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Licenses Update: Changes and Timeline

By on May 2, 2016 in Announcements
Licenses Update: Changes and Timeline

Since my last post describing the high-level license changes we’ve been working to make, we’ve received a ton of feedback from our new Community Feedback Group (add yourself if you want to be a part of it in the future!) on some of the proposed options we’ve been considering.

We’ve spent the last few weeks putting together a number of different proposed license changes and options, sharing them with a diverse mix of Creative Market members (from shops to customers to Partners, and many subgroups in-between), pouring over dozens of thoughtful, in-depth responses, and aggregating detailed survey results. And through it all, we’ve heard your voices, perspectives, and concerns loud and clear.

So while we know that we can’t please everyone all the time (especially since many community members have opposing viewpoints on licensing), we’ve tried our best to identify the changes that would be in the best interests of the community as a whole. Here are the specific changes we’re working to make:

Small Business Customers

The most important fix we’ve been working on is that we want to move most small business customers from the Extended License tier back down to the Standard License tier. We’re doing this by adding limited selling to the Standard License, so you can sell an end product up to 500 times without needing an Extended License. This should cover most small business use cases. And in the event that you’re making money from more than 500 sales of an end product that you’ve created, your success should allow for you to purchase an Extended License (or an additional Standard License) to properly compensate the shop.

FinalLicenseChart

Font Licensing

Both font shops and customers told us that they greatly preferred a single license setup without the “for sale/not for sale” restrictions we imposed around font usage. As a result, we’ll be removing the Extended License option for all fonts, and upgrading the Standard License with the ability to use a font in an end product for sale. Further, embedding purchased fonts into websites, ebooks, and apps will not be permitted unless these rights are explicitly included by the shop owner.

The same single-license setup and rights will also apply to the Add-Ons category, as we consider fonts and add-ons to be “Installable Items” with special per-seat licensing considerations.

Extended License Opt-Out

For all products except for Installable Items, the Extended License will remain as a crucial tool for shops to earn proper compensation for their work, especially from larger customers. But we also recognize that not all shop owners want their products to be sold under this license. So in the spirit of giving shops more control over their products, we’re working to build an option to allow them to opt out of offering an Extended License for their products.

Defining Terminology More Clearly

We’re taking special care to define several potentially confusing terms in our license copy, to make sure that everyone reads and interprets them the same way. Terms like End Product, End Product For Sale, Personal Use, and Commercial Use, for example, will have clear definitions that are easy to find and understand.

We’re also tweaking several terms and phrases that our users felt had significant potential to be misunderstood or abused, and clarified other points that were lacking. For example, we’re changing the current terms that read “You may use the Item in a new end product so long as it is not used alone, but instead as elements or parts of a new design (regardless of how much the item has been modified or how much of the new design it makes up).” to remove the concept around “regardless of how much the item has been modified or how much of the new design it makes up”.

We’re also updating the line from the current terms that says “You may not sublicense, resell, share, transfer, or otherwise redistribute the Item on its own (e.g. as stock, in a tool or template, with source files, and/or not incorporated into an end product) under any circumstances, not even for free.” to remove the phrase “on its own”.

Bulk Price Editor

As we work to roll out our next update to licensing on Creative Market, we recognize how difficult it is for shops with lots of products to respond to these changes with pricing tweaks. It simply takes too long to update a bunch of products one at a time. To help, we’re building a brand new bulk editor that will make it easy for shops to update pricing and other properties on several products all at once. We plan to roll this out ahead of our upcoming license updates, to give shops an opportunity to edit their prices before the new license terms go live.

Core Value and End Products

Core Value is a term that comes from our original SimpleLicense, but despite its best intentions, it has always caused a lot of confusion for both shops and customers. We tried doing away with it in the current license terms, but we’ve heard from the community that this didn't clear up the confusion either. So we’re bringing back a similar concept, but approaching it in an improved way by saying that all Items purchased on Creative Market must be used in an “End Product,” which we are very specifically defining in order to protect the hard work and creativity of our shops. Everything customers create using Creative Market products must fall under these definitions, and they’re identical for both the Extended and Standard licenses:

  • End Products: End Products must be significantly different than the original Item and require time, effort, and skill to produce. End Products must not be used or sold in a way that is directly competitive with the original Item you purchased. End Products must not redistribute the original Item to any third parties in a manner that allows for the extraction of the original Item.
  • Installable Items (Fonts and Add-Ons): Here, an End Product is simply a unique implementation of the Item. For example, you may purchase a font and use it to make unique word art, or purchase and use a brush to create an illustration, but you must not redistribute the original files in any way.
  • Templates and Themes: Here, an End Product is a unique implementation of the Item, often requiring limited copy and content changes. For example, if you purchase a resume template, you may use the Item for yourself or a client after having input personal information (you may not resell it as stock).

