Envato Elements has restrictions on the types of assets you can include in your items & item previews. As a rule of thumb, you should only include assets in your item previews which you own or have the license to use commercially, and in your main items which you own or are licensed to use and resell.
Read on for answers to some common questions about what assets can be included in your items & item previews.
Assets in Item Previews
Assets used in item previews (for example, a stock photo) 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?
No. Envato Elements authors cannot use watermarked assets sourced from Envato Market in their Elements item previews.
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 (and Envato Elements does not allow watermarks from others in your item 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.
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, 'model released' and contain appropriate content.
Can I use photos of famous people in my items?
You cannot use photos of famous people in items or previews. Elements 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 Envato Elements.
What if I took the photo or the photo is public domain?
If you take your own photos for use within your Envato Elements 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.
Can I use Creative Commons assets in my Envato Elements items or previews?
In some cases, yes. Creative Commons was 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. Correctly licensed Creative Commons materials can be a great source of assets to use in your main item (what the subscriber downloads), assuming the correct attribution is provided in the item's documentation. However, Creative Commons assets cannot be used in item previews, as authors cannot give the original author of the asset the attribution required by the Creative Commons license (as links are not supported in the item descriptions).
Some important things to understand are:
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 documentation (remember, you cannot provide the attribution required by the license in your item description). Attribution typically says something like “Photo by Joe Photographer” with a link to the page or portfolio where the item came from.
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.
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 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, the DMCA process, trademarks and logos that each have their own set of rules.