Use of Assets in Previews on Envato Marketplaces

 70   Tweet

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

Over the last few days there has been some discussion about items being sold on GraphicRiver and ThemeForest that include apparently unlicensed images from film, television and of celebrities. Specifically discussion about these images being used in preview files.

As you know, any images or other assets you use in your items for sale on all the Envato Marketplaces, must be properly licensed for such usage. This includes usage in item previews on GraphicRiver and ThemeForest – including screenshots and live previews hosted on external servers.

Important: Read This Article

I’d like to encourage every author to read this article on what to consider when including assets that are not your own (third party assets), when creating an item for sale: What Images, Videos, Illustrations or Music Can I Use in My Items?

It is important to be careful when choosing images to place in your preview files. Please ensure they are licensed correctly. Whenever you submit an item you formally agree, by ticking a box, that:

“Any images, sounds, video, code, flash, or other assets that are not my own work, have been appropriately licensed for use in the file preview or main download. Other than these items, this work is entirely my own and I have full rights to sell it on [site].”

Responsibility For Items, and How We Respond to Infringement Notifications

Our review process is intended as a quality and technical review only, and not a copyright or licensing review (our reviewers can’t possibly be copyright and IP detectives for all components in each item!). Authors are responsible for ensuring that their items do not infringe the IP of others. We do everything practicable on our marketplaces to support this, and so, for example, we have instituted a DMCA process. Where someone gives us a valid DMCA notice (ie alleges that they are the copyright holder and that their copyright is infringed), we remove the item immediately.

In addition, we have the discretion to reject items during the review process if there is a potential issue that is blatantly obvious to the reviewer. Our reviewers will be making more use of this discretion moving forward. However, this cannot by necessity be a guarantee on all copyright and IP issues, and hence our use of the DMCA procedures. We also reserve the right, at our discretion, to address issues if they come to our attention apart from through our DMCA procedures.

If an author is the subject of more than one complaint, it could lead to account disablement, so please understand your obligations. There are a number of articles on the wiki about copyright and our DMCA processes.

I believe the vast majority of items on our marketplaces are not problematic. I hope that this Notes post will remind all authors that they should take this obligation seriously.

At the end of the day, for me personally, I feel we are all in the business of intellectual property, so not only is it a legal requirement, but it simply makes sense that we should in turn be diligent in respecting other people’s IP and copyright.

If you are an author affected by this issue, I thank you in advance for your cooperation in removing any infringing assets within items.

  • Fandy

    Nice info Collis, many thanks :)

  • Smartik

    Informative. Hope this will help many authors to be sure when creating items. Thanks. :)

  • Steven Gliebe

    Good, I hope this means people will stop using Pixar frames. It’s blatantly illegal, dangerous for the author, dangerous for Envato, and gives those authors an advantage over law-abiding authors who spend extra time and money obtaining legal stock that are often inferior.

    • Nathan Brown

      Completely agree with Steven… I’ve struggled many times with this same issue. It’s easy to make a theme look great with a ton of beautiful Pixar stills. :-)

  • Giallo

    Thank you for the clarifications. All the discussions were made to preserve the markeplaces integrity, and not for blaming or whining.

    The fact that you told to reviewers to be more selective and to not accept what’s clearly copyrighted, as I suggested, is a great move.

    I hope authors will understand the danger wich stays behind the temptation of using a copyrighted image. Not for him but for the whole community.

  • Matt

    Thanks for the clarification, I’ve been wondering about this recently. I’ve seen some flyer designs that use celebrities in them and I’ve wondered why they were approved? Doesn’t that violate these terms?

  • AJ

    I agree with @matt, although it shouldn’t be the reviewers job to make sure about this.

    Either way this is why I buy all my images from PhotoDune, the best stock photo site ever!

  • Dany Duchaine

    Oh that’s funny. We use these kind of images in our live preview for years .. but now that there is PhotoDune, we receive an important note in our dashboard for this post + for photodune promotion .. that is just ridiculous.

    As I always always always said … when you go buy a TV .. they put films there .. do they pay SPECIAL rights to show the movie ? NO .. you have to see what the TV look like right? so they put a movie there ..

    Anyway, well played, I don’t want my item to be disabled so I’m gonna buy some stock image at Photodune.

    More money in your pocket.

    • Rik de Vos

      Yes they put a movie on the TV, but they still buy the movie first. So you can put images in your live preview but you’ll have to pay for the images.

    • Steven Gliebe

      I understand that some people will be upset that they have to edit their items. Since Envato was approving items that everybody knew were using copyrighted material from Disney, I think some thought that it actually was okay. People began to copy each other.

      But try telling a judge that it was okay for you to do something illegal because you once saw somebody else do it first. That won’t work.

      Regarding PhotoDune, check out iStockPhoto or look for CC-licensed stuff on Flickr. You don’t have to buy something from somebody unless you actually want it.

    • Jordan McNamara

      As part of our terms and conditions, you can use *watermarked* PhotoDune items in your previews without a license or explicit permission from the author.