We’re also working on an extensive FAQ that will clearly address specific use-cases that we see pop up a lot, so everyone will easily understand what’s ok vs. not ok, without having to contact support for clarification (we'll include visual examples as well).

Defamation Clause for Photos

Photographers want to protect the models in their images from being used in potentially compromising ways. As a result, we’re working closely with our internal legal team to write a defamatory use clause that addresses these concerns, and gives both photographers and models the protection that they deserve.

Timeline

We’ve been hard at work on these changes since receiving all of the community feedback over the last couple of weeks, and we plan to roll out the new bulk price editor and finalized terms to shops early in February, and then officially launch the new licenses to the entire community in mid-February.

And as always, thanks so much for all of your thoughtful feedback and patience as we work to improve our licensing for everyone who depends so much on Creative Market.

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102 Comments

  1. "We’re doing this by adding limited selling to the Standard License, so you can sell an end product up to 500 times without needing an Extended License."

    Absolutely not. I am not interested in allowing items for sale under the standard license. If the buyer is using my content to put on something they are mass producing (ie, not a one off for a client) then I want my share of the profit. 500 sales of a web template at $100 is $50,000. Either I will have to remove my content, or I will have to raise the standard license 10X to be sure to cover this usage, even though most wouldn't use it. 99% of other stock sites require an EL for sales.

  2. @Sean Locke
    Would this not take care of that issue?
    Templates and Themes: Here, an End Product is a unique implementation of the Item, often requiring limited copy and content changes. For example, if you purchase a resume template, you may use the Item for yourself or a client after having input personal information (you may not resell it as stock).

  3. No, that is discussing buying a template here and using it. I'm talking about buying an image, putting it into a template and selling that.

  4. Ugh, no, if up to 500 items for sale is part of the standard license, the standard license price for my items needs to go up, meaning it will price out people who want to buy just for personal use or use on one client project. Not sure how this is going to make anyone happy, let alone everyone..

  5. I'm with @Sean Locke on this. I don't think the Standard License should include the ability to sell a product at all. I showcase images for websites/blogs/personal use only and my pricing reflects that. Now everyone has the ability to take my image, create a mug/pillow/poster with it, and sell it up to 500 times. I would definitely need to raise all of my prices or leave Creative Market.

  6. I think Sean is talking about an image being used as part of a web template, and not being the seller of the template itself. So in that case, the Template terms don't apply.

    I now have to decide what to do because I can't keep the pricing I have if buyers can sell 500 items using my images or illustrations. I already gave my feedback to the folks during the review period, so I don't have anything to add.

    I'm a small seller here, so it probably doesn't matter much that I close my shop, but anyone who licenses images or illustrations elsewhere will have the same objections Sean mentioned and that I have too.

    I guess I'll leave the shop alone until this all goes into effect, but I can't license my work with the new standard license at a price anyone will want to pay (if all they need is to use the work for something other than products for sale).

  7. Also, what is the timeline for these changes? As in, how much time do I have to edit all of my products to either reflect new, higher, prices or to save my items as drafts only?

    • Staff

    To provide a little context to this decision, the lack of some selling for small businesses under the Standard License was our #1 complaint from shops and buyers when we rolled out the new licenses. This was reinforced in our shop survey, and 500 was the most popular response when we asked users about the number of sales that should be allowed under the Standard License.

  8. I have always allowed small business commercial use without an extended license providing that they are making a product where the original can't be extracted so, this works for me and my products! Much better! Love the idea of the updated FAQ as well. Thank you!!!!!

    • Staff

    @Sean Locke no one is allowed to sell your products in such a way that the extraction of the original item is possible, so other sellers can't redistribute your photos in templates because that would require giving the user access to your photos.

  9. Oh look, another attempt to make everyone happy...which just is not going to happen. I think CM is just going to have to go with this and let it ride and then see how it affects their bottom line. As it was after the initial change I would no longer be a player here as it was unfair to small businesses. I can see where some of the professionals above comments are feeling discouraged from some of the changes but I think they need to let it ride for a awhile and see how it goes.

    We cannot keep make changes every months because few designers/buyers feel it does not work for their needs. I have spoken with many designers since the first change and many of them are like "I don't care if you use my artwork on items for sale".

    Sean if you raise your standard price 10x you might as well shut down, why not just ride it out for a few months and see how your sales are affected. I am not a buyer of you work but it just seems to jump the gun right now would be a bit hasty.

  10. @Josh Johnson I understand that photography is a small part of Creative Market, but the new format is going to make it less relevant for many photographers. One of the reasons why I loved Creative Market is because it is so different from a stock photography agency. I could reach a whole new market with my images. Unfortunately including the ability to sell in the Standard License is a game changer for me. It's too bad that you couldn't offer a "Personal", "Standard" and "Extended" license option with the ability to opt out of any option that doesn't apply.

