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Crown copyright covers material created by civil servants, ministers and government departments and agencies.

It is legally 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.

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.

Our role in managing Crown copyright

The Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) at The National Archives manages Crown copyright and Crown database rights on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen in the following ways:

  • We license a wide range of Crown copyright and Crown database right information through the Open Government Licence and the UK Government Licensing Framework
  • We grant delegations of authority to government departments and agencies to enable them to license the information that they create or hold
  • We regulate any government departments and agencies which have authority from us to license the information they create, through our Information Fair Trader Scheme (IFTS)

Further information

See copyright guidance for current guidance on copyright.

Related documents

How we deal with alleged breach of copyright (PDF, 0.04Mb)

Assignments of Crown-owned copyrights  (PDF, 0.07Mb)

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