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Publication and Copyright

UK copyright law is very complicated and deals with two sets of rights: the rights of the owner and those of the creator. These are often not held by the same individual or entity.

In addition, many very old records are still in copyright if they are unpublished and the creator of the item is not known.

Depositors sometimes impose copying and publication restrictions on their documents.

At the same time, we want the documents to be used and enjoyed by researchers who often wish to reproduce and share them.

Publication includes hardcopy works as well as sharing online (including on social media) so can cover a very wide range of activities which are not necessarily for any commercial purpose.

If you would like to publish any documents in our care please contact us giving details of the items you wish to reproduce and the format and likely circulation of the publication.

Because of the complexity of the law we cannot give blanket permission to publish so please be specific about the items, giving our reference numbers where you can.

Sometimes checking the copyright situation can take a while so please give us as much notice as possible.

We are always happy to advise you on copyright and will aim to ensure that the rights of owners are balanced against the needs of users. Some uses of records fall under ‘fair dealing’ rules and permission is not required. We will be happy to tell you if that is the case. Similarly, not every item is still in copyright and we will be able to advise you of this.

Please contact us if you need help with copyright.