Use of copyrighted materials of the BSH by third parties

Standard Licence Agreements

Charts, books, texts, photos and other BSH products and materials are protected by copyright and may only be used by third parties to create derived products and services with the consent of the BSH. For this purpose, the BSH offers fee-based standard licence agreements for various purposes of use. When classifying a licence request, a distinction is made between navigational and non-navigational use and between commercial and non-commercial use.
After establishing contact, interested parties will receive initial advice and, if necessary, a model contract corresponding to the intended use and the corresponding application form.
In principle, no licence will be granted if the product for which BSH materials are to be used is an exact or very similar copy of a BSH product.

Free of Charge Licences

In addition to the fee-based standard licence agreements, the BSH also grants royalty-free licences under certain conditions. Free of charge means that no royalties have to be paid for the use of BSH materials. The required materials themselves must be purchased.
The basic prerequisite is that the intended uses are non-commercial projects or projects of low economic value. A low economic value is assumed if the total net income from the sale of all products for which BSH materials are used does not exceed 5,000 euros per year. A notional value can be assumed for products that are distributed free of charge to end consumers. This is the case, for example, if revenue is not generated by the product price but indirectly through the sale of advertisements in or on the product.
As a rule, no royalty-free licence is granted if the end product serves navigational purposes or is to be used as an instructional chart (in teaching and exercise materials).

One-off licences and royalty-free licence agreements

The BSH distinguishes between one-off licences and royalty-free licence agreements.

One-off licences can be issued, for example, for the use of illustrative chart extracts in publications or in planning and approval documents.

In the case of multiple use of BSH materials or permanent use, the conclusion of a "Royalty-free Licence Agreement for Non-Commercial Uses and Uses of Low Value" is required. Examples of use for royalty-free licence agreements are the use of chart data in the context of scientific projects or the use of BSH materials for the creation of consumer goods such as notepads, textiles, tableware, etc.

Frequently asked

  • Historical Material
    The use of historical material for various purposes is licence-free under certain conditions. Please contact the BSH for clarification.
  • Artistic Adaptations
    The use of BSH products as a basis for artistic adaptations is licence-free under certain conditions. Please contact the BSH for clarification.
  • Tidal Prediction Data
    Information on the use of tidal prediction data is available at Tides.
  • Open Data
    Information on Open Data in the BSH is available at Geoinformation and Open Data.
  • Copyrighted material of other organisations in BSH products
    BSH products may contain copyright-protected material from other organisations. The BSH is not entitled to pass on rights of use for these parts to third parties.
    If, for example, a section of a BSH nautical chart is to be used that shows foreign as well as German sea areas, the BSH may grant a licence only for the German part of the section. For the use of the foreign part as well, additional agreement with the respective rights holder is required.

Additional Information


Susanne Dirkwinkel
+49 40 3190-2113

For all questions about certificates for seafarers, please click here: Deutsche Flagge – Training and competence