAG) in writing from the Licensee and the relevant timescale will be extended by the period of time that it takes to receive that information from the Licensee.

What assessment criteria is used by OS for an exemption application?

Where you are notifying us of a Presumption to Publish dataset, you will already have confirmed that it meets that criteria (see above).

If you are submitting, or have submitted, a full exemption application, then you will have provided answers to the questions we asked.

When we come to assess the derived dataset, these are the questions we ask ourselves about granting exemption status, in that would it:

  • have a negative impact on OS’s commercial business and ability to operate as a sustainable government company, or create a precedent that may have such an impact?
  • damage OS’s reputation or brand?
  • release a dataset that would compete with (or act as a substitute for) an existing or planned product or service offered either by OS or by one of our business partners?
  • infringe (or potentially infringe) the IP of a third party?
  • be for the public good, or in the public interest?
  • support the effective delivery of government or citizen services?
  • enable greater efficiency in Government – reducing costs or supporting cross-Government initiatives?
  • support government policy; for example the Transparency agenda and Public Data Principles?
  • fulfil statutory or legislative obligations?

The answers are documented and may be provided to the applicant as part of a formal response. 

Please note: If you have already made the derived dataset available and an exemption is refused, it may mean that you have to withdraw it.

Is there an 'appeals' process?

Yes, in the event that there is a disagreement between you and OS as to whether your dataset meets the requirements of either the 'presumption to publish' or the standard criteria, either party may notify the other in writing that it intends to refer the matter to the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) and the parties shall then discuss how to resolve the matter.

Where a resolution cannot be agreed within 20 Working Days of notification or, where the dataset has already been released and you refuse to cease release immediately, either you or OS may then refer the matter to the Independent Advisory Group for review and recommendation.


Additional guidance

Do we need to keep customer records for openly released derived data?

No - you don’t need to keep records on whom you have supplied data to when making your derived data available on Open Data terms.

You just need to have notified us about the derived data you are making available in that manner, so you may wish to keep the confirmation you received from us.

Where can we find details of other derived datasets that have been exempted?

As these exemptions processes only relate to our interests, there is no guarantee that the data has been made available by the member, especially if there are other third party IPR interests involved.

We would suggest that the best place to start is either, or Scottish Spatial Data Infrastructure Metadata Catalogue to see if they have made it available that way.

Otherwise, you need to look at the member's own website and or then contact them to find out.

There are some circumstances where it is not possible for the derived data to be released on Open Data terms, for more information see the 'Sharing data with others' section of this guidance.

I am updating a previously approved exemption, what should I do?

You may be thinking of using the Open Government Licence (v3) terms.

If so, you don’t need to re-apply if the derived dataset that you’re making available on Open Data terms has already been notified to us:

  • under one of the previous streamlined options (i.e. Public Rights of Way, School Catchment Areas, Conservation Areas, Areas for Development, Public Conveniences or 'Generic'), or 
  • we had previously approved your derived data exemption application on terms equivalent to OS OpenData terms, or 
  • if there has been no change

However, if you are refreshing the dataset with updated/changed content and or attribution, then you should check that your derived data still meets the criteria and you should notify us.


  • If you are using hyperlinks to our OS OpenData licence, this already links to the latest Open Government Licence.
  • As we update our policy, we review those applications that were originally turned down and may have already been in contact with you. Even if we haven't, you are still welcome to consider whether your dataset now fits the new arrangements and, if it does, make your notification to us.
Can we aggregate our derived datasets?

You can aggregate derived datasets for your use, but you need check what the licensing arrangements are before doing so.

This is because you should not assume that all the component datasets that you are interested in using have been (or can be) released on terms equivalent to Open Government Licence terms.

You also need to be mindful that the more of your derived data that becomes (or is capable of being) aggregated either by you or other recipients, the greater the potential of that aggregated dataset becoming a ‘substantial copy’ of our Licenced Data.

This may mean that we will have revisit the assessment criteria used and may mean that subsequent applications may be refused.