Her Majesty’s Stationery Office & Ordnance Survey v Green Amps Ltd

Reference: HC07C00249

Court: Chancery Division

Judge: Nicholas Strauss QC (sitting as a deputy judge)

Date of judgment: 5 Nov 2007

Summary: Copyright – Crown copyright – Ordnance survey maps – Infringement - Defences - Fair dealing - Research for a non-commercial purpose – s.29(1), Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 - Whether dealing 'fair'

Instructing Solicitors: Bond Pearce for the Claimants; Defendant by its managing director.


D’s business was in the production of energy from wind turbines located in the UK. It was researching a new add-on facility, designed to assist in the planning process for its turbines. This included map images derived from Cs’ DIGIMAP service, which was licensed to users. D had made unauthorised use of a password and log-in details made available to a student at Southampton University, one of Cs’ licensees to whom the service was made available for educational purposes.


Whether the use fell within s.29(1) CDPA, i.e. ‘fair dealing … for the purposes of research for a non-commercial purpose …’


Finding for the Cs, the use did not fall within s 29(1). It was not for a non-commercial purpose. The dealing was also unfair, because of the extent and importance of the amounts taken and also in view of the competition with the exploitation of the copyright work.


Section 29(1) in its current form was inserted as a result of regulation 9(a) of the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003/2498, which (like other amendments to the ‘fair dealing’ provisions in Chapter III CDPA) was narrowed to reflect the requirements of Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights. The decision is unremarkable, but it does illustrate the change of climate in fair dealing as a result of Article 5 of the Directive.