[OSM-legal-talk] Crown copyright, OS and year of publication

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemeD.net
Mon Apr 7 17:08:30 BST 2008

Tim Sheerman-Chase wrote:

> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/index.php/Out_of_copyright
> Is that interpretation about the FIRST year of publication definitely
> correct? Or should it be the year of last update? Has this been
> discussed before?

The "FIRST" is pretty meaningless. The 1954 revision of a map was  
first published in 1954. The 1959 revision of a map was first  
published in 1959... and so on. All that means is that a simple  
reprint doesn't create a new copyright.

Where the wiki page says:

"Consider this actual example for OS 2.5" inch map NZ25 (edition code  
B/): "Made and published by the Director General of the Ordnance  
Survey, Chessington, 1954. Reprinted with corrections 1959". The date  
of first publication is by definition the stated date of publication  
and for this mapsheet is 1954 (not 1959, which indicates it is only a  
reprint made in 1959). Thus, for this mapsheet Crown Copyright will  
have expired at 24.00UTC December 31st 2004, even though it shows  
information correct as of 1959."

...then I believe it's wrong. It's not "only a reprint" made in 1959,  
it's a "reprint with corrections", and if those corrections are  
substantial enough to be copyrightable, then a new copyright applies  
from 1959.

The section in question was written by a contributor signing  
themselves "Geo" and with no other changes to the OSM wiki to their  

I'll update it.

FWIW, I've always erred very much on the side of caution for the NPE  
scans, using 50 years after the last possible date as the cut-off.


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