Copyright FAQ

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Fuzzy Copyright by Nancy Sims

Do you find copyright a little fuzzy? Over the next week we’ll bring you four helpful articles on copyright from the Envato Wiki. This article can be found on the wiki here, and answers some frequently asked questions about copyright.

Do you have any questions not covered in these articles? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll put something together to clarify.

What is Copyright?

You can find a full definition of copyright on the U.S. Copyright office website and how it relates to international copyright relations. Here is a short description:Copyright is a legal concept that gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it. The copyright holder has the right to choose if anyone else can use, adapt or resell their work and have the right to be credited for that work.

Only the copyright holder of a work may do the following:

  1. Make copies of the work and distribute them
  2. Create derivative works or alter the work in any way
  3. Sell the work in either its original version or in an altered form
  4. The creator of a work retains copyright to it even if they do not expressly tell you so. The only way you can get copyright to do the above is if the original copyright holder gives you permission to do so in writing.

The penalties for breaching copyright can be severe. The Envato Marketplaces take copyright violations very seriously and will not tolerate copyright violation on these websites.

What is a Copyright Infringement?

A copyright infringement or violation is the unauthorized use of work that is covered by copyright. If you use, alter or sell someone else’s work you are violating their copyright and are breaking the law. Here are some requirements to comply with copyright violations:The file must NOT include any brand names, logos or trademarks. For example: You cannot use an Apple or McDonalds logo, even if you have recreated it, photographed it, or altered it. You cannot use a photo of a watch if the brand name of the watch is legible.

  • The file must NOT include patented and trademarked product designs such as music players, computers, cars, toys and so on.
    For example: You cannot use an iPod, iPhone or Ferrari in your file, even if you have recreated it, photographed it, or altered it.
  • The file must NOT include photographs or replications of artworks such as paintings, sculptures and some architectural buildings.
    For example: You cannot use the Mona Lisa in a template design. You cannot use a photo or replication of the Sydney Opera House or Eiffel Tour, both of which are copyrighted monuments.
  • The file must NOT be based on any other file.
    For example: You cannot submit a website template that is similar to an established website. You cannot submit a file which is similar to a file for sale on another website.
  • The file must NOT be based on a tutorial.
    For example: You cannot submit a file that you created by following a tutorial, in whole or in part.
  • You must NOT upload files that have been decompiled from another file.
    For example: You cannot decompile a file and resell it, even if you alter it significantly.
  • You must NOT upload a file that uses free or purchased components from any other source.
    For example: You cannot download a file then use part or all of it in a file for sale.
  • You must NOT upload a file that uses government or military property.
    For example: You cannot submit a file that contains a presidential seal or military insignia.
  • You must NOT purchase or download any file then resell it.
    For example: You cannot submit a file that you have purchased or downloaded from another site.
  • You must not purchase or download any file, alter it, then resell it.
    For example: You cannot submit a file that you have purchased or downloaded from another site.
  • You must NOT upload a file that includes a recognizable human face unless you include a model release.
    For example: You cannot submit a video of a strangers face unless you have a model release signed by them. You cannot submit a flash file that includes a photo of the back of your own head, unless you sign a model release. Every model release must be included with any image of a person uploaded or the file will not be approved.

What Sorts of Content Can I Upload?

You can upload just about any type of content that you are the sole author of and for which you can grant the necessary rights to purchasers for. You CANNOT upload content that is derived from or makes use of other copyrighted content.You may upload content that includes code, photographs, videos, sound effects or other assets not directly produced by you IF AND ONLY IF you have an appropriate license or permission to do so. For example if a code library is provided with an open source license allowing its use in items for resale, then you are free to include it in your work. It is your responsibility to investigate the license for any files/items you include in your file.

Where video files or photographs depicting a human face are uploaded you will need a signed and scanned model release for all persons depicted.

You can learn more about copyright issues and our policy on them in the Copyright section of the marketplace wiki.

What should I do if I believe I am the victim of copyright infringement?

If you believe you are a victim of copyright infringement on any of the Envato Marketplaces, please inform support immediately. Please supply a link to your copyrighted work and the item page that you believe is infringing on your copyright. Envato Marketplaces takes copyright very seriously, and will immediately take appropriate action.

  • http://myows.com Myows

    I also have a lot of useful resources to help envato community members protect their copyright.

    The copyright basics for graphic designers series are a thorough and easy to understand primer – have a look here: http://myows.com/blog/copyright-basics-for-graphic-designers-part-1/

    • http://envato.com Adrian Try

      Great resource. Thanks for the link!

  • http://twitter.com/Creartinc Bilal Kh

    Really interesting read, I’ve learned a lot because of you … Keep it up.

    Thanks :)

  • Anil

    I cant use an ipod for my file? Did you see the thausend of files with ipods/ iphones/ ipads in it?

    • http://laranzjoe.blogspot.com lawrence77

      For example: You cannot use an iPod, iPhone or Ferrari in your file, *even if you have recreated it, photographed it, or altered it.*

  • Drock

    For example: You cannot submit a website template that is similar to an established website. You cannot submit a file which is similar to a file for sale on another website.

    I’d think that a large percentage of themes on Themeforest would be falling into this category.

  • http://www.pixldinc.com Prince

    Clear, concise and very informative. Nice post.

    – Cheers!