Important: Envato Content Policy and Portfolio Review

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Note: This post hasn't been updated in over 2 years.

As many of our Envato Marketplace authors will know, I recently posted up on Notes about Use of Assets in Previews on Envato Marketplaces. We’ve had a lot of discussion on the post and the forums, and I’m going to be following up on the post with a series here on Notes to clarify and educate authors more on these issues.

It’s really important to us that all our authors understand how to respect other people’s intellectual property. At the end of the day, intellectual property is what is being sold on the Envato Marketplaces, so it just makes sense that we should be respectful and mindful of others as we wish them to be of our own. There’s lots of articles in the Wiki’s Copyright section which are worth reading as a refresher.

Important: read our content policy and review your portfolio

In particular I wanted to draw your attention to our Content Policy article on the wiki. This was formerly posted under the title “Copyright Policy”, and we’ve just updated it with more detail.

It’s worth a close read to make sure you understand how Envato approaches important intellectual property issues. By and large Envato authors are both careful and respectful of intellectual property, but I think it’s always good to refresh and deepen your understanding.

So, we are asking all our authors to take a look at their portfolio of items across Envato marketplaces to make sure that they comply with our Content Policy and Membership Terms. I appreciate this may take some time if you have a large number of items, so we are giving our authors until March 12th to do this.

Remember, any asset that you haven’t created yourself must be properly licensed, including for use in previews. And all photos used within marketplace items, including previews, must be model released (which effectively excludes photos of celebrities). See What Images, Videos, Illustrations or Music can I use in My Item?

As we outline in our content policy, if an author is the subject of repeat DMCA take down notices, we will disable that author’s account. We may also disable author accounts for alleged violations of other intellectual property rights, or where we consider an author to have repeatedly violated our Content Policy or Membership Terms.

I’ve arranged for more posts here on Notes to clarify questions around usage of videos from YouTube, trademark and brand guidelines, and resources authors can use such as creative commons licensed items and preview files from other marketplaces. So stay tuned!

And if you have any questions you think would be worth clarifying, please ask in the comments. I’ll try to answer as many as I can, and turn any big ones into Notes posts!

  • AJ Clarke

    I vote for another month of 50% cash back at Photo Dune πŸ˜‰

    • Joe


      (awesome comment AJ… seriously LOL’d)

    • Xaver


    • Collis Ta’eed

      :-) And we should have another of those photo bundles too!!

    • Jack

      +1! I missed the first bundle so another would be ideal! Perhaps a ‘Perfect for Previews’ bundle, eh?

    • Badhon Ebrahim

      i have some awesome ideas to increase the sell in Photodune marketplace.ill be posting it soon.

      @everyone: Look at Collis, he is smiling. i think he is saying “Oh yeah!!! my PLANN is working….!! ”

      :) lol.

  • Alex

    It would be great! +1

  • Mark

    I dont understand this all, so some questions.

    – Live previews that we host our self have to have a license(if we use graphics that are not from our self)

    – Can we use graphic from Creaticia?

    – If we use for example icons do we have to include these license in our files(like a text file)

    • Patrik Larsson

      1) I think it’s best if Collis answers this question.

      2) No, unless you have prior concent from the original author you can’t use any graphics from Creattica.

      3) I think it’s best if Collis answers this question.

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hey Mark, here are some answers

      – Live previews that we host our self have to have a license (if we use graphics that are not from our self)

      That’s correct, any time you are showing an image you should make sure you have an appropriate license to do so. This includes on a live preview site.

      – Can we use graphic from Creattica?

      No you should not use graphics from Creattica unless you have a license to do so from the creator of the graphics.

      – If we use for example icons do we have to include these license in our files(like a text file)

      No you should not include license details in your files. However you should keep your own records somewhere of what you have used where, and the license for that usage. Similarly if you get written permission from someone to use an image, you should keep a copy of the email.

    • Mark

      Thanks Collis.

      Its time for Envato to update there assets with some cool new images πŸ˜‰

  • chikondi

    Very informative thanks, will check on that, i need a job at envato.


  • Zen Themes

    I have to ask, as I’m quite unclear: What does a VALID DMCA mean?

    Does Envato even verify if the material is infringing any copyright? Or if the person which claims the work, even exists?

    Or Envato just follows blindly the receipt of a DMCA notice and removes the item in cause.

    • Patrik Larsson

      Update: Please see Collis’ response below

      Yes, our Support Team investigate every and all DMCA very carefully. However, as we need to take precautions when handling DMCA tickets we will disable the file for the time being, while the investigation is under way.

      If everything’s clear the item will go back up but if there’s something still unclear or obvious, Support will get in touch with the items author with further information.

