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Guidance - Reproduction of Government Press Notices for England, Northern Ireland and Wales

Number: 9
Date: 22 December 1999
(Revised 9 May 2005)

This guidance describes how waiver of copyright applies to the reproduction of official press notices and releases.


1. In the White Paper, The Future Management of Crown Copyright, it was announced that copyright would be waived for certain types of material which are Crown copyright protected.

2. The purpose of this guidance is to describe how the waiver will be applied in relation to government press notices. It excludes, however, those press notices which are issued by the Scottish Administration which will be subject to a separate guidance note to be issued by the Queen’s Printer of Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Executive.

3. Her Majesty the Queen is the first owner of Crown copyright as defined at section 163 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. The Queen has appointed the Controller of HMSO to the office of Queen’s Printer of Acts of Parliament to hold and exercise Crown copyright and other copyrights owned by Her Majesty as fully as if such copyrights were the Controller’s own.

4. Government press notices qualify for Crown copyright protection by virtue of the fact that they are copyright works made by an officer or servant of the Crown in the course of his duties in accordance with section 163 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

5. This Guidance Note supersedes earlier guidance relating to press notices as set out in HMSO’s guidance for Publishers and Librarians.

Which material is covered?

6. The policy set out in this Guidance Note applies to official press notices and releases issued by government departments and agencies. This includes the complete text of government press notices, except in those cases where there is a statement contained in the press notice to the effect that the copyright in specific material is not held by the Crown. It also covers the copyright which subsists in the typographical arrangement of government press notices. For ease of reference, the term Material as used in this Guidance Note should be taken to mean Crown copyright protected text and typographical arrangement as featured in press notices issued by government.

7. It should be noted that this guidance does not cover the reproduction of press notices which are issued by public or private sector organisations which do not have Crown status

What is meant by waiver?

8. Waiver means that although copyright is asserted, the Government wishes to encourage the widespread use of the Material. Users are permitted to copy or publish the Material in any medium without having to seek formal permission or to pay a fee. We do, however, ask that users ensure that:

What is permitted under the waiver conditions?

9. There are no restrictions on how the Material may be reproduced. By way of illustration, users may undertake any of the following activities in relation to the Material:

(a) reproducing and publishing it in any medium. This includes publication as part of a commercial information product.

(b) making multiple copies for distribution and sale;

(c) making multiple free photocopies for free issue;

(d) reproducing the Material for the purposes of news reporting in any medium;

(e) publishing on the Internet;

(f) downloading the Material from official government web sites to screen and printer except where otherwise stated;

g) reproducing the Material on Intranet sites;

h) making single or multiple copies, by photocopying or any other means, for the purposes of private research and private study;

i) the making of single or multiple copies by libraries (by photocopying or any other means) for the supply of copies to readers, subject to the overriding need for prescribed libraries to recoup their costs as set out in S.I. 1989 No. 1212;1

j) copying by libraries for the purposes of supplementing or replenishing their stocks;

k) making copies for circulation throughout an organisation whether in the public or private sector;

l) reproduction within the context of seminar or training packs;

m) reproduction within student theses and dissertations;

n) translation into other languages.

The above list is by no means exhaustive, but it seeks to illustrate the majority of potential uses of the Material


10. Where the reproduced version of the Material is being published, circulated or issued to others - including Internet and Intranet use - a variation of the following acknowledgment should be featured in a prominent position:

Crown copyright material reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland

Third party copyrights

11. Users should be careful when reproducing Material contained in commercial products or which is featured on non-Crown web sites, that inadvertently they do not infringe third party copyrights. If in doubt, contact HMSO.

Other Issues

12. This Guidance Note does not affect existing arrangements between government and users involving the regular supply of government press releases which may involve the payment of a subscription or fee.

Carol Tullo
Controller HMSO
Queen’s Printer


1. The Copyright (Librarian and Archivists) (Copyright Material) Regulations 1989