Fiverr Forum

Commercial Rights for Podcasts, Audiobooks and Phone Systems


Hey Voice Over folks! I’m Yoav, I manage the Video and Music categories here at Fiverr.

There has been a lot of discussion here in regards to Commercial Rights vs. Full Broadcast etc…

I’m trying to make our buyers better understand the world of licensing (commercial use and full broadcast).

While the case is pretty clear for video/ads going through paid/non-paid channels, I was wondering what’s your take on Audiobooks, Podcasts, Phone systems & IVR? Do you normally charge for commercial rights in such services? Happy to hear your take on that.



Hey Yoav, I offer audio editing and sound design services and I always “label” my work as royalty free for few reasons, first as you know any contact outside fiverr is against the TOS so if a client ask me for an agreement or sign a contract it can’t be done and second I have to admit that I don’t have enough knowledge regarding licensing.


Hello Yoav,

Firstly, lets say this outright, Fiverr is not set up for proper licensing of voiceover work. It’s not a knock, just an observation from a longtime voice talent.
To begin, the voiceover talent him/herself will always own the rights to the actual performance, but licensing it out for use.
It’s the “where”, “how many people will it reach”, “geographical location/region” “number of media/platforms on which the voice will be used”, and “duration”…in this case probably perpetual, since we, on Fiverr, can’t always track the usage

My thoughts on audiobooks…or the voiceover area-wide would be to add a missing category titled “Full Buyout” and make it negotiable based on the genre/book selling platforms, etc. What generally happens with audiobooks is we get the choice to get royalties or a full-buyout. I, 9/10 opt for the full buyout option as I operate under the time value of money principle. If the author has dozens of books and a ton of reviews, I might opt for the royalty payments…but that would not be an option on Fiverr as we’d have to exchange info, get access to book sales date and so on. But the Full Buyout option would work for Audiobooks as it’s similar to the Full Broadcast license offered for non-audiobook reads.

I look at voiceovers as either Broadcast/Internet or Non-Broadcast.
Non-Broadcast would be stuff like corporate, training, IVR, movie theater spots, live events (like recording an opening for a motivational speaker), video games…things like that.
Broadcast would be equal to commercials on TV, Radio or Internet that would cover promos, wraps, imaging, explainer videos.

So the short answer is, in my opinion, for Audiobooks, Podcasts, Phone systems & IVR charge full broadcast rights, as the system currently stands.
Everything else falls under commercial.

I just did an intro for Good Morning Britain’s Oscar Show. Should be commercial, but I charged Full Broadcast as it’s going over multiple media.

Easy answer, add a new category for Audiobooks (which could be blanketed over or replace full broadcast) called Full Buyout.

Just my thoughts. Hope they were helpful,



Personally, I used to charge for commercial rights on ALL voiceovers on fiverr in the past as 98% of my work is commercial / for business use and I would imagine it to be the case for most voiceover artists. I would really love to be able do that again (show it included in the base price), rather than get the customer to add it on afterwards which feels a bit cheap - especially if they missed it and they have to add it on afterwards as they are now charged two processing fees. I charge commercial rights for audiobooks, podcasts, phone systems/IVR, explainer videos etc. The only thing I don’t charge commercial rights for is not for profit organisations and things that are for students, personal (not business) voicemails etc.

Broadcast rights, I only charge those for TV/Radio. I would like to be able to set different rates for different situations (ie National TV, National Radio, Local TV, Local Radio) rather than a blanket broadcast rate price, as I would charge a lot more off fiverr for a National TV commercial compared to a regional radio spot for example. As @markusvoice pointed out, its hard to track that and given the way fiverr works (with anonymity) it is almost impossible to track or pursue if a client didn’t purchase the rights they should have.


The current system doesn’t really meet the needs of the type of work we do.

Every voiceover I do is for commercial use. I think in my 5 years I’ve done 2 for personal use.
People don’t by for personal use.

Also Fiverr clients are not typical voiceover clients. Most of the work I do on Fiverr is for small projects, small studios, etc. The current licensing model is confusing to clients, so I don’t use it. Licensing is included in the base pricing of my gigs.

That being said, as @markusvoice said, it’s impossible to track use. When I did charge for rights usage, people just abuse the system. When you have a 24 delivery time, you can’t really make a fuss, and have to eat it. That’s why I don’t bother with it anymore.

Licensing need to be simplified, not made more complex. We’re not SAG/AFTRA actors and our clients aren’t big agencies. The only thing gained from complexity is complexity.


