Legacy licensing

Licensing income allocation

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). Some government organisations have delegations of authority from the Keeper of Public Records to license the re-use of Crown copyright or database right material that they produce. Any income generated by this licensing activity is collected and retained by these organisations.

The National Archives is responsible for the arrangements for the collection and allocation of any legacy income that has been generated by the licensing of Crown copyright material originated by departments and agencies, prior to the introduction of the OGL and that do not have delegated authority.

Most legacy licensing income that we collect will be allocated to the department or agency that originated the material. These payments are made twice a year in October and May. We send departments the payments together with a summary statement showing the licences that are covered, the material used and the sums generated by each licence. Where the total payment due to a department in any accounting period is less than £50 it is carried forward to the next accounting period. All sums, regardless of value, are paid at the year end for Resource Accounting purposes.

Exceptions to these arrangements:

  • Where there is insufficient analysis on statements that we receive from licence holders to identify the originating department. This most commonly arises in the context of central licensing schemes negotiated through collecting agencies such as the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA).
  • Where extra analysis is required to identify the originating department, and the total payment due is less than £50.
  • Where the department that originated the material no longer exists and there is no obvious successor department.

Where these circumstances arise, we retain the licensing income. Any income received, which is not related to Crown copyright re-use, is returned.