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hey Dany, I’m sorry if these two things came across as related, they certainly weren’t meant to be. You should by all means choose where you spend your money on licensing photos to determine the best possible source. In fact there are sources of free images that you are welcome to use (the asset library, Flickr creative commons commercial images, PhotoDune watermarked images).

    • Dany Duchaine

      Well, I have to say I talked to fast. I went on PhotoDune and these guys are TALENTED. Bought 30+ images and filled my new theme with them : :)

      Quite satisfied with the result and I will continue to buy stuff from PD. It make my theme look better and I’m happy to contribute to the success of these authors.

      And that 50% was pretty darn cool :) Will it come back soon?

    • Nev


  • jo

    I was just wondering if there is to be a clean up? I understand from reading the forum posts that some authors files have been removed. However, when having a quick scan I can still see drinks labels, celebrities etc?….

    • Dany Duchaine

      No they won’t be removed, it just to scare us so we buy photodune images.

  • EyesOn


    So, one solution is to buy from and to use these images in our demo? I suppose that if images will be not included in theme archive, but only in demo, then we can buy the Regular licence, not the Extended licence?


  • BaGeRa

    Thank you Ta’eed for this notice, but why not adding more images and categories in The Asset Library to give us more choice and flexibility when creating item previews.

    Thank you…

  • caesar

    Isee. May I use movie poster with watermarks for example. Also all key-arts, posters are free and I don’t see a problem with small images from films with watermarks on the preview files… could you explain this moment.

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hi caesar,

      Thanks for the question, unless you have a specific license to use an image in your files, it shouldn’t be used. I don’t believe there are any services licensing movie posters for this purpose, so unfortunately I don’t think you should use those kinds of images.

      Hope that helps!

  • wyeko

    That’s good, but one thing is for sure. Asset library needs to be expanded.

    • Matt

      Yes! Expanded library would be great

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Fair point! I’ll talk to the team about expanding it up!

  • Server

    I was always wondering, every time i was looking at market place items i was thinking about do they really have any rights to post model photos or celebrity photos, and i have never foun right answer about how it’s allowed. But now i see that i was right and marketplace can’t sell items with preview images taken from well known sources, that are really copyrighted! Thanks for clearing this for me.

  • Buchmanndesign

    I assume that we can get by with a regular photodune license in our previews. But many offer full data XML files for WordPress import… It’s easy to include all images this way. Does including the images in the XML violate the agreement? (even though the theme buyer would eventually replace the images with their own)

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hi Buchmann, I’m not 100% sure I follow the second part of the question, but I’ll see if I can answer.

      So you can definitely get by with a regular photodune license for images used in your previews.

      If the images are included in the preview file by way of an XML file, which is also used in the main download (i.e. so when you install the WordPress theme and don’t change the settings it more or less hotlinks to the preview images) then I’d say you should update the download file to have a blank XML file. Although the alternative is not technically including the images in the download there’s a good chance it will confuse the buyers.

      Did I understand that correctly? If not let me know!!

  • Matthew Butler

    Glad you guys posted this article… There has been quite a few files posted on videohive that the images used in the preview could not possibly be the correct use of license.

  • Marcfolio

    Finally they crack down on it. I’m guessing this is what happened to ormanclarks file that he mentioned on twitter. Funny how this is how activeden has been from the get go. We always complained that TF got to use whatever they wanted in their previews.

    It’s tough to come up with good content to make a template shine. Ime to produce some good stuff.

  • Matt

    also check out:

    you can use most of their images with only simple attribution required

  • behzad

    thanks for information

  • THP –

    This makes a lot of sense, and frankly it has been worrying me since I first saw it on ThemeForest.

    Don’t think it is a scare campaign designed to force anyone into buying from PhotoDune.

    But if you want to, feel free – my portfolio especially! 😉

  • decneo

    Could I use steve jobs’images on my template preview.I’m not sure if it’s illegally,I have another images but this template is suitable for him.thank you.

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hi decneo,

      I’d say the answer is no, the reason being that the photograph would need to have been licensed for use as stock which means Steve Jobs would have needed to have signed a model release for such a purpose – which I can’t imagine would have happened.

      So unfortunately I don’t think you should do that.

      Hope that helps!

  • exe

    Hello, I would like to know if anybody can help me, for example if I make a project using some social logos like facebook, youtube, twitter etc. do I include these logo images within the project download file? I saw many projects on videohive that use these logos and I don’t know if the authors uploaded the project along with the images wich are copyrightet, or they included some links for the buyer to get them? Please Help!

    • Collis Ta’eed

      Hi exe,

      Good question, let me get back to you on this, I’m not 100% certain!

    • cloud9

      hi exe

      the authors of videohive who have created the project using social networking icons. Either they have downloaded those icons which are free to use anyway they wants to use it. or They have created the icons. or they have have created 4-5 icons and if anybody needs more icons they have provided the link in the zip file

  • matt

    you just need to use a set that has a license that allows you to redistribute the icons in a theme that is for sale. Here’s a set you can use:

    • exe

      Wow thankyou so much you’ve made my day!

