Reproducing UKHO Material ...

  1. What is copyright?

    Crown copyright

    All work the UKHO creates is protected by Crown copyright and/or database rights in the UK, and it is also protected elsewhere in the world through international treaties. We control the copyright to our work under authority from the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office (who is also Director of the Office for Public Sector Information (OPSI)). You can visit the OPSI website by following this link:

    You may not reproduce, adapt, translate, store or distribute our material in any way (including electronically, by photocopying or recording) without our written permission.

    Material from other organisations

    Much of the material we publish or hold comes from copyright material belonging to other organisations - usually another hydrographic office or a port authority. This material is protected by Crown copyright and by the copyright of those organisations. Most products clearly show the organisations involved either on the front of a chart (in the source data diagram or source notes) or in the introduction of a book.
    Some organisations, under a service called “Custodianship”, allow us to grant permissions on their behalf.A list of these custodian organisations can be found by following this link: Data from Custodian organisations

    If you want to reproduce material from any other organisation not listed above, you must get permission from that organisation before you can re-use any part of our material which contains that data.
    Many companies, under licence from us, publish material that contains our material. This material will usually have an acknowledgement to the Crown, to us or to the Controller of HMSO. It is protected by Crown copyright and the copyright of the publisher. You must always get our permission and the permission of the publisher before you can copy it. This material may also contain copyright material belonging to other third parties, but the publisher should advise you of this.

    Period of protection

    Crown copyright exists in all works we create for 125 years from the end of the calendar year in which it is created. If the work is published within 75 years of it being created, it is protected for 50 years from the end of the year it was commercially published.

    For example:
    • A work created in 1885 has never been commercially published.  It is protected by Crown Copyright for 125 years until 2010.
    • A work created in 1935 was commercially published in 1935.  It was protected by Crown copyright for 50 years until 31 December 1985.
    • A work created in 1935 was commercially published in 1995 (i.e. within 75 years of it being created).  It is protected by Crown copyright for 50 years until 31 December 2045.
    • An Admiralty chart was created and commercially published in 1960.  It is protected by Crown copyright for 50 years until 31 December 2010. A new updated edition of the same chart was commercially published in 1970.It is protected for a further 50 years until 31 December 2020.

    Database rights protect the contents of the database for 15 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was created or a substantial revision was made.
    If our material is no longer protected by copyright or database rights, you do not need to obtain our permission before copying the material. However, you may not reproduce our brands, and you may not pass off the material as being from us. We do request that you show an acknowledgement to us.

    Note: Even if our material is no longer protected by Crown copyright, it might still be protected by the copyright of another organisation. Their period of protection can be much longer than for Crown copyright (usually 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies). If you have any questions about this, please contact us for advice.

  2. The Re-Use Of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005

    The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations (RoPSI) came into force on 1 July 2005 in response to an EU Directive.

    The regulations can be found at:

    The regulations allow public sector bodies, such as the UKHO, to make their information available to be re-used by any applicant making a request for re-use in accordance with section 6 of the regulations. However, it is not compulsory for public sector bodies to allow re-use.
    The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) are concerned with a citizen's right to access information. RoPSI provides a framework to grant permission to individuals or to public or private entities to re-use that information.
    The UKHO's Policy on Freedom of Information.

  3. The UKHO Chief Executive's commitment to fair information trading

    The UKHO, as a Trading Fund, has delegated authority from the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office to licence the re-use of the Crown copyright material which it originates.  We are permitted to recover our operational costs from selling and licensing our products and services and make a positive contribution back to the UK taxpayer. We use the revenue we receive from copyright licensing to help us create and maintain our material and continually improve safety.

    We encourage you to reuse our material for new purposes.

    The UKHO's licensing policy has been accredited by OPSI's Information Fair Trader Scheme (IFTS). IFTS accreditation provides external validation of an organisation's information trading activity. It reassures users that an accredited organisation's processes and policies are compliant and consistent with government policy on information trading and that they meet the needs of existing or potential customers. Our Chief Executive has made a personal commitment that we trade fairly in information. The commitment can be seen at the following link:

    UKHO's Chief Executive's commitment to information fair trading

  4. Licensing Policy

    We offer the following licence agreements depending on the intended purpose of your re-use.

    Licence purposes

    Purpose descriptions

    Non-commercial purpose
    • The purpose is non-navigational
    • It is intended for personal use
    • It is intended for internal business use (defined as the ordinary day-to-day activities involved in the internal administration and running of an organisation).
    • No revenue is made, directly or indirectly
    Low-value commercial purposes
    • The purpose is non-navigational
    • The total commercial value of all products containing our data is less than £10,000 per annum
    • We calculate the licence fees payable are less than £200 per annum
    • Websites which have less than 1,000 page impressions per day.
    Commercial purpose
    • A direct or indirect charge is made
    • Is distributed free of charge but it competes with other commercial products on the market
    • We calculate the licence fees on non-navigational products are £200 or more per annum
    Non-Navigational purpose
    • Products which will not be used for navigation purposes as defined below.
    • For determining, monitoring and tracking the location of vessels or other objects at sea
    • For crisis management
    • For maritime security
    • For command and control of vessels including future vessel planning
    • For providing training to navigators, including simulators
    Leisure and recreational users
    • Intended for sale to leisure, recreational or sporting users, not part of a professional service, as shown by the merchandising of the product
    Professional users
    • Intended for sale to professional non-leisure users, or for shore-based route planning
    Scientific, academic, technical or consultancy users
    • Users who require authoritative baseline information (usually for use in GIS products) to deliver marine and coastal digital data solutions to public and private sector customers in support of their planning, regulatory, environmental, engineering, and asset management activities. Users may include central government, local authorities, companies such as electricity, water and telecoms companies, renewable energy developers, oil and gas companies, ports, consultancies, agencies and universities.