Agree with most of the given feedback - I typically add them on for free as an “incentive” but they do not provide much leverage. Thank you for asking and reaching out - means a lot!


There ought to be a way to force the buyer to purchase the rights. Perhaps a box they have to check in the order requirements. Like liquidlettuce said above, almost all the work I do on Fiverr is commercial. It’s too easy for the buyer to ignore the rights question altogether. If I suggest they need to purchase commercial or broadcast rights they often ignore my request or just ask to cancel, which basically forces me to deliver the order for a price that’s unfair.


Thank you everyone for your replies, it means a lot and I’m glad you folks are here, looking at such posts and assist with detailed feedback.
I’m well aware that licensing issues aren’t perfect on Fiverr, and that many things such as Geos, duration of usage etc… aren’t covered. These won’t be covered in the coming future due to Fiverr’s framework and the fact you should prepare your gig to be ready to order with a click of a button. As mentioned by @liquidlettuce, the idea is to really simplify things but in the same time have it make sense.
@markusvoice - good point about Full Buyout, I assume it’s only in Audiobooks that it actually matters (maybe eLearning courses, too?)

I’m asking all this because I’m working on creating a better flow for buyers to be aware of license options before contacting you guys and I’m trying to understand what licensing options they should see when they indicate they’re need the VO for Audiobooks / Phone Systems & IVR // Podcasts.

@sue_mcl I hear you about including “Commercial Rights” as part of basic package, I’m trying to see what we can do about it.

Cheers everyone,


I think most of us buyers of these services, especially guys who are hustling here - have no idea what any of these licensing terms mean. Unless of course if the buyer operates in that field.

Fiverr definition of licensing, assumes we understand what the terms or context they are used mean, for instance, “…promoting your product or service in non-paid marketing channels”. What are non-paid marketing channels??

I would rather for $5 gigs you assume we don’t understand and just include them in your pricing as @sue_mcl does. Or, use a less legalese language.

A buyer spending +$100 I assume understands how it works and will gladly pay the $10 licensing fees.



Add-ons are a must. The issue is that you’re going with the assumption that buyers are open to the necessary add-ons required, which is a shot in the dark.

Example: Client purchase a standard order. After asking a few questions (because some of your requirements aren’t completed), you find out it’s for a national ad. You then contact the customer, attach the appropriate add-on, and receive a request to cancel.

As a seller you have 2 options. Either just accept the cancellation and risk your stats to drop. OR, bite the bullet and collect the additional dollars for that said project.

Priced per word or PFH. Some VO talent price either or… For each hour of audio it takes roughly 1-4 (dependent on the talents editing skills) to edit.

PhoneSystems and IVR:
Either per minute or prompt.

Podcast: (Intro is what I’m assuming you’re asking about)
Priced Per

Other costs to buyer in the industry that again place us sellers in a precarious position are the following:

Editing, Pickups, Revisions, Audio Production, etc.

Essentially when a buyer is placing an order for audio, we on the platform are assuming the roles of…

Script/Copy writer: Buyers at times want 300 words read into a :60 spot which is physically impossible.
Engineer: Some buyers want de-breaths, minor sound engineering, music, sound effects, etc.

Now, buyers that are within the industry will understand the additional costs but I would say that roughly 60%+ of the buyers I work with have no clue. At times, you’ll voice a project (haven’t been rated) and they will come back weeks after the fulfillment wanting edits (pickup). All arrows point to creating another offer… You’d be surprised at how many refuse.


Great conversation here; I really appreciate it. As a voice over talent, Broadcast/commercial rights on Fiverr has always been a gray and fuzzy area for me. I know of fellow VO’s who are charging $75-$100 for these rights and clients are willing to pay it. Then again, I’ve seen other successful VO’s charging to next to nothing for the same rights. So, that’s my issue. What should “I” charge? I wish there were some standard rates that would take the guesswork or trial/error out of it for VO’s.


It seems there really is an honor system when it comes to agreements between VO buyers/sellers, and sellers are required to do their own policing. Does a VO have any recourse if, say, a buyer uses a voiceover for broadcast/commercial purposes yet chooses not to pay for the rights?


Short answer, No…

I’ve spoken to Yoav before about the pricing issues. Everything for the most part is a pure buyout, which can potentially cost us not only the renews, but it could cause conflict within the industry we voiced. I understand that each seller or talent has their own price. I also understand that some decisions from buyers are based solely on price.

