[OSM-talk-ie] (Out of) copyright maps in Ireland

Matthew Sammon matthew at sammon.info
Thu Sep 3 15:58:39 BST 2009

Hi Karl,

I worked on the irishhistoricmaps.ie project for a few months.

There are two issues here, I think (I'm not a lawyer):
1. The paper originals should indeed be out of copyright as government
publications (though the government in question might be the UK
government in most cases, given the age of the maps); however, the
process of scanning, georectifying etc. makes the _digital_ versions
new "publications", with a publication date in the mid 2000s.
2. Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) was established in 2001 as State
Body, taking over all the assets and liabilities of the old Ordnance
Survey.  Given this, I doubt that OSI is subject to the shorter
Government copyright expiry period, so the digital versions of the
maps will be out of copyright after the normal copyright expiry
I think I'm correct in saying that modern maps have "Copyright
Ordnance Survey Ireland" printed on them, while prior to 2001, they
had "Copyright Government of Ireland".

Short answer: if you can get hold of paper Ordnance Survey maps from
before 1959 and are prepared to scan them in, then you should be fine;
just don't copy others' digital maps and assume you'll be OK.

Pasthomes.com is a rival to irishhistoricmaps.ie that might also be of interest.


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