You must observe the copyright restrictions of any maps and map data that you use. Read a summary of these restrictions. Generally, copyright resides with the creator of a work and lasts for 70 years after the creator’s death. For maps, however, the rule is 70 years after the first publication. Crown Copyright, in the case of maps, applies for only 50 years. The copyright situation for older maps is more complex.
You should note the following points of guidance about how copyright applies to maps and map data.
Material out of copyright
Even if an old map or book is out of copyright, any image or copy that is made of it (e.g. a reprint, photograph, digital scan, or tracing) is generally considered to be a new item of intellectual property, with a new and separate copyright. The new copyright, however, does not ‘extend’ in any way the expired copyright of the original material.
In general, anyone who images or reproduces out-of-copyright material then owns the copyright to their reproduction and can – in principle – use it in any way. Because of the potential for damage to the materials, tracing is not always allowed in the Bodleian Libraries.
However, tracing and photography of maps are both generally permitted, by arrangement (see below). If you are given permission to take photographs of Bodleian Libraries material, you must formally assign copyright of your images to the Bodleian Libraries.
Material in copyright
Reproducing (reprinting, photographing, scanning, tracing) material that is still in copyright does not create a new piece of intellectual property. The original information continues to be represented or expressed in the same (copyright) way.
However, by performing an act of interpretation, it is possible to create new intellectual property from copyright works: for example, a line drawing made from a copyright photograph.
Manuscript (as opposed to printed) maps are subject to manuscript copyright.
Copyright applies to digital map data in the same way as it does to paper maps and books.
However, many maps and map datasets are available in the public domain and may be used freely, e.g. most US government maps and data. There is often a requirement that a citation be included in the final image.
Readers are required to observe the specified terms and conditions of any map datasets they use. They should bear in mind that access to view material and data does not necessarily imply a right to reproduce it. In any case, any relevant citations should always be included in final map images.