Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, ‘Crown’ copyright exists for a period of 50 years from the end of the year in which the work was first published. This means that any Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping which was created prior to 1 April 2015 will be protected by Crown copyright for a period of 50 years from its first publication. Accordingly, if an Ordnance Survey map was first published over 50 years ago it can be copied or otherwise used without a licence from OS.
Following the transition to a Government owned company, the position now differs because mapping and other materials are no longer being created by ‘employees of the Crown’. Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the copyright arising in the updates to our mapping, or in new mapping data, software, or other materials, after 1 April 2015, will last for a period of 70 years following the death of all the persons involved in creating it. It is only after expiry of this period, that the mapping can be copied or otherwise used without a licence from OS.
An A4-sized extract from an OS map which is still in copyright may be copied within 'fair dealing' under the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act.
De Montfort University also has access to Ordnance Survey maps through Digimap. Digimap is an EDINA service that delivers Ordnance Survey Map Data and is available either to download to use or as maps generated by Digimap Online. Authorised users (for example DMU staff and students) must register with EDINA in the first instance and are for those who are located in the UK. Authorised users do not qualify for access to Digimap for stays abroad of one term or longer. Staff and students who are registered at an overseas campus do not qualify as Authorised Users whilst they are overseas (studying or otherwise), but they will qualify during any period spent studying in the UK at De Montfort University. Authorised users may incorporate licensed data into academic works, presentation materials, research works and teaching materials for educational use.