When creating items for Envato Market you may wish to use other assets that you did not create, to showcase your item. For example, if you create a slider for a website banner you may want to populate the slider with photos. Another example might be if you’ve created a logo reveal and require an audio track to play during your item’s preview. This article will explain what assets you can use in your items and some IP issues you’ll need to be aware of. Before we go on to the full details please keep in mind the 2 main rules:
- You should only use assets in your items that you own or have a license to use.
- You can also use watermarked Envato Market assets in your item previews, if you give the other author credit.
What are assets?
Assets are photos, illustrations, videos, code or music (and so on) that may form a part of your item, or item preview. Your item is what you actually license on Envato market.
Many items on Envato Market have a preview as well as a main file. The preview files are only viewed online, whereas the main files are downloaded and distributed to buyers. This makes the rules for using assets in each the preview and main files different, although assets still need to be licensed for preview use if you haven’t used watermarked Envato Market assets.
Assets in Item Previews
The term item preview covers both previews and live demos of an Envato Market item, regardless of where they are hosted. Assets used in item previews need to be properly licensed for commercial use. As the asset is not being resold or redistributed, you will not need a re-sale or re-distribution license as you would for use of that asset in the main file. However, you will still need a license for a commercial use (reproduction) for use within the preview. It’s important to read each license of any asset you’re intending to use carefully to make sure your use of the asset complies with the license terms.
Can I use watermarked assets from the Envato Market in my item’s preview?
You may use watermarked Envato Market items (with the Envato watermark) in this way:
- You do not need to ask permission of the other author of the watermarked asset
- You can only use the watermarked asset in your item preview, not the download file
- You need to credit the author of the watermarked asset and link back to the original asset page in your item description.
Can I use non watermarked assets from the Envato Market in my item’s preview?
You can if you buy a Regular License. This will allow you to use the asset you’ve purchased in your item preview – you don’t need to use the watermark, and you don’t need to credit the author or provide a link back.
Can I use unlicensed (watermarked or otherwise) content from other sites in my item previews?
You cannot use unlicensed assets. Almost all stock services and any assets sourced from search engines do not give you the right to use any file even if you leave the watermark in (Envato does not allow watermarks from others in the Market preview).
What if I license an asset on another site, can I use it in my previews?
You can use the asset in your item preview if you have licensed it from a service which gives you this right. This is a commercial use license and you are responsible for ensuring that you have the correct license for this purpose to use the asset in the way you intend.
What about videos? Can I embed a Vimeo or YouTube clip in my item preview?
Check the terms of the video sharing site; YouTube and Vimeo allow clips to be embedded even for commercial use under certain conditions.
The most common license available that can be used in your video previews is the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (CC BY 4.0). You can use videos licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution license as long as you attribute the original creator somewhere in the submission's description. To attribute the original creator, insert a link back to the original source material.
Although a video sharing site might technically allow you to embed a video that's licensed properly, you still need to consider the content of the video you've chosen.
The content should be appropriate for use in the item preview. Ensure the video does not contain trade marks, objects that might be under copyright or identifiable people.
All these things might not have been cleared or released for your particular use in an item preview. So keep in mind that just because a video is Creative Commons Attribution licensed, it's not guaranteed that the video can and should be used in your item preview.
Can I use an asset in the main download?
To be able to use an asset in your main download (the ZIP that gets distributed to the buyers), you must have the rights to resell the asset. Additionally, always read the license of the asset you’re using carefully to make sure there’s nothing else that might prohibit you from distributing the asset. For example, check whether the asset can be distributed in any format, or whether it needs to be incorporated into your item such that it cannot be extracted by end users on a stand-alone basis.
Can I use photos of people in an item?
You can use photos of people in your item previews. The best way to get images of people is from reputable stock photography “commercial use” collections like PhotoDune or other commercial stock libraries. It’s of course your responsibility to make sure your photos are properly licensed and contain appropriate content.
So what’s the issue?
There are different rights people have to control the use of photos of themselves. These include rights of publicity and consumer protection laws. These rights are separate to the intellectual rights in the actual photo file itself. So, if Louise takes a photo of John, Louise would own the copyright in the photo itself but John may have a say in how the image of him is then used.
This is why your Envato Market items need to use only ‘model released’ images. This means that identifiable people in the image have consented to their photo being used in any way – editorial or commercial.
It is your responsibility to ensure you use the correct legal arrangements and consents for your projects, and that they protect both yourself and models you work with or the owner of any private property used, including in relation to applicable privacy and personal data laws.
Can I use photos of famous people in my items?
