The Open Government Licence (OGL) is a simple set of terms and conditions that facilitates the re-use of a wide range of public sector information free of charge.
Using the Open Government Licence
There is no need to register or apply for an Open Government Licence. Users simply need to ensure that their use of information complies with the Open Government Licence terms.
If you would like to use information covered by the OGL and need a few helpful hints to get started, you can download our guidance:
Open Government Licence: guidance for users (PDF, 0.06Mb).
Government departments, public sector bodies (such as local authorities, NHS Trusts) making their information available for use under the OGL should follow the guidance for information providers.
We do not maintain a list of who is using information under the OGL because users do not need to register for a licence. However the OGL states that users should, where possible, provide a link back to the Open Government Licence. This means there will be ways of searching for online works using information under the Open Government Licence.
There are no charges for using information licensed under the Open Government Licence. However, information providers may charge a fee for supplying information. Examples where charging for supply would be permitted include:
- providing a copy of a photograph in a higher resolution
- providing large quantities of data by means of a CD-ROM
Information providers may not impose a charge for the subsequent re-use of the information.
The attribution statement
When using information, other than information and material created by you, cite what information you used, where it came from and what date it was published. You should also include a link to the information you used, if this is online, and a link to the licence, under which it was used.
The Open Government Licence does not cover the use of personal data. This is because any re-use of personal data must comply with the Data Protection Principles as set out in Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1988 (DPA) which defines how personal data about identifiable, living people can be processed.
A key consideration is that there must be clarity about the specific purpose for which the data was originally collected. Licensing the re-use of personal data for wide and non-specified purposes through the Open Government Licence would go beyond that original purpose in most cases and therefore we would be acting unlawfully.
You should also note that access to personal data does not automatically confer a right of re-use. Some personal data is collected for the express purpose of making it publicly available, for example, the edited version of the Electoral Roll. Nevertheless, the principles of the Data Protection Act remain the same and any subsequent use or re-use of the data must be lawful.
Information produced by The National Archives
Information produced by The National Archives is subject to Crown copyright or database rights and therefore is offered under the Open Government Licence by the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. However, documents, files and information held at The National Archives for public record purposes, will be subject to a wide range of different rights.
PSI Click-Use Licence
The Open Government Licence supersedes the PSI Click-Use Licence. Any information covered by Crown copyright that was available for re-use under the PSI Click-Use Licence may now be re-used under the OGL.
You can either use the information under your existing Click-Use Licence until it expires or choose to use the information under the terms of the OGL.
The Open Government Licence v1.0 and v2.0
The Open Government Licence is a perpetual licence so any past and continuing use of information authorised under v1.0 or v2.0 may continue. The only exception to this would be if you breached the terms of either licence; this would result in it being terminated.
Information providers/licensors will specify which version of the Open Government Licence applies to their information as they make the transition to v3.0. The terms and conditions of the three versions are in essence the same with v3.0 only introducing a few refinements and clarifications.
Compatibility with other licences
The Open Government Licence terms are compatible with the latest versions of the Creative Commons Attribution License and the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This means that when the information is adapted and licensed under either of those licences, you automatically meet the conditions of the OGL as long as you comply with the terms of the other licence.
In developing the UK Government Licensing Framework, The National Archives has produced the Charged licence for use by public sector bodies which have reason to charge for the use and re-use of the information they produce or hold.
Charged licence (PDF, 0.04Mb)