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Date updated: 2/02/2024


New technical developments, particularly in the field of scanning technology, have multiplied the options for the reproduction of documents. London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) is committed to offering a copying service that meets as many of the requirements of its users as possible whilst ensuring that the process involved does not damage the material in its care and that copyright and other issues are properly taken into account.

LMA looks after the records of the Greater London area and the City of London. It makes these available to the public in a variety of ways. These include making and supplying copies of documents for the purpose of private study and research, for publication, and to serve the needs of remote users.

This policy explains the underlying principles concerning the copying of original archives, publications and other material held at LMA and the restrictions on doing this. For more details about how to get copies and our charges please contact the LMA Enquiry team to request a copy of our detailed copying guidelines.

Whether in response to requests from users, or for its own activities, LMA considers the following when making decisions about copying items in its collections:

Copyright law: The main statute in the UK is the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. LMA will seek to raise any intellectual property issues of which it is aware relating to requests to publish, or otherwise disseminate, material from its collections. For more information on copyright, go to the UK Government’s Intellectual Property Office website.

The rights of depositors and donors: Many of the documents in LMA’s collections are owned by individuals, and private and public bodies. These owners (depositors) may specify that you need to get their permission before copying their documents. Sometimes people who have given documents to LMA (donors) specify similar restrictions. LMA will let you know when this is the case.

The rights of living individuals identified in documents: The Data Protection Act 2018 requires that personal information about living individuals is protected. LMA will let you know if there is a need to safeguard anyone’s identity in the copy you are making, and give advice on the level of protection required.

LMA’s core responsibilities: LMA is committed to caring for and providing access to documents and other material in its collections, both now and in the future. Therefore only methods of copying that are suitable for the nature and condition of the item concerned are allowed. LMA will restrict copying when plans for using the copy in a publication or otherwise disseminating it could put the sustainability of the service at risk.

Commercial agreements: LMA sometimes works with commercial partners to supply indexed digital copies of specific collections online on a pay-per-view basis. The terms of these arrangements and ‘Publication Right’ may restrict further commercial access to the same material. 

Copies are supplied, and photography permitted, strictly on condition that written permission will be sought from LMA when the items copied are required for reproduction.

When LMA receives your request, you will be told of any copyright, depositor or other conditions that apply. You will also be notified of the correct wording of the acknowledgement. Detailed guidance is given in our citation guidelines.

Reproduction permission charges will often apply to the use of material from LMA collections, especially where that use is commercial.

LMA will make every effort to remove copies which it has not authorised or which infringe copyright.

In most cases it is possible for copies to be made, subject to the constraints above. However, in the case of items that are in copyright, copying is only legally permissible according to specific ‘fair dealing’ regulations. These regulations stipulate that the copy is supplied solely for the purpose of non-commercial research and private study, that one copy only is supplied in relation to a given project, and that correct acknowledgement is made (such as in footnotes).

In all cases copies are supplied subject to the completion of a copyright declaration and agreement accepting in writing LMA’s conditions for the making of copies.

If you are visiting LMA, a range of self-service copying options are possible. If you are unable to visit, or the self-service copying options are unsuitable for the items concerned, copies may be supplied via LMA’s copying services.

Those who would like to undertake a large amount of copying, should contact LMA for further advice.

LMA welcomes the use of the archive collections by the media, subject to the conditions above. Charges may apply where special access facilities are needed.


Please complete a comment form or contact us if you wish to give feedback on this policy.

This policy will be reviewed at least every two years to make sure it remains timely and relevant.

The policy was last reviewed in January 2020.