Understanding Commercial Rights Licenses

One of the areas of confusion when selling products such as planners and journals is understanding the  use of purchased graphics and what rights are granted to the purchaser. These graphics might be papers, clip art and even fonts. And it is important to understand the licenses so that you are complying with those rights. 

Understanding Commercial Rights Licenses


If you have an ETSY store, your products and perhaps your store can be taken down for infringement of rights. Even if you have your own website, violating licenses can damage your reputation and future business. Mistakes happen, but we need to be careful to build relationships and violating licenses can damage those relationships with others.

This represents my understanding of personal, commercial and private label rights. It is not meant to represent legal advice or substitute for any specific license for individual products. It is merely offered for information and food for thought.

Commercial License Fonts

Fonts are the easiest to deal with. You can use free fonts in your products that are available online. When you sell written content that includes editable rights, it will be helpful for the end user if you provide the names of fonts and links where they can obtain them. If you are selling PowerPoint files, if those fonts are not uploaded the written content will not be viewed as you formatted it. It will look scrambled, and typically PowerPoint will give you a message that “fonts are not supported”.

I have purchased products that linked to paid fonts. At the time the product was created, the font may have been free. It will be up to the user to decide to purchase the font or not. If the fonts were obtained at Creative Fabrica , it will be easy for the user to download as part of a subscription.

You can also use google fonts, which are available without cost. The downside is that everyone else is using those fonts, so being unique may be  challenge.

What you cannot do is include the font file with your products unless you have a license to provide that file. To be on the safe side, provide the name and link.

Commercial Rights VS Personal Use Rights

If you are selling products for the end-user, you are selling products with personal use rights. Your customer does not have the right to resell your products or any of the fonts, papers, templates or clip art that you have used in creating that product.

Your product is usually provided as a finished file such as a PDF which has had all the graphics ‘flattened’, which means they cannot be separated into individual pieces. If you are creating a PDF from a PowerPoint file, check your settings to make sure it saves at a high quality and test your finished file by printing it. This will prevent blurry files that do not print with clarity.


Selling Canva Products

Sometimes creators are selling Canva products to their customers so they can personalize for their own use. In that case, the graphics should be saved as a PNG before uploading in the Canva product so graphics are protected. You can arrange graphics in PPT, group them and then save as a PNG. Upload that image into Canva. This protects the original graphics from being extracted and used for other products or even resold.

This is also true if you are using Canva graphics. If you have a free Canva account, read the license for using fonts and graphics carefully. You cannot sell those graphics to others.

You can use them in your designs as long as it is a creation by you. You cannot upload Canva graphics to POD sites for commercial purposes if they are unaltered.

And you cannot sell templates using Canva elements or graphics unless those templates bring customers back to Canva. When you sell your Canva templates, if you have a paid plan, your customers may have to pay for the graphics if they have a free plan. One option is to use only the free graphics and fonts if you are selling templates.

PowerPoint Products

The same is true if you are supplying a PowerPoint file to the customer. The graphics need to be saved as a PNG and uploaded to PowerPoint in the background. This prevents  individual graphics from being extracted and used for other purposes.

Commercial Use Rights

Individual creators and marketplaces will have different licenses so make sure you read them.  The basic requirement is that graphics need to be “altered” or “combined” to make a new product that does not compete with the original.

Creative Fabrica offers fonts, papers, templates and graphics. For a monthly fee you can get unlimited downloads and it comes with a commercial licenses for products. If you do not have a subscription, you can check it our HERE. I know my subscription more than pays for itself every time I need inspiration. You can use their graphics in your products with revisions, and with the images flattened.

You need to create something new from these products. Creative Fabrica gives an example of the rule of 3. 3 different images at minimum are combined to create a new image. Examples of a revision is shown below: I added several other images and also changed the color of the original images. I did this in PPt, then saved the different images as a group before saving as a PNG.


Difference between downloaded image and new created image

All this means is that you can not resell a pack of clip art as is. You need to make it into a new product, which is easy to do. You cannot resell a pack of digital paper as is, without some type of revision.


Private Label Rights

Again, this is my understanding of private label rights, and is not meant to offer legal definitions or substitute for the licenses of any seller who offers PLR.

When you buy graphics with PLR rights, you can use those images, elements and papers in your commercial products. You can sell your products to end users. Some vendors offering PLR will also extend those rights to allow you to use graphics in your products to sell to other businesses.

In either case, you still cannot resell a pack of graphics to customer unless the license specifically states the graphics can be resold as they were purchased. Most licenses will not allow this.

I hope this was helpful. If you ever have questions about an individual license, contact the vendor and ask. If in doubt, I review the license and then usually create something new with the graphics. I hope you will be less stressed about using graphics in your commercial products. 

If you have any questions, email me at hello@creativeplr.com or drop a comment below.   If you want the frames that I was creating in the video, they are available below. And next week I will be creating corners, bouquets, sprays and other floral elements you can use. 


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