7 Open Government Licence

The Open Government Licence (OGL) is a licensing model which facilitates the use and re-use of a broad range of public sector information.  The Open Government Licence is a simple licensing mechanism, which:

  • can be adopted across the UK public sector;
  • is the default licence for a wide range of information owned by the Crown as specified in the Controller's offer section below; 
  • covers copyright and database right;
  • covers any information than an Information Provider and/or rights owner offers for re-use under its terms and conditions;
  • is intended to be interoperable, with widely-used models such as Creative Commons and Open Data Commons;
  • supports the inclusion of machine-readable description and semantic web properties;
  • does not require registration or charge; and 
  • has as few restrictions as necessary.

Under the OGL information may be used and re-used for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.  Licensees are required to include an attribution statement, usually specified by the Information Provider, in any use of the information.

Where a public sector body wishes to license its information under Open Government Licence it should insert a visible statement asserting this and, where possible, provide the Open Government Licence URI (Uniform Resource Indicator) or URL (Uniform Resource Locator) in the information.

Further guidance on how the Open Goverment Licence works can be found on our website.

The National Archives has also developed, with help from the Government Digital Service, the OGL symbol. The OGL symbol shows users, at a glance, when information can be used and re-used under the terms of the OGL. Public sector bodies are therefore encouraged to use the OGL symbol on their websites and in publications wherever possible. Further guidance on the use of the OGL symbol can be found on our website.

8 Licensing arrangements for Crown information - the Controller's offer

The Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office (the Controller) manages Crown copyright and Crown database right on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. Further information about the meaning of Crown copyright and Crown database right can be found in Section 3.

8.1 The Controller's offer

Subject to the exclusions set out under point 8.2 below and in the Open Government Licence itself, the Controller offers information which is subject to Crown copyright and Crown database right, or to copyright or database right which has been assigned to or acquired by the Crown (Crown information), for use under the terms of the Open Government Licence. This information includes:

  • information owned by the Crown previously made available under the Click-Use Licence (the PSI Licence and the Value Added Licence); and
  • source code and software originated by the Crown under Framework 1 of the NESTA agreements (see glossary and references) or similar agreements.

8.2 Crown information not covered by the Controller's offer

The following information is not covered by the Controller's offer:

  • personal data;
  • information that has not been published or disclosed under information access legislation (including the Freedom of Information Acts) by or with the consent of the Information Provider;
  • information that is licensed by Crown bodies under a delegation of authority from the Controller, unless otherwise specified;
  • departmental logos, crests, military insignia and the Royal Arms except where they form an integral part of a document or dataset;
  • departmental graphics and campaign images developed to support specific campaigns and policy initiatives, unless otherwise indicated;
  • third party rights that the information provider is not authorised to license;
  • other intellectual property rights, including patents, trade marks and design rights;
  • identity documents, such as the British Passport because there is potential for these documents to be used fraudulently; and
  • source code and software that has been develope from or combined with a source that is subject to an open source licence (see Section 11) or commissioned under Frameworks two to six of the NESTA agreements (see glossary and references) or similar agreements.