[OSM-talk] Oxford UK 1:2500 O/S maps from 1958: copyright status of in-house copies?

Andrew Chadwick (mailing lists) andrewc-email-lists at piffle.org
Sat Feb 14 15:14:35 GMT 2009

I'm uploading (to http://wrp.geothings.net/ ) a bunch of large-scale 
maps found in a drawer by University Estates Directorate staff who very 
kindly let me use their scanner to make digital copies after checking 
their copyright status to a first approximation. I'll probably need some 
helpers for the tedious business of rectifying later on, will update on 
talk-gb for that.

More general question though: what's the legal status of an in-house 
copy, or copies printed from microfilm or photocopied in-house? All such 
copies were presumably made under license of course; no evidence to the 

The maps I dug out fell into three categories:

   1. O/S printed originals, on good, slightly yellowing paper stock with
      publication dates and everything. These are the ones I felt happy
      about making copies of, provided the original publication dates
      were <= 1958, and these are what I'm currently uploading. So that's

       paper(1958) -> scanned(2009)[when o.o.c.] -> osm

      which is clean.

I'll not be uploading copies (just yet / possibly ever?) of:

   2. Paper copies done from microfilm, presumably, with evident optical
      blurring and other artefacts you might expect to see from a
      photostatic process. Original pub dates <= 1958 on the sheets,
      but when was the microfilm made and by who? And does that matter?
      Less weighty paper than 1., but whiter. So assume that's

       paper(1958) -> microfilmed(?) -> printed(?) [ -> photocopies? ]

   3. Same as 2, but messed up with purple grot very much like the stuff
      used in old Banda machines. Could just have been stored with
      the sheets used for a process like that, I suppose. All pre-1959.
      So that's

        paper(1958) -> [god alone knows] -> [what can we do with it?]

So my question is: does in-house (no doubt _licensed_) copying at an 
unknown time affect copyright status as far as OSM is concerned, and 
does running off paper copies from microfilm at an unknown time, from 
film (re)published at an unknown time (but with apparently acceptably 
dates for the original) affect whether we can make copies for tracing 
into OSM? I don't think any of the in-house copies were made within the 
Crown Copyright period of 50 years post-publication: everything looked 
more than a few years old.

(It would be nice to have UK copyright law chapter and verse on this, 
but all I've read recently on that is this:

   http://jergames.blogspot.com/2009/02/uk-copyright-law-in-verse.html )

Andrew Chadwick

More information about the talk mailing list