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Public libraries

Copying of maps held in public libraries and 'fair dealing'

We recognise that certain public administration and fair dealing uses are allowed under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, and do not need our licence.

For Ordnance Survey maps which are less than 50 years old copying is likely to be an infringement of Crown Copyright unless such copying falls within the exceptions in the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 ('the Act'). The Act sets out in detail what can and cannot be done with any material protected by copyright.

The Act permits very limited copying for the purposes of:

  • Private study;
  • Non-commercial research, criticism, review and news reporting,

provided that any copy is accompanied by the following acknowledgement (unless such acknowledgement is impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise):

©Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey®; or

  • Parliamentary or judicial proceedings.

To assist library and archive users and staff Ordnance Survey and the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) have produced guidance for the copying of Ordnance Survey maps. This guidance relates to photocopying, scanning and tracing of paper maps and the printing of electronic map data.

Libraries are encouraged to display a poster (available below for download in English or Welsh) containing guidance notes close to copying equipment and in other prominent locations within their premises.

Downloadable posters

English | Cymraeg

Guidelines for library and archive staff

The guidance produced by Ordnance Survey and LACA applies to libraries and archives defined by the Copyright (Librarians and Archivists) (Copying of Material) Regulations 1989 (SI 1989/1212).

These arrangements are also supported by Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).

This guidance in no way affects the rights of Ordnance Survey under the Act. To avoid any difficulties, or for any other private, commercial, professional or business use, please phone our Customer HelpLine on 03456 05 05 05. We also offer a dedicated Welsh helpline on 03456 05 05 04.

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© Ordnance Survey 2018