Like I mentioned before. After qualifying clients further, finding more about the intended use of the audio, at times, places us sellers in a precarious position.


Commercial rights= for anything the buyer is going to use to generate money. Audiobooks, commercials, youtube videos that will be monetised fall under this category.

Phone systems do not, as the phone system itself is not a means to generate traffic/additional income. Same applies to people posting content solely on their website or blog, or training/educational videos for use within a company. Commercial rights are generally going to apply to online marketing channels

Full broadcasting rights are for traditional media broadcasting channels such as radio or TV.

Whether I apply these license requirements depends on the project and budget etc. For tiny, local radio stations, students, etc, people with very small budgets, I don’t ask for additional licenses. They wouldn’t be able to necessarily afford it anyway, or they’d just find someone who isn’t going to charge that.

I think the idea of including it in the pricing (and then creating custom offers of a lower price for those who don’t require it) is a good idea, but for me personally, as a new seller on the platform, I already struggle to be competitive in the voice over market, so would just lose clients and revenue by pursuing this route at this point in my career.


Hi Yaov,

I agree with @markusvoice

But also, I wanted to point this out; especially with Buyer requests, most buyers come with a budget of $5 without the consideration of Broadcast Rights and Commercial Rights. Even with audiobooks, some buyers would come with a $30 budget for a 30,000 word script which to me is quite insane. But hey, I suppose the presumption is to ‘come on fiverr if you’ve got a tight and small budget’.

I think it’ll be fair if buyers are educated in this regard so we’re not getting burned as voice artists.

Just my two cents :relaxed:

Thank you.



Greetings Yoav! I’m THRILLED to see this question posted!! :slight_smile:

This is the biggest ongoing issue I have faced as a VO artist and seller here on Fiverr. I have add on’s for commercial and full broadcast rights and IVR. I have it in bold and highlighted in my gigs and then made a 3rd step to add it to requirements so buyers know it must be added. I’ve STILL faced a few cancelations because some sellers intentionally bypass it. Majority of the time I have no issues and buyers do add it on but I find this to be very challenging to be forced into a corner to provide unlicensed work in fear of cancelation and impact to our ratings. Thank you so much for bringing attention to this. It’s my hope this changes for us!


Hey Yoav, I provide audio modifying and sound layout services and I constantly “label” my paintings as royalty lose for few motives, first as any touch outdoor Fiverr is towards the TOS so if a consumer asks me for a settlement or sign a settlement it couldn’t be finished and 2nd I should admit that I don’t have sufficient expertise concerning licensing.


If someone didn’t purchase the commercial rights and posts a video with your voice over on Youtube, I believe you have the right to request that it be taken down as the rights holder. Youtube requires you to own the content you post. I try to frame my wording this way to buyers. Not as threatening to take down their videos if they don’t buy the rights, but just suggesting that if they’re serious about their business or whatever project they’re working on, that they want to be on the level.


I have literally just come on here to have a conversation about commercial rights and here it is straight away!

I’ve had a lot of issues with this over the past few days. Someone ordered a voice over from me and I could tell from the script that it was going on YouTube but they hadn’t paid for commercial rights so I asked for clarification and got no response. I therefore asked for an extension and in my reasoning put why so they had a chance to respond…they accepted the time extension still without answering whether it was for commercial use so I begrudgingly delivered the VO specifying that it could not be used on YouTube or any other website/platform that would be viewed by the public and then low and behold I find it on YouTube. I’ve now blocked/reported the user on Fiverr and am trying to work out how to correctly report it on YouTube.

Then today, again someone places an order and again I can tell it is an advertisement and is therefore going somewhere public so I ask the question and he says he hadn’t thought about it this time but will in future so I say that’s fine but this voice over would only be allowed for personal use he says he needs it to advertise online so I do the add on for him to accept the extra $10 but he says he won’t be paying it because it’s not in his budget so “either do it or cancel it” which is such a frustrating position to be in when you know it’s going to affect your profile to cancel on something that is 100% not your fault. I did cancel it in protest but I now regret it knowing it’s going to affect my profile and probably drop me down a level. I sometimes feel petty to make people pay for these things when I could just do it but then I have to remember this is part of my business and I am well within my right to charge what I need to.

I really think there should be a function that means customers have to send a message before they can place an order so you can discuss and prevent this happening.


I personally would record it for them, send it to them, but then make it clear that if they use the recording for commercial use without a license that they could end up in legal trouble as they do not have the rights for it. That way you get paid, they get the work, and how they proceed is up to them.