Re-use of Council Copyright Material

Guidance on the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005


The above Regulations are effective from 1 July 2005 and implement a European Directive (2003/98/EC) on the re-use of public sector information. The Directive aims to harmonise national rules and practices and enable growth of the information industry across Europe.

As the title suggests the focus of the Directive and Regulations is on re-use of information rather than on access. The County Council is bound by its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 [link to FOI Pages] in dealing with requests for access to information. The supply of information under the Freedom of Information Act does not automatically give the recipient of the information the right to re-use it. The information will usually be disclosed with a warning that separate permission needs to be obtained from the copyright owner before its use in a way that would infringe copyright, for example, by making multiple copies, publishing and issuing copies to the public. Existing UK legislation on copyright remains unchanged by the Regulations. [link to Copyright Pages]

Relationship with Data Protection

It should be noted that the Regulations in no way affect the level of protection of individuals regarding the processing of their personal data under the provisions and principles of the data protection legislation.

Scope of the Regulations

The following documents are excluded from the Regulations:

  1. Documents that are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information legislation
  2. Documents in which the copyright and/or other intellectual property rights are owned or controlled by a third party other than the County Council
  3. Documents that fall outside the scope of the public task of the County Council,  i.e. documents produced that are not directly related to the core responsibilities of the County Council, such as documents with a value-added or commercial nature
  4. Documents held by educational and research establishments such as schools, universities, archives, libraries and research facilities
  5. Documents held by cultural establishments including museums, libraries, archives, orchestras, theatre and performing arts establishments
  6. Documents held by public service broadcasters (radio and TV stations) for the fulfilment of a public service broadcasting remit

Definition of ‘Re-use’

‘Re-use’ means the use by a person (or company) of a document held by the County Council for a purpose other than the initial purpose for which the document was produced. The transfer of documents from one public sector body to another in pursuit of their public tasks does not constitute re use.

Asset Lists

An asset is any information that the County Council produces that is of interest or value to the organisation itself and potentially to others. An asset list is a register of these information assets categorised using a standard classification method.

The first step to re-using public sector information is to know what significant documents are available for re-use. All significant documents registered within the County Council’s Publication Scheme (with the exception of those documents where charges apply) are available for re-use.

Conditions for Re-use

The Regulations allow the County Council up to 20 working days (as for freedom of information legislation) following date of receipt of the request for re-use to respond to the request. This timeframe may be extended by such time as is reasonable in the circumstances for extensive or complex requests. In such cases the County Council will notify the applicant within the 20 working days of an estimated date by which it expects to respond to the request for re-use.

You will see the following notice in publications and on the website which explains that a licence is not required for non-commercial research and private study, but you will need a licence from us for any other form of re-use (for example, posting material on a website, or distributing printed copies at a meeting.

In cases where a licence for re-use is required the County Council intends to use the standard Click Use Licence which has been developed by the Office for Public Sector Information (OPSI) and adapted by the County Council. The Click Use Licence is available free of charge for reproduction of documents for non profit making purposes.

The Click Use Licence enables you to reproduce the material by publishing it in any medium including featuring it on websites that can be accessed via the world-wide web or via an internal electronic network or on an intranet; authorising users and subscribers who use your electronic or digital products to access the Material by means of an End User Licence. This will normally allow users and subscribers to download the Material to screen and printer for their own use. It does not otherwise allow you to authorise the reproduction of the information.

The Click Use Licence enables the Material to be translated into other languages or converted to Braille and other formats for people who are visually impaired. It allows the Material to be copied for non commercial research or private study. For the full terms and conditions please see the Click Use Licence .

You are advised to read the terms of the Click Use Licence carefully and only if you wish to be bound by its terms should you complete the on-line Application Form.

If the re-use of the material is for commercial gain then you must contact the Hantsweb team and give full details of how you intend to use the material, for example whether you intend to publish and sell the material as part of your product.

Principles governing charging

The County Council intends to make the material on its website and the significant documents available on its Publication Scheme (other than those where charges apply) available for re-use. Where a Licence is required this may be free of charge or in cases where there is commercial gain to the re-user the material may be re-used subject to a standard charge.

Because of the potential diversity of requests for re-use the County Council have taken the view it is not reasonably practicable to publish standard charges, but the charge will not exceed the total of the cost of collection, production, reproduction and dissemination of the document which is the subject of the request together with a reasonable return on investment. Neither the Regulations nor the Directive define what is meant by a reasonable return on investment, and therefore this will be dependent on the particular circumstances.  

You will be advised of any charge due to be paid in these circumstances and the terms of a specific Licence for Re-use for Commercial Purposes will be agreed. Please note that any fees already paid (if any) under the freedom of information legislation in respect of the information will be deducted from the charge for its re-use (Regulation 16).

Reasons for Refusal to allow Re-use of a document

The County Council has the right to refuse the re-use of documents provided that there are sound reasons for doing so. This will generally be because the document falls outside the scope of the Directive because:

  1. copyright in the document is owned by a third party;
  2. supply of the document falls outside its public task (this could include the supply of documents that are produced and charged for exclusively on a commercial basis);
  3. the document falls within the scope of the exempted classes of material under freedom of information and data protection legislation.

If the County Council refuses a request for re-use it will notify the applicant in writing of its decision within 20 working days and the reason for refusal. If ground (a) above is the reason the notification will identify the person who owns the relevant intellectual property rights, where known, or the name of the person from whom the County Council obtained the document.

Complaints Procedure

The County Council has a procedure for dealing with complaints including complaints about the handling of a request for re-use of public sector information.

In accordance with Regulation 19 of the Regulations where an applicant has exhausted the internal complaints procedure he may refer that complaint to the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI). Such complaint must be in writing, state the nature of the complaint, include a copy of the written determination under the internal complaints procedure and be lodged with OPSI before the end of 28 working days beginning with the date of receipt of the determination.

OPSI will investigate the complaint and issue a Decision within 30 working days. Complex cases may be subject to a payment of £500 (non–refundable). Both parties can appeal to the specially constituted panel of the Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information (APPSI). APPSI will investigate and reach a Decision within 60 working days. Generally evidence will only be considered in written form. Complaints about OPSI will be referred to APPSI so as to maintain an equivalent level of independence.