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

Andy Robinson (blackadder) blackadderajr at googlemail.com
Mon Apr 7 17:22:11 BST 2008

Richard Fairhurst wrote:
>Sent: 07 April 2008 5:09 PM
>To: Licensing and other legal discussions.
>Subject: Re: [OSM-legal-talk] Crown copyright, OS and year of publication
>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.

It's interesting looking at the situation with some of the OS 1:25,000
mapping. The vast majority of the maps I have do not state a copyright date,
however I have some examples where an actual copyright date is present. To
give an example:
Sheet NY43 print edition B//* was compiled from 6" sheets last revised
1892-1923. Other partial systematic revision 1938-51 has been incorporated
and a "Crown copyright 1952" added. However additionally there is a note for
this print edition that states "Major roads revised 1972". This edition of
the map appears in the OS catalogue from 1973. Clearly therefore there is
precedent within the OS itself for not changing the copyright year when
making major road additions or adding an airfield etc. However the process
is not consistent. Mostly I note the "Crown copyright <date>" only on maps
from around the 1970's.

As Richard says, if there is no actual copyright date I assume the relevant
date is the date of the last revision.

Of course, we could ask the OS for clarification. Perhaps that's something
that they would be obliged to do under Freedom of Information information?



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