Websites and online services

These terms and conditions apply to the use of all online services operated by the British Library, except where superseded by service-specific terms and conditions on the pages linked to on the right of this page. In the event of any conflict, the terms on those pages take precedence.

The British Library website (, and all associated pages, domains and online services, including public WiFi provision on our premises) (“the Website”) is operated by the British Library Board (“The British Library”, “Library”, “we” or “us”).

The British Library is a body incorporated by the British Library Act 1972 whose principal place of business is situated at 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB. No British Library employee shall have any personal liability in respect of the Website.

1. Acceptance

Your use of the Website is subject to the following Terms & Conditions, which you are deemed to accept by using the Website.

2. Copyright

The audio, video, text, images, or other material made available on the Website by the Library are either protected by the copyright of third parties, are the copyright of the British Library Board, or are materials which are in the public domain or made available under a Creative Commons licence.

Where content is marked as public domain, the Library believes it to be in the public domain in most territories and is unaware of any current copyright restrictions on the content either because the term of copyright has expired in most countries, or because after reasonable efforts no evidence has been found that copyright restrictions apply. You are free to use this material as you wish, but please note that the Library does not warrant that use of the content will not infringe on 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 is marked as Creative Commons content, either the British Library owns copyright or database rights and wishes to share the content in support of our mission to support access to knowledge, or else the content has been licensed by third parties under a Creative Commons licence. You may freely use such content for non-commercial purposes as long as you acknowledge the British Library Board or relevant third party as the owner of the material. 

Please see our Freedom of Information page for more information about the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations and details of how to apply for permission to use other content owned by the British Library Board. 

All other content may only be used in line with a relevant licence or other terms of use granted by the relevant third party copyright holder. 

3. Prohibited use

You agree not to use the Website:

  • to create a database (electronic or otherwise) that includes material downloaded or otherwise obtained from the Website except where expressly permitted on the Website or otherwise permitted in writing;
  • to disseminate advertisements or for any other commercial purposes (which would include using the Website to promote or encourage the sale of your goods/services, except where under license to the Library or otherwise permitted in writing);
  • to transmit or re-circulate any material obtained from the Website to any third party except where expressly permitted on the Website;
  • in such a way so as to remove the copyright or trade mark notice(s) from any copies of any material made in accordance with these terms;
  • to disseminate any unsolicited or unauthorised advertising, promotional materials, “junk mail," “spam," “chain letters," “pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation;
  • to disseminate any material which is abusive, defamatory or obscene, may harass, offend or inconvenience any person, applauds, encourages or entices abuse, discrimination or criminal activity or which might restrict or inhibit the use and enjoyment of the Website by any person;
  • to disseminate any material that contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, damage, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment;
  • in any way that might infringe third party privacy or other rights, is unlawful or that might bring BL into disrepute; or
  • to post link(s) that take users to material that contravenes any of the above restrictions.

4. Information and availability

Whilst the Library takes every care to ensure that the information on the Website is accurate and complete, some of it may be supplied by third parties and we are unable to check its accuracy or completeness. You are advised to verify the accuracy of any information before relying on it. Further, due to the inherent nature of the Internet, errors, interruptions and delays may occur in the service at any time. Accordingly, the Website is provided on an “AS IS” and “AS AVAILABLE” basis without any warranties of any kind and we do not accept any liability arising from any inaccuracy or omission in the information or interruption in availability.

5. No reliance

The Website contains general information based on English law and, although we endeavour to ensure that the content is accurate and up to date, users should seek appropriate legal advice before taking or refraining from taking any action. The contents of the Website should not be construed as legal advice and we disclaim any liability in relation to its use.

6. Linking to our Website

We welcome hyperlinks to the pages of our Website. However, you may not display the contents of our Website (or any page from it) or allow it to be displayed, surrounded, framed, or otherwise surrounded by material not originating from us without our consent. You may however freely use any ‘embed’ features made available on our Website, for example via our Universal Viewer or Sounds pages.