      Note that it might take some time for a DMCA ticket to be cleared as an investigation could take some time.

      Information about DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) can be found here.

    • Zen Themes

      Great! Thanks for the answer Patrik.

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hi Zen,

      Sorry for the confusion, the process Patrik has outlined is NOT the DMCA process.

      We do not investigate the content that a DMCA notice is given about. Support checks to make sure it’s a valid DMCA notice and then will act on such a notice.

      A valid DMCA is a properly formatted and signed one. It is a serious legal document signed under penalty of purgery.

      If the author feels that there is no basis to the complaint, they can file a counter-notification.

      If Envato receives a counter-notification, we will send a copy to the other person who sent the take-down notice, then wait 10 business days. Unless we receive a notice from that other person that they have filed a court proceeding against the author within that time, Envato will then reinstate the item within 14 business days from when we received the counter notification.

      You can learn more about the process in the wiki here:

      Non-DMCA related action
      On occasion we are made aware of an item which may have a copyright related issue, but not via a valid DMCA from the rights holder. When this happens, then the process that Patrik outlined will be followed.

      Our intent is not to provide a copyright review service, however in the course of business if something is a blatant violation of our membership terms, we will take action to have the item removed, and possibly take further action with the author.

    • Patrik Larsson

      Omg! I’m so sorry, I totally mixed thoose two up :( my bad!

      Don’t know what happened there and there’s no excuse except that I mixed them up somehow. Must have had a blackout or something..

      Thanks, Collis for correcting me and sorry for mixing it up :(

    • Collis Ta’eed

      No worries at all Patrik!

  • artnook

    Please check out my portfolio and tell me if everything is okay, or should do some repairs, thank you.

    • Carmen

      Hi artnook, unfortunately we cannot check your portfolio for you. You will need to look carefully through your items and make sure you have appropriate licenses for your portfolio. I hope this helps.

    • artnook

      Thank you Carmen.

  • nimbleo

    @Collis – “so we are giving our authors until March 12th”, what will happen after this date?

    I’ve noticed a few files that use Pixar images, etc, and was wondering if these themes would be impacted?

    • jagutierrez

      @Collis – β€œso we are giving our authors until March 12th”, what will happen after this date?

      Yes, what will ocurr then?

    • Xaver

      I guess the world goes down…

      …or your item get disabled

  • sajadcheraghi

    in this time until March 12th . we must change and reupload previews that did not had licenes . ?
    i purchased some pictures but i cant find that website .
    so i must change that pictures . ok?

    (i think if envato had beautifull pictures in the assets we never need to use othe pictures) .

    look like envato logo. the logo is perfect and in all of logo idents previews we use that .

    but i think assetst library have not enogh quality , changing assets will be helpfull for authors.

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hi Sajadcheraghi,

      As a rule you should only be uploading content with images that have been properly licensed.

      If you know of any images in your portfolio which haven’t had a license, you should make the change.

      I agree about the asset library, however you should know that you can use watermarked versions of any PhotoDune photo in a preview, so long as you include a linkback to the PhotoDune item page in your item description. Essentially this means you have a much greater choice of image to use.

      And of course you can always license an image and not even have the watermark :-)

  • feeleep

    How come and WHY review staff at Envato marketplaces did allow usage and sale of potentially intimidating content that wasn’t fitting Content Policy?

    I know it has been mentioned multiple times but if authors use (for example) copyright protected Pixar images on their own server and don’t distribute it with files being sold at Envato marketplaces – authors should be responsible at their own. Some files have already been sold in thousands of copies and buyers became owners of illegal material that was illegally distributed by Envato. Is that true? What if buyers start to raise charges against Envato? The whole situation is both funny and damn serious.

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hi feeleep,

      Our intention with the review component of the Envato Marketplaces is not to provide a copyright investigation. Authors when uploading items are asserting that the entire work is their own.

      I don’t believe that our marketplaces have been used to illegally distribute materials. By and large our authors are doing the right thing.

      In the last few weeks we’ve given our reviewers a little more leeway to use their judgement with regards blatantly obvious imagery (e.g. a picture of a celebrity they know which is really unlikely to be properly licensed), however even so this is still not intended as a copyright review. All authors should be aware that they bear responsibility for the items they upload, and should behave accordingly.

      The content policy, and these articles, are to help educate authors to their responsibilities to ensure things like usage of Pixar images in a preview don’t occur (unless those images have been licensed correctly).

  • DesignContest

    Please check out my portfolio and tell me if everything is okay, or should do some repairs, thank you.

