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Intending to publish documents held at the Archives?

This page is designed for people who need to know what permissions to obtain to publish items held here.


Items held at Gloucestershire Archives may be subject to copyright, or their owners may have placed restrictions on their reproduction, particularly for publication purposes.


If you intend to publish all or part of a document held here, please contact us giving the reference number(s) of the item(s) that you wish to publish. You should also tell us the subject matter of the publication and how  you intend to use the content, e.g. on a website, or in an article, periodical, book, or a television broadcast.


We will use this information to check that the current owner(s) of the document(s) are willing for you to use the image(s). This can take some time, so you should contact us as soon as you know which image(s) you would like to use. You should be aware that an owner may refuse a request, or may attach conditions to the publication of an image.





For any images published from originals held here, we ask you to include a general acknowledgement to Gloucestershire Archives and our full reference number for each item used.


Payment of a Publication fee

Fees for permission to publish

  • Publication: Intellectual Property[1]

    Permission to publish an image (Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire publications): £10

    Permission to publish image (national/international publications): £50  


    Broadcast rights[2]

    Broadcast rights - worldwide buyout, all media, unlimited broadcast, per image: £200

    Facility fee per day: £250

    [1] Charges agreed by Heads of Repositories in the South West region

    [2] Fees adopted by The National Archives [TNA], January 2020



This page indicates what you should be looking for if you need to check copyright on particular types of documents

In most cases the owner of the document(s) will not be the owner of copyright.  We will advise you if this applies to your request, as you will then need to identify and contact the copyright owner. It is important to get this right, as a proved breach of copyright will result in legal action against you.

To identify the copyright owners you should visit us to check our documents yourself.

Here is some general copyright advice:


These are in copyright until the end of 70 calendar years following the death of the photographer, if known. Copyright will remain with the legally appointed heirs of the photographer unless the right is ceded to a 3rd party. If the photographer's identity is not known, copyright will expire at the end of 70 calendar years following the date that the photograph was taken. For example, copyright in a photograph taken on 7 July 1941 will expire on 1 January 2012 if the photographer is not identified, or later at the end of 70 calendar years following his/her death if their identity is known. There are also instances where a photograph can be deemed to have been commissioned by an institution or company. An example would be images of wagons appearing in the photograph albums of the Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Company. In this case, the Company as the commissioning body would be deemed to be the owners of intellectual property rights in the images, rather than the photographer who actually took the shots. In this instance images will remain in copyright for 70 years after the demise of the Company, and would be owned by the successor firm, unless this right has been ceded to the Archives.


Pre-WW2 Ordnance Survey maps are out of copyright.  For more recent editions a licence from the Ordnance SurveyOpens new window is required to publish commercially or non-commercially.  Copyright in original tithe maps & apportionments will have expired, but rights in the modern to scale hand-drawings by Geoff Gwatkin remain in copyright to him, and his contact details appear on the maps. Inclosure maps are out of copyright but adjudication for inclosure awards is made by the Director of the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI), who is based at the National Archives at Kew. Other maps are in copyright for 70 years after the death of the surveyor if known, or for 70 years after the production of the map if the surveyor is not known.

Manuscript documents

Unpublished documents created before 1969 are in copyright until 31 December 2039. Unpublished documents created after 1 January 1969 are in copyright for 70 calendar years after the work was produced. The copyright owner will generally be the descendent of the document's "author", unless this right has been ceded to another individual. Published documents are in copyright for 70 calendar years after the date of publication, and copyright will be owned by the author of the publication.

Books & printed material

If the author is known, copyright expires at the end of 70 years following their death; if the work is published anonymously, it expires 70 calendar years following the date of publication.

Audio visual material

Copyright in an un-broadcast film expires 70 calendar years after the death of the creator if the identity of this person(s) is known; otherwise it is 70 calendar years after the film was first created. If a film is broadcast, copyright is owned by the broadcaster and will expire at the end of 50 calendar years following the original broadcast. Copyright in un-broadcast sound recordings lasts for 50 calendar years unless created between 1 June 1957 and 31 July 1989. Un-broadcast sound recordings created between 1 June 1957 and 31 July 1989 are in copyright until 31 December 2039. In both cases the owner of copyright is the compiler of the recording. Broadcast sound recordings remain in copyright for 50 calendar years following the date of original broadcast, and copyright is owned by the broadcaster.

Further information

If these notes have not answered your specific copyright questions, you should consult Copyright for Archivists and Record Managers by Tim Padfield (4th edition, London, 2010, ISBN 978-1-85604-705-0). A copy should be available through any library.



If you have questions about if or how copyright applies to items you'd like to publish, these FAQs may answer them

Please note: 'Protected item' here means an item protected under copyright law from being copied by others

1. How can I find out if an item held by you is still in copyright?

Under current law, most of the unpublished archives in our collections are still protected by copyright until the end of 2039 - even though they may be hundreds of years old.  See the information already set out, and please contact us if you need further advice.  

2. Can I make a copy of a protected item for my own use?

Yes, provided you make only a single copy for your personal use.  You may not make further copies or send the copy to someone else.  You should acknowledge the copyright owner where known.  This is called "fair dealing".

3. Can I make a copy of a protected item to send to someone else or to publish?

This is defined by law as "commercial use‟.  You can only do this if you have sought the permission of the copyright-holder.  It is your responsibility to seek this.

4. I have my own camera.  Can I use it to make copies when I visit you?

You must discuss what you want to copy with our staff first.  You will need to buy a permit and agree to take responsibility for seeking any copyright permissions.

Please note that although you may be permitted to use your camera when you visit us, you will not hold the copyright in the digital material you have created.  However, you have the "moral right‟ to be credited as the creator of the copy image.  (Moral rights are defined by law as Intellectual Property Rights.  For more details see Copyright for Archivist and users of archives by Tim Padfield (The National Archives, 2004). 

5. Can I make more copies from a digital image supplied by you?

Only by prior agreement with us.  If you have been supplied with a single copy of an item, including for example a digital image file, you may only make further copies (including distributing copies) as long as you credit Gloucestershire Archives, you do not adapt or change the image, and you only use the image for your personal use (non-commercial).

6. If it's found that I'm not able to reproduce text verbatim, is there another way in which I can make its content available?

Yes, you could rewrite the content of the text in your own words, and can still refer to the original in notes without quoting directly from it.

7. What happens if I want to deposit or donate my own digital archives to be preserved by you?

Please contact us to discuss this.  To preserve digital archives for the future, we need to be able to copy and transform digital files and so we need you to grant us permission to make such copies.  We will not be able to accept digital material for preservation without this agreement.





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