If you would like to license our material for use in other ways, please see our Brand Licensing page.

7. Links to other Websites

On the Website you may be offered links to other websites, which have been recommended by our expert curators for their relevance, suitability, and usefulness. Whilst we hope you will be interested in those websites, you acknowledge that the content on those pages is not subject to the Library’s control, their owners may be independent from us, and we do not endorse or accept any responsibility for their content.

We do not enter into agreements for reciprocal links.

8. Computer viruses

The Library will use reasonable endeavours to ensure that the Website does not contain or promulgate any viruses or other malicious code. However, it is recommended that you should virus check all materials downloaded from the Website and regularly check for the presence of viruses and other malicious code. The Library excludes to the fullest extent permitted by applicable laws all liability in connection with any damage or loss caused by computer viruses or other malicious code originating or contracted from the Website.

9. Trade marks

The Library has various Domain, text, and protected marks registered in certain jurisdictions. No use of these or any other trade marks of the British Library may be made by you except for the purpose of referring to the Library or its associated brands lawfully and in good faith only. If you would like to license our material, please see our Brand Licensing page.

10. Registration

On certain parts of the Website we may require you to register and provide certain information about yourself and where you do this you agree to: (a) provide true, accurate, current and complete information about yourself as prompted by the relevant registration form (such information being the “Registration Data”) and (b) maintain and promptly update the Registration Data (by sending an appropriately worded email to to keep it true, accurate, current and complete.

11. Submission of information/data

Where information (including sensitive financial or personal information) is provided to the Library (whether directly through the Website or otherwise) you accept that these methods of communication cannot be 100% secure. The Library cannot accept any responsibility or liability for any damages (other than liability for death or physical injury arising out of the negligence of BL or its officers or any liabilities that cannot, as a matter of law, be excluded) arising from the misuse or loss of data or information in transit and submitted by you to the Library, whether directly through the Website or otherwise. The provision of personal information by you and use of it by the Library is subject to the Library’s Privacy Policy, which is incorporated in these Terms and Conditions.

12.   Your username and password

Where you are invited to register on the Website, you will be allocated with a unique username and/or password that gives you access to your Website account. You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your username and password, and are fully responsible for all activities that occur through your Website account. You agree to (a) immediately notify the Library if you become aware of any unauthorised use of your password or Website account or any other breach of security by sending an appropriately worded email to, and (b) ensure that you exit from your Website account at the end of each session. We cannot and will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from your failure to comply with these requirements.

13. User generated content

If you send any text, images, audio, or other content (including ‘favourites’, personalised galleries, and metadata tags) to the Website you accept that such content, and all rights therein, become the sole property of the Library and that we shall have the right to use that content in perpetuity, throughout the world, in all known and discovered mediums and for all purposes and we shall have the right to make it available to the public on the Website and otherwise. We may require you to confirm the rights granted in this paragraph and where requested to do so you shall provide all reasonable assistance to the Library. You warrant that you have full right, power, and authority to provide such content, and that it does not infringe any third party rights, and you hereby indemnify the Library against actions brought against us for any alleged infringement of such rights arising from your use of the Website.

All user generated content must comply with our Rules of Acceptable Use for User Generated Content ; we reserve the right to remove any content that does not comply. Any decision to remove such material is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

You acknowledge that any content posted to the Website is done so at your own risk, and that in some cases your name may be displayed alongside your user generated content.

The Library does not guarantee that your user generated content will continue to remain available on the Website.

14.   User generated content - Rules of acceptable use

Any discussion forums or pages of the Website where you are capable of posting material are provided for your private and non-commercial use and for the exchange of lawful, relevant, fair, and appropriate information, opinions and comment. Use of the Website that is inconsistent with those stated purposes is strictly prohibited. Further, your use of these forums and the Website generally is subject to the provisions of paragraph 3 above.

User generated content that you post to our Website (or other online services where allowed) must:
  • be in the English language (unless otherwise specifically permitted by the page or service in question)
  • not contain email addresses or other contact information
  • not be deliberately misleading, or deliberately impersonate another user of the Website
  • be relevant to the context to which it is posted
  • not replicate existing content.