You cannot use photos of famous people in items or previews. Market items and their previews are as thought of as commercial activity. Consequently, no photos of famous people, sportspeople, musicians, DJs or anyone else who earns their living from having a public presence (even if these people are no longer alive) can be included. Photos like these can be used in ‘editorial’ situations like a news website or blog, but not on the Envato Market.
So what should I look for when finding images of people?
You should always check licenses and terms and conditions on the sites where you are looking for images. If you’re not sure whether images on a site are model released, ask the site. Also, be aware that some sites have ‘editorial’ collections, which won’t be suitable for use in your Envato Market items or their previews. You’ll need a license that allows commercial re-distribution. If the photo is for use in your item preview only, then you still need a commercial use license but not necessarily one that allows re-distribution.
What if I took the photo or the photo is public domain?
If you take your own photos for use within your Envato Market items you’ll need to get your own model releases from the people in them. We don't need a copy of this but you must have it for your own records.
If a photo is in the public domain, that means the copyright in the photo has expired, but that doesn’t necessarily affect the rights of the person in the photo. The same issues about people images will apply.
Sourcing assets you can use: Creative Commons and Open Source
Creative Commons and open source were founded to help give content creators an easy way to distribute their work while specifying some simple factors such as whether the work could be used commercially or modified. For our Envato Market users, CC and open source licensed materials can be a great source of assets to use in item previews and even main files. This section explains what kinds of licenses you should be looking for, where to find content, and what to avoid.
Can I use Creative Common assets any way I like?
No. Every CC license has a short name and description which explains in a simple way what that license allows a person to do. There is also a full legal license if you wish to read it thoroughly. Not all CC licenses are appropriate for content that you intend to use in or on a market item, so you have to pay attention to the license type.
The licenses you CAN use with market items are:
Some important things to understand are:
- Attribution – When this is present you must attribute and link back to the original item. So you would put attribution and a link back in your item description or item documentation (depending on where you’ve used the asset). Attribution typically says something like “Photo by Joe Photographer” with a link to the page or portfolio where the item came from.
- Commercial – The licenses above can be used for commercial purposes. All non-commercial CC licenses explicitly say so. Make sure to avoid any license that says non-commercial.
- Public Domain – Creative Commons provides a public domain mark. The public domain isn’t technically a Creative Commons license, but the mark is a convenience offered by the organization for content creators.
What to Avoid
Avoid the non-commercial CC licenses such as the Attribution-Noncommercial CC BY -NC license. Also avoid CC licenses that contain the ShareAlike term such as the Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY -SA license. ShareAlike licenses mean that the work you are creating (i.e. your Envato Market item) needs to also be licensed under the same ShareAlike license. This isn’t appropriate for the Envato Market as the Envato licenses apply.
Avoid licenses with the NoDerivs - ND term. The way the - ND license terms are written, all that is allowed is format shifting of items, and compiling items into collections (like an anthology). Remixing or adaptations are not allowed, and that would include using an item within your Envato Market item (even if you don’t alter the CC item itself).
Also remember to consider the content of the CC asset, like visible people in photos.
When you use free assets such as CC assets, you are taking some risk that the person making the asset available actually owns and created the asset, and didn’t themselves take the asset from elsewhere. Use your common sense when finding CC assets.
Where can I find CC assets?
There are a lot of sites that index their content according to what CC license the creator has granted. Most famous of all is Flickr, but the list also includes some YouTube videos, Jamendo for music, Fotopedia, Wikimedia Commons and the Open Clip Art Library.
Happily there is a really easy way to search these libraries for Commercial CC licenses using the Creative Commons search page with a check in the box to find content that can be used for ‘commercial purposes’. You can start searching CC content here.
What about open source assets? Can I use them any way I like?
Open source assets have licenses attached to them, so please read the license terms first. There is a common misconception that because something is ‘open source’ it’s free you can do as you please with the item. This is not the case. It is true that anything licensed as ‘open source’ should have some common elements outlined here but the specific licenses vary in what they do and don’t allow.
What about open source, GPL and split licensing?
You can view our article on GPL and split licensing just here
If you still have any questions please contact our Author Support team.
What other IP issues do I need to know about?
As explained above, using assets in your items, both in a preview and in the main download file, needs your close attention. Always remember that you can only use assets in your items that you own or have a license to use. It’s your responsibility to make sure you’ve used any assets in your items legally and only in the proper way. You may consider using Creative Commons and open source assets, which of course still need to be considered carefully.
There are other IP issues that you can read about relating to copyright and the DMCA process here. In addition, there’s also the issue of trademarks and logos that have their own set of rules as well as more detail about model and property releases which you can read about here.