    • Carmen

      Hi Designcontest, unfortunately we cannot check your portfolio for you. You will need to look carefully through your items and make sure you have appropriate licenses for your portfolio. I hope this helps.

  • Cosmin

    So, if I contact a photographer on Flickr and he allows me to use his work in the live preview, guess that’s ok, right?

    It would only be a matter of me coming to an agreement with him on how to use the image, right? (ex. only in live preview, with attribution, etc)

    • Carmen

      Yes, also make sure you get everything in writing to verify that you have his or her permission.

  • Ricky

    How does it work with fonts. If for example I use a custom font in the logo (normally the theme name) – if the logo appears in the preview and in the downloadable version as a PNG file would that create a problem?

    • aurove

      This is my point of view:

      If you use a custom font in the logo (you have the license to use that font) and the download includes only the PNG file there will be no problem as is a PNG not the font itself.

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hi Ricky,

      If you are not redistributing the font itself, then it is acceptable to use a font in an image or graphic.

      To be clear though, you should not take the font files and place them in an item for redistribution – unless you have an express license to do so.

  • Shegy

    Hi mates,
    I have some questions about PhotoDune photos usage in the templates.

    1) If I would like to use a PD photo only in template preview I need to buy Regular licence?
    2) How many times can I use photo from PD with regular licence? Can I use it for only one template preview or can it be used in several previews?
    3) If I would like to use a PD photo as a part of the template design, not only in preview but in downlad package also? Does the extended licence cover that?

    Thanks for your help, I`ll need to replace creattica images on my templates :(

    ah, one more thing, is there a way to download my own file?

    • Patrik Larsson

      This forum post should answer any questions you have about that :)

  • aurove

    Can we use screenshots of the envato sites in our preview images? At PSDtuts+ we are allowed to use it, so i am guessing we can use it at GR as well, can we?

    • Patrik Larsson

      Yes, using screenshots from Envato sites in the previews are fine, just as long as one don’t include them in the main file.

  • EFEKT_Studio


    If I use images from photodune, and stock footage from videohive (which I bought) in my previews, do I need:

    a) to inform the reviewer about links
    b) to write the links to files in item description

    p.s. please don’t tell me I have to do “b)” for every item.


    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hi EFEKT_Studio
      1) If you have licensed the PD images or VH stock footage, you do not need to watermark it or link to it in your item description. Although, you could chose to do so and your fellow authors would be eternally grateful and might return the favour one day! πŸ˜‰

      2) Alternatively, for any Envato marketplace item you can use the watermarked version, and link to it in your item description, without licensing it. This is a license granted by our terms & conditions.

    • EFEKT_Studio

      Ok, thanks for the info Collis.

  • Souldesign

    This is crazy,

    if I would like to use my own images, as a photographer, for the preview in AE slideshow project, I have to ask 10 friends around the world, to give me signed Model Release forms, including their Name and Adress?!! :-(((

    Soon we can just use the barcodes or a black solids..

  • imultime

    Hi Collis,

    I’ve bought a huge number of images from istockphoto over years during my role as a web/graphic designer. I don’t have track of all the invoices but I have acquired them on a legal base. Is it a problem if I want to use them as preview on my XHTML templates on themeforest? Obviously, I won’t be including those on the download(source) files. Will I be breaching any copyright this way?


    • Ricky

      I asked istockphoto this same question and here’s their response

      “If the images are only used as place holders in the sample templates, you only require the standard license.”

      So it seems images in the preview versions only should be okay.

  • InventGroup

    Hello, I have some questions:

    1. What about embeeding videos from YouTube or Vimeo and so on? Those services provide tools for embeeding and generate links to place on other websites. Can I embeed those videos on previews of my themes? If yes, what conditions those videos should meet?

    2. What about videos of cities and so on, when you have many people? Do I need to ask all those people from the video about their permission, name and address, for example when I want to use a video of city in my preview file ?:) What if I’m an author of the video?

    3. When I’m a photographer and want to sell image of a city, I take my camera and photograph buildings, streets. Those buildings are properties of someone. Do I need to have a permission of the property holder? When I photograph streets do I need to ask all people about their permission, name and address?

    4. What when I photograph nature? I take my camera and go to the nearest National park for example. Do I need to have a permission of someone to take photos and sell? Or when I go for a walk when I live in village and I take photos of nearest fields. Do I need to have permission for that? I’m not owner of the terrain that I photograph and I may not be an owner of buildings visible on photo and I may don’ tknow people far in the picture. What should I do then? You have many photos of cities, landscapes and crowded streets on PhotoDune, could you answer my question – do those authors provide such permissions? When they have more than 20 people on the photo? Or when they photograph not their own building or terrain?