In relation to this content, you acknowledge and agree:

  • That the Library accepts no responsibility for any statements, material or other submissions placed on our online forums by you or any third party, or for any loss or damage resulting from your breach of the restrictions set out in paragraph 3 above; and
  • To indemnify the Library and  its representatives, partners and employees from any and all claims and liabilities (including legal fees) which arise from your statements, contributions or other submissions to our online forums, from any unauthorised use of material obtained from our online forums or otherwise from your breach of the restrictions set out in paragraph 3 above.

15.   Removal of content

In making material available online the British Library acts in good faith. However, despite these safeguards, we recognise that from time to time material published online may be in breach of copyright laws, contain sensitive personal data, or include content that may be regarded as obscene or defamatory.  If you are concerned that you have found material on our website, for which you have not given permission, contravenes privacy laws, is obscene / defamatory and in terms of copyright law is not covered by a limitation or exception, please contact us at  stating the following:

  • Your contact details.
  • The full details of the material.
  • The exact and full URL where you found the material.
  • If the request relates to copyright, provide proof that you are the rights holder and a statement that, under penalty of perjury, you are the rights holder or are an authorised representative.
  • The reason for your request including but not limited to copyright law, privacy laws, data protection, obscenity, defamation etc.

Upon receipt of notification our ‘Notice and Takedown’ procedure will then be invoked as follows:

  1. The British Library will acknowledge receipt of your complaint by email or letter and will make an initial assessment of the validity and plausibility of the complaint.
  2. Upon receipt of a valid complaint the material will be temporarily removed from the British Library website pending an agreed solution.
  3. The British Library will contact the contributor who deposited the material, if relevant. The contributor will be notified that the material is subject to a complaint, under what grounds, and will be encouraged to assuage the complaints concerned.
  4. The complainant and the contributor will be encouraged to resolve the issue swiftly and amicably and to the satisfaction of both parties, with the following possible outcomes:
  • The material is replaced on the British Library website unchanged.
  • The material is replaced on the British Library website with changes.
  • The material is permanently removed from the website. If the contributor and the complainant are unable to agree a solution, the material will remain unavailable through the British Library until a time when a resolution has been reached.

The Library will not view or edit or pre-screen any contribution that you or anyone else make to the forums or to the Website generally and therefore, unless we are specifically notified of the nature of any item of content, you cannot assume that we are responsible for having made it available on the Website. We, and others that we designate, shall have the right (but not the obligation) at our sole discretion to refuse or remove any content that is posted to, or available on, the forums or the Website without the need to give any reasons for doing so. 

16.   Content objections

If you object to the publication of any material placed on our online forums (or anywhere else on the Website) on any grounds other than those listed in Section 15 above, please let us know by sending an appropriately worded email to and we will take whatever action we deem appropriate.

17.   Severability

In the event that any term of these Terms & Conditions is held to be invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of these Terms & Conditions shall remain valid and enforceable.

18.   Variation of these terms and conditions

These terms and conditions were last updated on 08 October 2018. The Library reserves the right to vary these Terms & Conditions from time to time. Such variations become effective immediately upon the posting of the varied terms and conditions on the Website. By continuing to use the Website you will be deemed to accept such variations.

If, for any reason, the Library believes that you have not complied with any of these Terms & Conditions, the Library  may, at its sole discretion, cancel your access to the registration areas of the Website immediately and without giving you any advance notice. 

Further, the Library reserves absolutely the right to withdraw or suspend the Website where it deems this to be necessary without notice and will not be liable to you for such unavailability.

19.   General

Nothing in these Terms & Conditions shall restrict or exclude any liability that we have to any party which cannot be excluded by law and in particular, and notwithstanding any term of these Terms & Conditions, our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence shall not be limited or excluded in any way.

These Terms & Conditions shall be governed by English law and the courts of England shall have exclusive jurisdiction.