  • GSPro

    Thanks, very useful

  • Pingback: Submission Tip: Check Out Patrik’s Useful Collection of Stock Photos | Envato Notes()

  • Basspartout

    just to be absolutely sure:

    “can I use *watermarked* PhotoDune items in my previews without a license or explicit permission from the author?”

    for example, can I make a “item/cover picture” for my latest audiojungle track and use a watermarked photo dune picture for it?

    • matt

      further to this point. Can we use photo dune images in our actual download package? With a note to the buyer that they must go and buy the image on photodune if they want to use it?

    • Collis Ta’eed

      hey guys, good questions. You *can* use a watermarked PhotoDune image in a preview without a license or explicit permission provided there is a linkback to the PhotoDune image page from your item description. And the watermark of course needs to be visible.

      In answer to Matt’s question, PhotoDune images cannot be used in your download package unless you have an Extended License for that image.

  • Dalibor

    What about all the mockups of apple products on graphicriver. They are not just using the trademark look of the product for the preview images, but they sell the image-mockup of those product as well.

  • FlashBob

    I’ve always said that the asset library needs to be bigger, and I know many of us (Authors) ready to submit their works/ photos there.

    Don’t know if that’ll happen now or not.

  • Youpa

    I’m using shutterstock images in my files. Is this a problem?

    • redshinestudio

      i was using shutterstock & fotolia image so what i do now.. ?.,,, plz tell….

    • Collis Ta’eed

      You can use stock images in your preview files so long as the Shutterstock or Fotolia license allows this. I’m fairly certain they would allow this type of usage, but you should read the license terms carefully.

      One thing a regular license from these sites almost certainly will not cover is use of the images in the download file. For that you usually need some sort of extended rights license.

  • matt

    Ok, here’s a clear example… Check out this item

    So the author is using some model shots and has clearly indicated that the license to the photos are not included in the price of the template.

    So when someone goes and buys this template, are the images included in the template? Then it’s on the buyer not to use them? Or is it on the designer to not include the actual images in the template? So they are only used for the item preview? Thanks

    • BoxedCrative

      Firstly you can’t include links to items. Secondly the images are not included and should not be used unless the author has permission to do so.

  • hide

    Thanks for the clarification

  • m-max

    Thanks for the that information

  • fiz0l

    just to make it straight, Can I use watermarked photodune images in my psd template preview without licence (images not included in the package) and just giving a list of photodoune links to the images to buy if someone is interested? hm?

    • Collis Ta’eed

      You *can* use a watermarked PhotoDune image in a preview without purchasing a regular license or getting explicit permission provided there is a linkback to the PhotoDune image page from your item description. And the watermark of course needs to be visible.

      The PhotoDune terms and conditions grant other authors a sort of comping license to show images on the Envato Marketplaces provided it links back and promotes the original photo.

  • fiz0l

    Thank you,

    If I resize image to small dimensions, the watermark isn’t visible so I take it from the original image by removing white background, applying it to the image and merging the layers. Is that correct? Hmm… Don’t you have that watermark in png or psd? I think i’ve seen it somewhere.

  • Rasel ahmed

    Thanks for everything

  • Cloud Stone

    If Envato can provide a resource library including some absolutely free assets for use in screenshots or preivew, it’s cool.

    • Cloud Stone

      Sorry, I found it now – Envato Asset Library!

  • fiz0l

    As far as I can see there are only watermarks for videohive and audiojungle. I grabbed logos in vectors from here: to use in previews.

  • Evan

    Can I embed video from YouTube?

  • Juri
  • Maik

    This topic was overdue!!! !!! Finally this article hits the surface and I hope the so-called “digital-natives” think twice before they create “their” stuff in the future! Also i hope envato staff will reject any submissions that might break this legality rules.

  • mafloral

    Hi all

    I was just reading about copyrights on images that some of us use in our files.

    The copyrights state that you are not allowed to sell the image if it’s not yours because that would infringe the copyright laws. The thing is tho that we are not selling the image we are only using it in our previews and use created or licensed images in our download file. So in reality we are not braking any laws by using these images in the previews.


  • Jorge Martinez

    hello, if i want to put work of some else like photographers or an agency, do i need their permission or just need to put the credit?

  • Pingback: Embedding Videos in Item Previews | Envato Notes()

  • Vyacheslav Kasimov

    Answer please, if I can buy pictures on PhotoDune with an simple license, and use them to preview in a template for the ThemeForest and on the GraphicRiver?

  • Pingback: Using Photos of People and Celebrities in Items | Envato Notes()

  • Pingback: Important: Envato Content Policy and Portfolio Review | Envato Notes()

  • Pingback: Top 10 Envato Notes Topics for 2012 | Envato Notes()

  • Arturo

    Where do i get the same watermark solution envato uses?
    I am a photographer and relly need this