    Kind regards

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hi InventGroup!
      1. You can use YouTube videos in your previews as long as you use their embedded player and only their embedded player. Vimeo does not allow use of their videos for any ‘commercial’ use, so do not use Vimeo videos in your previews.

      Your other detailed questions about model releases are fantastic, and we’re going to address model release questions in a separate notes post. Stay tuned!

    • InventGroup

      Thank you

      So I can’t use Vimeo videos even if i’m author of the video. What about Dailymotion?

      Kind regards

  • John Smith

    Just to clarify – we can use elements of our own works (for example, on sale on GR) in previews of TF and other works?

  • nimbleo


    So does attribution to js libraries, images, etc, need to be outlined in our documentation files in the main download file?

    Or on the item description page?

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hi Nimbleo
      You don’t need to submit actual licence documentation for these assets. If you choose to “attribute” the sources of assets you’ve licensed in to use in your item preview or downloaded file, you can chose to do this in your item description. And if you’ve used watermarked items from other Envato marketplaces, you do have to link to the other item, from your item description.

    • nimbleo

      Thanks Collis.

      Though I was referring to the fact that if I have made attributions to Flickr images and/or other assets within my documentation file (which is included upon download), do I still need to also include these attributions in the item description page?

      Hope that makes more sense…

      Thanks in advance

  • L

    I have a question about when using the mock ups bought on GR for our previews:
    When we upload an item should we state that a mock up was bought on GR and include the link? I remember mentioning this in the message for the reviewer (especially when a mock up contained some kind of texture) but I’m not sure if I did this for every uploaded item that was using a mock up?


  • arifur rahman

    Hello,Collis Ta’eed

    Will we able to use any water market image of photodune and also told that the preview image is from that author.

    Or we have to buy the licence also to show in preview with watermarket. I didn’t understand your photodune answer which you describe above.

  • Mikalaj

    The best way is purchase one picture and use it for all previews.

    • TrueThemes


  • Niall

    Useful info. Bookmarked!

  • duckscode

    What you think if we upload the images on our server for demo preview and mention it clearly in our documentation that we don’t own the copyrights + in final version we just put some sample place holders instead of those images and by that no copyrighted material will be uploaded at Envato server and we will be the responsible for our server.

  • sorachar tangjitjaroen

    Thank you.

  • BaGeRa

    Hi Collis,

    Really thank you for all this informations, February is a very hard month we need to take care and update our portfolio ASAP πŸ˜‰

    Good luck to all members !!

  • duckscode

    Its easy to search free high quality images in Google


    and type: intext:”some rights reserved” + “YOUR KEYWORDS”

    Have fun :)

  • duckscode

    and be sure the image has “some rights reserved” license only.

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  • Amaury

    I think I have nothing to worry, because all my sounds the design from scratch. πŸ˜‰

  • InventGroup

    Hello Collis, you told me to not include Vimeo previews into Live Demo of Themes, but it seems that you still accept themes with Vimeo videos. Could you please explain this? Because I don’t know anymore, should I embeed those videos or not?

    Kind regards

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  • pixedelic

    I always asked the permission to use photos or videos to the author himself.

    Sometimes they are verbal agreements (with photographers that I personally know), sometimes a simple mail or a comment on the Vimeo/YouTube/Flickr wall.

    Is that enough?

    thank you

  • Danny


    I am about to upload/release a new template to Themeforest and I got stuck because I read this post and I feel more and more discomfort.


    I used some icons, ONLY if they are free for commercial works. And for all of them there is always a copyright ReadMe.txt file in my item to link back to authors, even if they don’t ask for it.


    I have used some desktop wallpapers for my content. If the wallpaper description said that it’s free for own use but not for commercial use, I didn’t use any. BUT most of them had no copyright claim on the download pages. I guess I should be exonerated in such case, because I don’t think there is anyone to come and say, hey we made that wallpaper, we want our rights (money).

    I cannot be banned or subject to item deletion, since I’ve done one legal license in my life (I mean signed paper contracts) and I know I’ve done my very best to protect everybody’s author rights in my works.


    My latest item now (coming soon) features some new blogging techniques, quite high quality and involves embedding videos from Youtube/Vimeo/etc. I see nobody to say this video is protected by copyright laws. I am only embedding that video.

    After all, if it is available for embedding, why not use it in a live preview for my items? I cannot use my own video uploads, it’s not the same quality… I didn’t downloaded the video and redistributed, I just embedded it into some content.

    I this case again I cannot be subject to item deletion or account deletion.

  • InventGroup

    I think that Envato stuff doesn’t answer to our questions on this topic any more πŸ˜‰

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