Summary: This article explains the concept of Exclusivity, and the rules you will need to be aware of if you choose to be an Exclusive author.
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What is exclusivity?
As an author on Envato, you have the choice to offer your items on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis with Envato. If you choose to offer your items on an exclusive basis, then you’ll benefit from lower author fees, (so you take home more money) but this means you cannot sell, distribute, or even give away for free your items (or any related items) outside of Envato. This includes on your own website.
Do all of my items need to be exclusive?
Exclusivity is set at the account level and is opt-in. While exclusivity applies to your account, it only applies to the items (and related items) you sell via that account. In other words, being an exclusive author with us doesn’t mean that everything you create needs to be exclusive to Envato. It’s the items, not you as a creator, that are exclusive to Envato.
If you would like to make some of your items available on an exclusive basis, and others available on a non-exclusive basis, then you can create two accounts - one exclusive account and one non-exclusive account.
You can change the exclusivity status of an account at any time through your Account Settings, but when opting out (changing to non-exclusive) you will need to wait 30 days until the change takes effect. At the end of the 30 day period (from the day on which you change your account status), you will be free to offer the items in that account outside of Envato and the author fee you pay to Envato will change to the non-exclusive rate. Opting into exclusivity takes effect immediately.
How does exclusivity relate to Envato Elements?
Think of your Exclusivity Setting as Envato-wide. So if you set your account as Exclusive on Envato Market, you can still sell those same items on Envato Elements and PlaceIt as they are all part of Envato, but you couldn’t sell these items commercially anywhere else. Your exclusivity status and the associated commission rate will not affect what you can earn through Elements or Placeit.
If you are accepted onto Envato Elements (apply here!) you will learn that almost all items that are on Elements, are also on Market. The exception to this is Graphics items which can be uploaded to Elements independently of Market. Graphics items that exist solely on Elements are considered non-exclusive.
Does exclusivity extend to related items?
Yes. If you choose to make an item available on an exclusive basis, then any items you create in the same Product Family must also be sold/distributed exclusively on Envato. A Product Family is two or more items that appear to customers to be related, usually through a branding or naming convention. These relationships include, but are not limited to:
- Item Versions: Items that appear to be ‘versions’ or otherwise from the same 'product line'. Item versions might differ in their style, feature set, name or target audience, but appear to end users to be connected or related in some way. For example:
- MyItem and MyItem Lite
- MyItem and MyItem Pro
- MyItem and MyItem Remix
- MyItem and [Item Formerly Known as MyItem]
- Item + Add-ons: A core item and its add-on components, where the add-ons are designed to enhance or extend the core item, and only work in conjunction with the core item (not standalone). Example: a WordPress plugin and its family of add-on plugins; or a video template and modules of additional scenes/presets.
- Multiplatform Ports: Items that have been ported to work on other platforms or with other software/technologies. Example: MyTheme for WP, MyTheme for Magento, MyTheme for Drupal, etc; or MyTemplate for After Effects and MyTemplate for Apple Motion.
Service Delivery Variants: Items delivered in different ways, such as via a hosted product package or SaaS offering, that provide access to the item or a comparable and substitutable end use of the item. Example: MyTheme and MyTheme Hosted.
Envato reserves the right to determine whether two items fall within a Product Family. The primary test we apply is: would a reasonable customer conclude that the items are related?
Exclusivity of items within a Product Family also applies even if we don’t currently support/allow the submission of the related item on Envato. For example, even though we don’t currently allow separate “lite” versions of WordPress themes on Envato Market, this does not permit you to instead offer the “lite” version of your exclusive theme outside of Envato. Read on for some additional clarifications and a few special exceptions.
Are there any exceptions to exclusivity for items that belong to the same Product Family?
Yes, there are several key exceptions to exclusivity for items from the same Product Family.
- AudioJungle authors are permitted to offer personal listening versions of their exclusive music tracks via iTunes® (and other similar personal-use platforms).
- Envato authors of WordPress themes and plugins are permitted to offer lite versions (a version with reduced/limited functionality) of their exclusive themes and plugins for free on wordpress.org.
- Envato authors are permitted to offer add-ons to their own exclusive core items both on Envato and/or their own personal website only.