  11. "no one is allowed to sell your products in such a way that the extraction of the original item is possible, so other sellers can't redistribute your photos in templates because that would require giving the user access to your photos"

    Sorry, that doesn't stop them from putting some text on the image or modifying it in other ways, and including it in a template. If creating electronic items for resale is out, you need to specify that in the license.

    However, it still applies to anything else. I don't want my content on 500 $20 tshirts for $10,000 and I get $7.

    "Sean if you raise your standard price 10x you might as well shut down, why not just ride it out for a few months and see how your sales are affected. I am not a buyer of you work but it just seems to jump the gun right now would be a bit hasty."

    Why would I "ride it out" for a few months, giving buyers the means to take advantage of my work?

    • Staff

    @Jennifer McCallum the closing paragraph discusses a timeline. We're shooting for mid-February and will have a tool up even sooner to help shops change their prices quickly and easily.

  12. @Sean Locke...Why? Up to you Sean...like I said, I don't purchase from you so it won't affect me, but you could stand to lose more in the long run.

  13. "However, it still applies to anything else. I don't want my content on 500 $20 tshirts for $10,000 and I get $7."

    I get that, but you are also assuming that selling 500 shirts at 20$ nets you 10k. That simply is not the case, the shirts themselves are a significant investment, the equipment, the heat presses, the printer ink, the actual TIME spent, marketing etc. It's work. I don't think we are talking about print on demand here, maybe CM could clarify that point, but I don't agree that our items should be usable in POD sites under the standard license.

    The license changes work for me.

  14. Did I understand it right, that the new license allows fonts to be used alone to create nice word art prints without the obligation to add other graphical elements to the design (like it was before)?
    If I understood that right, I'm gonna throw a party today :-) :-) you really listened to all the feedback :-) With this change you have a common font license now, one like everyone knows from other font selling sites. GREAT!

  15. I don't really need to defend the idea. It's the standard across all stock agencies that items for sale require an extended license at some extra cost.

  16. @Sean Locke If someone uses one of your images on a t-shirt and sells 500 of them for $10,000 you know they aren't getting $10,000 in their pocket. They are paying for the shirts, the printing, the packaging, distribution, and any promotion they do to move the shirts, etc. Your image is only a small part of the expense involved in producing that product, so it's not as if they are making $10,000 for doing nothing and you are making peanuts.

    I guess it comes down to who your biggest market is, do most of your sales now come from people purchasing just for one time personal use or from mass producers buying extended licenses?

    I see some of the sellers here seem to be happy making a small profit selling to small businesses, who just want to pay a reasonable price, for limited commercial uses and others who seem to be afraid that someone else will hit it big and they will miss out.

    Maybe you should just set your standard price at what you would expect to get from all these big mass producers you hope to sell to, and not bother marketing to small businesses or personal use buyers.

  17. And from a buyer POV it still limits the number of project uses to ONE - so if I have some lovely water colour flowers or creatures and I make Xmas cards - one project.

    Then I want to make some Valentines Day cards - a new project - A NEW LICENCE

    Maybe some party invites - ANOTHER NEW LICENCE!!

    Or I get the extended which may or may not be affordable.

    Way to exclude customers, seriously. I get a lot of my stuff via the DesignCuts deals that include extended licences, its what originally sent me here to get some nice stuff separately from the bundle. No more shopping for me here when the exchange rate means I already pay 50% more anyway.

    Well Played Creative Market - Everybody loses!

  18. There's always a lot of complaining, but Creative Market you guys do a great job listening to your members. Good job as always. Makes me appreciate this community even more. : )
    Keep up the good work, I think most of these revisions are a good improvement.

    • Staff

    Thanks so much for the support @Julie Lalonde! And thanks for your help and feedback through all of this, it's been SUPER helpful :)

    And @ro aar, it sounds like it's time for you to throw a big ol' party :) We talked to many community members about this issue (including people who buy and/or sell fonts), and based on their feedback we determined that this use case will be permitted.

  19. "Your image is only a small part of the expense involved in producing that product"

    Yet, it's the entire _reason_ for producing the product.

    Look, I've licensed over a million pieces of content in the last ten years. I'm more than happy licensing at a variety of prices to small businesses and persons who use the content under the standard across the industry - using it in designs, personal and commercial uses for themselves or clients. What I'm not interested in is allowing someone to use the content in items for resale without appropriate compensation (let's get off the tshirt production cost tutuorial, ok?).

  20. If you're referring to clause 8:
    "You may not make the Item available on a digital asset management system, shared drive, or the like for the purposes of sharing or transferring the Item"
    that wouldn't preclude an on-demand system.

  21. I appreciate you listening to the concerns of font creators to help create a common licensing option for us all. Does the timeline require us waiting another month before the extended licensing requirements will be removed for the fonts? Because it means we still can't reopen our shops...

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