Unfortunately, the matter is further confused in that, each Navy is separately the copyright holder (See the note on the Aussie Ship Crests).
According to a friend of mine who's the Studio Manager at the Fleet Graphics Centre at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth, its ok for us (as individuals at shipbucket) to draw the Crests as long as they are "not for profit", but for any commercial usage, a Licencing Agreement would be needed:-
"All photographs, images, and logos associated with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines (RN/RM) are considered Intellectual Property (IP) and are subject to Crown Copyright. RN/RM logos and are also Registered Trademarks and all external use of RN/RM IP is to be licensed.
Products incorporating RN/RM IP should never be advertised next to images or on products of questionable quality as this only serves to weaken the RN/RM brand, its values and reputation. Images must be of the highest possible quality and must never be adjusted or distorted from their original design. The RN/RM brand identity is not to be undermined by unauthorised use of its associated IP or poor quality reproduction.
If a commercial company is required to supply products bearing RN/RM IP for official use then the company can carry out this request free of licence provided there is a contractual agreement limiting the company’s use to that individual order.
Before a commercial company can produce an item incorporating RN/RM IP, whether for sale to civilians, serving or ex-serving members, museums, military charities or PRI shops they are required to apply for a Trade Mark User’s Licence. The licence clearly lays down what images are allowed to be used, how they are to be used and what media they can be used on. Samples of the products can also be requested to ensure they meet standards required by the licence. If a licence is granted, a royalty might be paid by the company for the privilege of using RN/RM IP.
If a Unit wishes to approach a supplier to produce items displaying RN/RM IP, they must first seek advise from DMC Navy PR, see details on the right.
Licences covering commercial sales are issued by the MOD Directorate of Intellectual Property Rights via DMC Navy PR, as above, who can offer further advice and assistance if required. The licence will also contain appropriate arrangements to protect the MOD legally and financially, such as warranties, indemnities, and product liability insurance requirements."