Copyright can also come into Crown ownership by means of assignment or transfer of the copyright from the legal owner of the copyright to the Crown. Copyright in a work which has been assigned to the Crown lasts 70 years after the death of the person who created it.
Our role in managing Crown copyright
The Keeper, who is also the chief executive officer of The National Archives, manages Crown copyright and Crown database rights on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen under Letters Patent
The Keeper is also Controller of HMSO, Queen’s Printer and Queen’s Printer for Scotland.
Copyright ownership can be transferred by written assignment. In certain exceptional circumstances Crown copyright may be assigned away from the Crown.
The National Archives has central responsibility for the management of the Crown’s copyright and database rights. Most licensing is under the non-transactional Open Government Licence (OGL).
Delegations of Authority are granted by the Keeper to enable government departments or agencies to licence the re-use of Crown copyright material they produce outside the terms of the Open Government Licence.
The National Archives maintains a list of public bodies which have Crown status. Material produced by these bodies is subject to Crown copyright.
Sign me up to The National Archives' mailing list
Subscribe now for regular news, updates and priority booking for events.Sign up
The National Archives
Find out more
Jobs and careers
Friends of The National Archives
Podcasts and videos
UK Government Web Archive
Website A-Z index
Freedom of Information