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Copying Official Publications


Official publications cover a wide range of materials executed by the order and at the expense of international, national, federal or regional governmental bodies.

This section covers only United Kingdom official publications.


The publications of other governments and the EEC should be treated as if they were commercial publications so the guidance given on our Copyright Facts page applies. The US Government however claims no copyright in its own publications so it is generally accepted that US Government Printing Office publications are not protected.


What is Parliamentary Copyright?

Parliamentary copyright was established by Chapter 10 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and came into effect on 1 August 1989. Works that were published for Parliament prior to that date are Crown copyright. Under Section 165 of the Act any work made by or under the direction or control of the House of Commons or the House of Lords is Parliamentary copyright. Under Section 166 copyright in every Bill introduced into Parliament belongs either to the House of Commons or to the House of Lords. The legal owners of Parliamentary copyright are the Speaker of the House of Commons in respect of House of Commons material and the Clerk of the Parliaments in respect of the House of Lords material (Section 167).


Crown copyright lasts for 125 years from the end of year in which the work was created or 50 years from the end of the year in which it was first commercially published (provided this happens within 75 years from the year of creation). Parliamentary copyright lasts for 50 years from the end of the year of creation


Detailed guidance notes on Parliamentary & Crown copyright can be found in OPSI Copyright Guidance.


What can I copy?

You may copy the text from any single title or document listed below in its entirety provided that:

  • No more than one photocopy is made for any one individual;
  • Copies are not distributed to other individuals or organisations.

However, H.E. lecturers may make multiple copies of works for distribution to students.


You may also make unlimited multiple photocopies of extracts from any title or document provided that the extracts from any single work should not exceed 30%, or one complete chapter or equivalent, whichever is the greater. 

  • Lords and Commons official reports (Hansard)
  • Command papers
  • Bills of Parliament
  • Acts of Parliament
  • Statutory Instruments and Statutory rules and orders (including electronic versions of Statutory Instruments).
  • Reports of select committees of both Houses
  • House business papers including Journals of both Houses, Lords minutes, the Vote bundle, Commons order-books, the Commons Public Bill lists, Statutory Instrument lists, the Weekly information bulletin and the Sessional information digest.

For other Crown and Parliamentary copyright texts, the guidance given on our Copyright - The Facts page applies, including CLA provisions.