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Copyright and publishing

Getting copies of documents and publications

What we allow

You can make or buy copies under the terms of fair dealing.  Normally, you can have one or more copies of a document or publication for non-commercial research and private study.

We restrict the bulk copying of documents that are available on any commercial partner's pay-per-view websites if your intention is to publish them in any way.

Read our copying policy.

Observing copyright

For each copy, we need you to acknowledge, in writing, your responsibility to comply with copyright.  Please use the 'Copyright and Creating Copies' form for this purpose.  There is a PDF version attached to this page, which you can print and partially complete before you visit.  Or you can pick up a hard copy from the document collection desk in the public research room.

Making your own copies

If you are unable to visit us you can use an independent researcher.(PDF, 215.3 KB)You will still need to complete a 'Copyright and Creating Copies (PDF, 89.2 KB) ' form. Please send the completed form to the researcher before they start the work.

Downloading or printing a copy from Ancestry

We are working with Ancestry to provide online access to some of our key resources. You can get digital copies of these resources from the Ancestry website, which you can access free at Gloucestershire Archives, Gloucestershire Family History Society or any Gloucestershire Library. You can find out what's currently available on Ancestry.

Making copies with your own equipment Making copies with the Archives' equipment

Providing you observe the limitations already set out, you can generally use your own camera equipment, including mobile phones, iPads and tablets, to make digital images. For collections care reasons, we do not allow flash photography and check the suitability of hand held scanners.

You will need a camera pass to make your own digital copies. There are three types to choose from:

  • Day £7.50 Unlimited shots, valid on day of purchase
  • 3 Day £15.00 Unlimited shots, valid on any three days for 12 months from issue date
  • Annual £150.00 Unlimited shots, valid for 12 months from issue date

All passes are valid for a named individual and you should buy your preferred type at reception before making any copies. If you are working on a group project you may be eligible for one of our shared annual passes, which are valid for up to 6 people; please apply to the Customer Services Manager at

The Day, 3 Day and Annual passes are also valid in Gloucestershire Libraries.

We have a portable camera stand that you can pre-book via the email address above.

Generally speaking, you can use the equipment in our public research room to print images up to A3 in size.

Options available

  • Coloured copies from the printer linked to the PC with access to digital images of inclosure awards and maps @ £1.00 per copy
  • Coloured copies from the printer linked to the People's Network PCs @ £0.25 per copy.

Intending to publish documents held at the Archives?

This section 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.

Click here for current charges for publication fees


Copyright advice

This section 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.

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.

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.

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 (6th edition, London, 2019, ISBN 9781783304486). A copy should be available through any library.


Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright

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.

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.  

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".

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.

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 Archivists and users of archives by Tim Padfield (The National Archives, 2019). 

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).

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.

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.


Ordering a Baptism Record

We can provide certified copies from baptism registers.

If you are unable to visit yourself, you can ask request copies of documents through our online catalogue.

Gloucestershire Archives holds baptism registers for churches in the Diocese of Gloucester. We can issue certified copies of baptism certificates from the registers that we hold.

To see if we hold the register which covers the baptism you need, please check our parish register guide, which is available here.

Baptism certificates cost £28 (plus £1 postage). This is a nationally set price.

You can order a baptism certificate online

If you do not know where or when the baptism took place, you will need to visit the archives to look through the registers. Information about visiting the archives can be found here. If you are unable to visit, please contact us for further information.


Ordering copies of vehicle licensing records

Gloucestershire Archives holds some vehicle licensing records. We can provide certified copies from the records that we hold.

Vehicles licensed by Gloucestershire County Council (K264) Vehicles licensed by Gloucester City Council (GBR L15)

Gloucestershire Archives holds the records for individual vehicles, including motorcycles and tractors, licensed in Gloucestershire between 1903-1975. 

We can provide certified copies of these which the DVLA require for re-registering an old vehicle.  Please note that we need the vehicle's registration number if you contact us for a bespoke quotation.

Please note that the amount of information recorded about an individual vehicle can vary.

Few records relating to vehicles licensed by Gloucester City Council have survived.  These are:

  • registers of early licences issued between 1903 and 1920
  • some sample vehicle registration files mainly covering the years, 1954-74
  • a few registration books for the years 1936-52
  • some licence renewal documents covering the years, 1919 until the early 1960s (microfilm).

You can employ an independent researcher (PDF, 350.9 KB) to search these for details of your vehicle and make copies of any information found.  Please note that licence renewal documents survive only if the renewal took place between the date of the vehicle's first registration and the compilation of the films.

We can certify your copies of registrations.

We charge:

  • £20 (includes verifying your copies, certification and postage)


Still have questions?

Get in touch to enquire about the archives collections or services we offer.


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