Open Government Licence

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(Redirected from OGL)

The Open Government Licence (OGL) is a free licence for government data, content and source code created by the UK government.

It is considered a free content licence and, according to the OGL deed, compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution licence. This in turn makes it compatible with the requirements of *most* Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia, Wikisource and Wikimedia Commons.

Because of the Attribution clause and the licensing of Wikidata under either CC0 (main and property namespace) and CC BY-SA (other namespaces), the OGL might be compatible with Wikidata's licensing, depending on the way the data is introduced.

This page is to help co-ordinate porting of OGL-licensed content from UK government websites and publications to Wikimedia projects, specifically Wikimedia Commons for photographs, illustrations, sound files, video files and other multimedia content, and Wikisource for text content. Learning materials can be reused by Wikiversity. The other Wikimedia hosted projects including Wikipedia, Wikibooks and Wikiquote may also find new material they can incorporate into their projects. Having up-to-date political images also helps Wikinews and the news and current affairs community on Wikipedia.

There is continual reviewing of the OGL licensing framework, and interested Wikimedians and others in the United Kingdom may wish to get involved in any future consultation with the government over the future of the OGL and the Public Service Information licensing framework.

Scope of the OGL and PSI licensing framework[edit]

The OGL covers material published by government departments under Crown Copyright.

It does not cover material that fall into the stated Exemptions:

  • personal data
  • "Information that has neither been published nor disclosed under information access legislation (including the Freedom of Information Acts for the UK and Scotland) by or with the consent of the Information Provider"
  • "departmental or public sector organisation logos, crests and the Royal Arms except where they form an integral part of a document or dataset"
  • military insignia
  • "third party rights the Information Provider is not authorised to license"
  • "Information subject to other intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, and design rights"
  • "identity documents such as the British Passport"

It does not cover material published by executive non-departmental public bodies like, say, the British Library or English Heritage.

It does not cover material published by Parliament as this is licensed under Parliamentary Copyright rather than Crown Copyright.

Unless specified otherwise, the PSI reuse framework does not cover material published by the Monarchy even though they publish material under Crown Copyright.

It also does not cover material published by the Church of England.

Use on Wikimedia[edit]

  • The text of the OGL is available under the OGL on Wikisource.
  • On Wikimedia Commons, all images and other media files that are being reused under the OGL are available in the OGL category. Use template {{OGL}} for OGL version 1, or {{OGL2}} or {{OGL3}}, as appropriate.
  • On English Wikipedia, articles where OGL text has been imported are in Category:Articles with imported Open Government Licence 1.0 text (populated via {{OGL-text}}). OGL files on English Wikipedia are in Category:Open Government Licence files (populated via {{OGL}}), but as they are free files they can be moved to Commons.
  • On English Wikisource, OGL material is in Category:OGL and the template {{ogl}} can be used on the talk page to designate a work as OGL.
  • Issues related to the use of OGL material can be listed on the talk page.

Government agencies, departments and institutions[edit]

Name Can reuse? Information pages Content pages Project reuse Notes
Department for International Development Yes [1] Flickr Commons cat [1]
Met Office No Flickr [2]
Office for National Statistics Yes Information page on the ONS website Flickr Commons Category [3]

To-do list[edit]

Government publications requiring clarification[edit]

  • Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS)
    • Q: Claims to be Crown Copyright, but also sells photographs (both prints and digital images) and solicits user contributions on Flickr. Now the OGL is in place, what is the copyright situation of the images of the images RCAHMS deals with?
      • A: A Government agent or department that provides an official release of materials on an Open Government Licence would be unable to revoke the release, or make a future claim of damages against any users or re-publishers of the material. The OGL does not automatically supersede other licences, such as Crown Copyright, so if the OGL is not quoted covering the published material, this requires written confirmation before reuse under the OGL.

Government Flickr accounts and their status[edit]

Things we can't reuse[edit]

It's complicated![edit]

  • Food Standards Agency


  1. Their Flickr stream is CC BY. Their website explicitly acknowledges that you can reuse Crown Copyright material under the OGL.
  2. Met Office has an exception to OGL/PSI framework
  3. Most of their Flickr stream is CC BY. Their website explicitly acknowledges that you can reuse Crown Copyright material under the OGL.

External links[edit]