    How to obtain a licence for non-navigational and non-commercial purposes, or for non-navigational and low-value commercial purposes

    If you wish to reproduce our data for non-navigational and non-commercial purposes, or for non-navigational and low-value commercial purposes, and you meet the qualifying criteria, we invite you to apply for a licence on-line. These licence agreements are free of charge, and last for 1 year.

    How to obtain a licence for commercial purposes

    We grant, subject to the terms and conditions of the licence agreement, a non-exclusive non-transferable licence to reproduce our data for the purposes of:

    • Internal research and development;
    • Internal quality assurance processes relating to the reproduced material;
    • Creating and manufacturing the reproduced material; and
    • Distributing the reproduced material to end-users, subject to the restrictions, either directly or using distributors or agents.

    Commercial licence Fees

    We charge licence fees depending on the purpose of your re-use, and details are specified in the appropriate licence agreement template.
    We normally calculate a fixed fee payable per product based on the amount and type of our material which you reproduce in your product. We multiply the licence fee payable per product by the number of sales made in an accounting period to calculate the licence fees due.

    Accounting periods are
    • 1 January through 30 June and
    • 1 July through 31 December each year.

    If you wish to reproduce our material for commercial purposes, please complete an application form and email this to us.

    What to expect when applying for a commercial licence agreement

    Within 2 working days of receipt of your application, we will acknowledge receipt, and we will contact you to further discuss your requirements and to answer any questions you may have. We will calculate the licence fees which will be payable on your products, and we will aim to offer you a licence agreement within 20 working days.
    If your reproduction is not covered by one of our existing licences, we will work with you to develop appropriate terms and conditions. In this instance, we will give you an estimated time to complete the process.

    Licensing exceptions

    There are a small number of exceptions in our licensing policy. If we reject your application because of one of these exceptions, we will try to offer another solution and work with you to revise your application.

    We may refuse to allow you to reproduce material that:
    • Concerns public security, defence, state security (including its economic well-being) and legal proceedings;
    • Is protected by the rights of another organisation and that organisation has not given their permission; or
    • Relates to an identified or identifiable person and they have not consented to the disclosure of that information (under the Data Protection Act).
    Also, we may refuse to licence data to individuals or organisations that:
    • Have previously copied intellectual property owned or managed by the Crown without permission and this was not settled with us (or another part of the UK Government or other Crown copyright body); or
    • Have previously copied intellectual property owned or managed by one of the custodian organisations without permission and this was not settled with the custodian organisation; or
    • Do not have enough creditworthiness (according to our check with a credit reference agency) to pay any licence fees and are not willing to offer another method of payment (for example, a bank guarantee, payment in advance, or similar).
  5. Licensing Terms and Conditions

    In accordance with our Licensing Policy, we can offer a licence agreement to cover the intended purpose of your re-use. Copies of the current licence agreement templates for each purpose are shown below.
    Our licensing terms and conditions do not restrict your re-use of UKHO material, though we do define your re-use purpose so that we can offer the right licence agreement. If you want to use the material in a different way, it might already be covered by your agreement, it might require a small amendment to the agreement or it might require a new agreement.

    • We will normally allow you to reproduce our material on the internet (subject to certain restrictions)
    • We require you to include an appropriate acknowledgement to the UKHO on any reproductions of our material
    • We may allow you to grant limited sub-licences (for certain types of licence agreements)
    • We require you to protect our material from unauthorised reproduction.
    • We do not normally grant the rights to use our trademarks.
    • We are not allowed, by regulation, to grant exclusive or sole licences (see The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 , clause 14)

    We reserve the right to terminate your licence, in accordance with the terms of the licence. Please refer to the individual licence for the full conditions, but reasons for termination include:

    • You breach your licence agreement in a way that cannot be put right, such as granting a sub licence without our permission, you release unprotected copyright material on a computer accessible to 3rd parties, you reproduce material that is the intellectual property of a 3rd party without their permission.
    • You breach your licence agreement in a way that can be put right, such as failure to pay any royalties or licence fees on time, but do not remedy the breach within the specified period (usually 30 days).
    • You enter receivership or administration.

    Through these licence agreements, we can licence UKHO and Custodianship data as published in Admiralty Products. Under the Commercial licence agreements we can also licence the original data belonging to the Custodianship organisations (for more detail, please see Datasets and Supply).

    Licence agreement templates (UKHO and Custodian organisations)

    View our licence agreement templates below. You can download Adobe Reader to view the PDF's