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Copyright and Your use of the British Library Website

The audio, video, text, images or other material made available on this website "the Site" by the British Library to you (collectively, the "Content") is either: protected by third-party rights such as copyright or trademarks (for which the British Library is permitted to make available to you), is copyright to The British Library Board, or are materials which are in the public domain or made available under a Creative Commons licence.

"Public Domain content": the Content on the Site marked "Public Domain" consists of Content from the British Library’s collections, which the Library believes are in the public domain in most territories. Content marked “Public Domain” indicates that the Library is unaware of any current copyright restrictions on the Content either because: (i) the term of copyright has expired in most countries or: (ii) no evidence has been found that copyright restrictions apply.

"Creative Commons content": the Site contains Content for which (1) the British Library owns copyright or database rights and wishes to share Content without restriction in support of our mission of supporting access to knowledge, or (ii) have been licensed by third parties under a Creative Commons licence.

Other than where permitted, no part of the Content maybe sold, resold, licensed, transferred, copied or reproduced in whole or in part in any manner or in or on any media to any person without the prior written consent of the British Library. The British Library does not warrant that the sharing of Content, including Public Domain or Creative Commons content will not infringe upon the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright and other use conditions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of the Content.

Where Content comprises of Public Domain and Creative Commons content we shall endeavour to make same Content available for re-use under the same conditions and to label the material with statements that indicate if, and under which conditions it can be re-used. You agree to abide by all copyright notices, licence conditions, restrictions attached to the Content and agree not to remove or alter any notices, conditions, forms of identification, or dedications, if required not to.

The British Library has made every reasonable effort to locate, contact and acknowledge rights holders and to correctly apply terms and conditions to Content. In the event that any Content infringes your rights or the rights of any third parties, or Content is not properly identified or acknowledged we would like to hear from you so we may make any necessary alterations. In this event contact:

If you have any general questions or information relating to Content on the Site or British Library services please contact

If you have specific questions or information about use of Content on the British Library website please contact:

Requests for permission to reproduce Content should be addressed as follows:



Text and all other types of content


Images on Explore the British Library

Images of books or other publications included on ‘Explore the British Library’ are displayed via an external link and are provided by Syndetic Solutions, a Bowker service. All rights in such images are reserved by the original copyright owners. If you are a rights-owner of a cover image and have any query regarding permissions, please contact

In the event of a dispute, the image will be removed from the Syndetic Solutions service while it is investigated.

Your use of the British Library Website

Other than expressly permitted by the terms and conditions specific to individual services, you may not without the prior written consent of the British Library:

  • systematically extract and/or re-utilise the content of the Site, including but not limited to the utilisation of any data mining, robots, or similar data gathering and extraction tools to extract (whether once or many times) for re-utilisation of any substantial parts of this the Site
  • create and/or publish your own database that features substantial parts of this website, including but not limited to, our prices and product/service listings.

You agree not to:

  • impersonate another person or use a false name or a name you are unauthorised to use or create a false identity or email address or try to mislead others as to the identity or origin of any communications
  • make available or upload files that contain software or other material, data or information not owned or licensed to you or collect information about others (e.g. names/addresses) without their prior consent
  • damage, interfere with or disrupt access to the Site or any of the services delivered through such website or do anything which may interrupt or impair their functionality
  • publish, post, distribute, disseminate or otherwise transmit defamatory, offensive, infringing, obscene, indecent or other unlawful or objectionable material or information
  • threaten, harass, stalk, abuse, disrupt, cause inconvenience or distress or otherwise violate the rights (including rights of privacy and publicity) of others
  • use the Content or the Site for any illegal or improper purpose
  • make available, upload or distribute by any means any material or files that contain any viruses, bugs, corrupt data, "trojan horses", "worms" or any other harmful software.

Content on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

Public Domain Mark and CC0 images from British Library collections are being made available on photo-sharing websites Flickr and Wikimedia Commons to increase access and encourage reuse of our open materials. These works are marked "no known copyright restrictions", indicating that the British Library is unaware of any current copyright restrictions on these works.

The British Library asks that anyone reusing digital images from these collections apply the following principles:

  • Please respect the creators – ensure traditional cultural expressions and all ethical concerns in the use of the material are considered, and any information relating to the creator is clear and accurate.
  • Please note, any adaptations made to an image should not be attributed to the original creator and should not be derogatory to the originating cultures or communities.
  • Please credit the source of the material – providing a link back to the catalogue entry or the British Library’s website will encourage others to explore and use the collections.
  • Please share knowledge where possible – please annotate, tag and share derivative works with others as well as the Library wherever possible.
  • Support the Public Domain – users of public domain works are asked to support the efforts of the Library to care for, preserve, digitise and make public domain works available. This support could include monetary contributions or work in kind, particularly when the work is being used for commercial or other for-profit purposes. High-resolution images can be sourced from Imaging Services .
  • Please preserve all public domain marks and creative commons licences attached to the works – this will notify other users that the images are free from copyright restrictions and encourage greater use of the collection.

This usage guide for images is based on goodwill. It is not a legal contract. We ask that you respect it. Please enjoy this small contribution to the public domain!


PDF files

The links below are to Adobe PDF files. Accessibility solutions and free Reader software are available from Adobe.

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