- If the core item itself is offered solely outside of Envato (either by the author or a third party), Envato authors may still offer add-ons for it exclusively via Envato, even if they would otherwise be considered part of a Product Family.
- VideoHive authors are permitted to offer different clips from exclusive video footage taken in the same filming session outside of Envato, even if those clips would otherwise be considered part of a Product Family.
- If Envato does not currently support an item category for a specific platform, Envato authors are permitted to offer multi-platform ports of their own exclusive items for that platform on their own personal website only, provided the author notifies us (so we can look into supporting the platform) and those items must be offered exclusively on Envato once the item category exists or the platform otherwise becomes supported on Envato.
Apart from these key exceptions, there are no other circumstances in which you can make your exclusive items (or related items) available outside of Envato without breaching this exclusivity policy.
What about similar items that are not presented to customers as being related?
If an author’s item is sufficiently different to their existing exclusive items for it to be accepted on Envato as a separate item, then you can offer it elsewhere as long as it’s not presented to customers as being related to the exclusive item (see the section above on related items).
However, if the author’s item is determined by Envato staff as being ‘too similar’ to their existing exclusive items and is not acceptable as a separate item, then you are not permitted to offer it elsewhere, even if it’s not presented to customers as being related to the exclusive item. This applies to rejected related items as well.
In determining whether items are ‘too similar’, Envato staff will look at a number of comparison factors between the two items, including but not limited to differences in features, functionality, design and utility, and make a call based on their reasonably held opinion as content specialists.
What about services?
You’re free to offer publicly available services and productized services in relation to your exclusive items outside of Envato, provided that the services do not result in the delivery of those items or an effective substitution, as per the Service Delivery Variants restriction above.
Non-delivery services include things like training on how to use your item, support services that go beyond any item support services that you’ve agreed to provide via Envato and installation and customisation services in respect of an item for which a license has already been purchased from Envato.
However, you are not permitted to offer publicly available services or productized services (including SaaS versions) related to your exclusive items outside of Envato that would result in a customer getting access to your item or a substitutable end product based on your item, in circumstances where the customer has not purchased a license on Envato. For example, you can’t include your own exclusive theme as part of a “MyTheme Website Solution” service available through your own site. You can only offer these kinds of services to customers who have purchased a license from Envato for your exclusive item.
Providing general website hosting or other publically available services not related to your exclusive items is acceptable.
What about my own projects or freelance work?
You may make use of your own exclusive items in connection with your own personal projects or general freelance activities, without requiring the purchase of a license from Envato, provided the projects or activities are not directly related to the item or part of a publicly available service as prohibited above.
For example, you can use your own exclusive music track to help create a promotional video for a client or personal project. You can use your own exclusive theme to help create a customized website for a client project.
Remember, you are not permitted to buy your own items on Envato (exclusive or not) under our Author Terms as a precaution against fraudulent or disreputable conduct.
Does exclusivity extend to products and services offered by third parties (including other authors)?
If you choose to make your items available on an exclusive basis, then you are not permitted to have any involvement with any person or business that offers any products or services that, if offered by you, would breach this item exclusivity policy (and in this context, ‘involvement’ includes as an owner, partner or party to any arrangement that directly or indirectly authorises the offering of those products or services).
This means, for example:
- If you are an author of a theme sold exclusively on Envato, you should not authorise an external developer to create an add-on for that theme and sell it outside Envato, nor should you authorise another Envato author to create a multi-platform port of that theme and sell it outside of Envato (even if they also sell it on Envato non-exclusively).
- If you are an author of an exclusive music track, you should not authorise an external artist to create a remix of that track and sell it outside Envato, nor should you authorise another Envato author to create and sell a remix of that track outside of Envato (even if they also sell it on Envato non-exclusively).
What happens if I breach exclusivity?
This depends on the nature and extent of the breach. We may:
- Require you to change the status of your account to non-exclusive or make this change on your behalf. When your account status changes to non-exclusive, the author fee you pay for use of our platform and services will increase the non-exclusive fee. You can see more about this in the Envato Author Fee Schedule. We may also increase the author fee you pay to the non-exclusive fee during the interim period from the time we become aware of the breach until the account status change is effective.
- Or, disable your account if your breach is considered serious enough.
- If we determine your items are within the same Product Family then it’s likely we will require you to change the status of your account to non-exclusive.