Fiverr Forum

Copyright and Portrait-right infringements on Fiverr


I was browsing through some gigs here on Fiverr and I’m actually a little bit shocked when it comes to the tons of infringements of copyrights and portrait-rights here on Fiverr. I wonder how Fiverr reacts when it comes to serious claims from original rights owners.

You see, even if you have taken the image of a celebrity yourself, you cannot sell a gig where a celebrity is holding a sign or logo(!) without having the celebrity signing a model release first. This is also true for every other person, but celebrities have the more expensive lawyers who can put you through the shredder. If you want to use an image commercially you need a signed model release. Always!
If you didn’t took the image then you are additionally infringing the copyright of the photographer who did.

This are just some simple examples. It’s also an infringement to jump in a Spiderman or any other trademarked superhero’s suit and sell the gig based on that.

For those who want to prevent serious problems due to not knowing what they are doing I really can recommend watching this video of the copyright guys:


Completely agree. I was also shocked to see sellers blatantly infringing copyright laws by using third party IP to promote content. It’s bad practice and I’m pretty sure its against the rules of Fiverr. Not to mention that it incriminates the buyers who think it’s legitimate.


I get some of your points and I am very much against these violations. Still, take your own profile picture as an example. That picture shows up here and there under different names, including in a still shot used right before a video begins. The photo resembles the person in the video, but when looking closer it is hard to say who is really in the photo of the guy in the jacket. So, while celebrity photos or exact artwork may be pretty easy to spot, it’s a tougher call in some cases.

So, while I detest open copying, plagiarism, stolen artwork, and so on, I also see part of why it is so difficult to police all of it.


That’s the main reason why you should NEVER promote any of your gigs outside Fiverr if you: 1) Don’t create your own banner or logo or video, 2) Don’t write your own gig description, 3) Use shady methods to run your business. Your gigs will be subject to takedown requests submitted by third parties claiming for IP infringement within hours, if not days.


The guy in the photo is me. I’m a professional photographer and retoucher. I never use materials I don’t own the rights to.


The buyers also can get into very big trouble if they use the material they get from the seller for commercial stuff.


It’s b.t.w. interesting to hear that the image is showing up under different names here and there. Could you provide me with some more information so I can take action?


Sorry, you may have misunderstood me and I can see why. My point was that it can be hard to prove copyright in some cases. I used your photo as an example because I believe it is you, but a Google image search is at first deceptive. I didn’t see anyone literally claiming your photo. If I had I would send you the info. But, since you’ve used in when commenting on other sites, making a video, etc. It is hard to tell quickly as the photo shows up all about. Sorry for any confusion, I hoped to demonstrate a point and worded it badly.

So, the really egregious cases of copyright violation like a seller using Cindy Crawford’s photo or claiming the Nike logo, it’s easy. In more subtle cases it’s not. So, it makes it difficult for any site with many users to shoot for mass removal. I report the obvious ones to CS when I have time. However, more users will come along. Buyers have to do some digging themselves to be sure.


I see.
Personally I don’t do photo shoots with anybody without them signing a model release. I also sign a model release for myself when I shoot a self portrait. This seems funny for some but when my agent finds a customer he always needs to present a model release. Otherwise the customer can not use it within commercial material.
For my own imagery I always can proof that it’s mine as I’m the only one who has the RAW-footage (digital negative).
One should b.t.w. be aware of the fact that a professional customer always will ask for the proper documents that come with material that is sensitive to copyright issues.
Still, when somebody offers a gig that involves any comic book characters, be it from Marvel, DC or whatever company, he needs the proper rights to do so.
Thus when I see a gig that says ‘I let Spiderman hold your sign’ it is very obvious for me that this is copyright infringement and I’m sure that claims by the original right owner will not be small ones. Therefore it’s probably a good idea to inform users of Fiverr beforehand to prevent them from doing damage to themselves due to the fact that they, politely put, are illiterate in terms of legal issues.


what if I took a picture of myself and had converted into a portrait/sketch and paid for commercial use. Because it is myself, would it still be copyright infringement because I got it for commercial use on here if I used it on my logo?


It’s not copyright infringement if you took the picture yourself, and had it converted into a sketch yourself. You are the copyright holder. Only when you copy the work of someone else without their permission is it copyright infringement.

Fiverr grants you the copyright automatically to a sellers work when you buy it so the sketch is not copyright infringement either. Some sellers make you pay for commercial use but most don’t. It has nothing to do with whether or not it is a picture of yourself.

It is commercial use to use it in a logo but whether you need to buy the separate commercial use license is up to each individual seller. You are allowed to use any picture you take yourself in your logo, and you are allowed to hire someone to convert it into a sketch. You are the copyright holder.


There is a difference between copyrights and portrait rights.

When you buy a photograph from whatever model from a photographer, the photographer can grant you a usage right (for commercial and/of editorial use) as he is the copyright owner. However, for commercial use you will need a model release signed by the model that’s on that picture. A professional photographer will always let the model sign a release before the shoot.

A model release is not necessary for editorial use.

The copyright owner can not grant you commercial use rights without a model release.
If there is a agency between the photographer and the client, the agency will also demand a model release if the photograph is a self portrait of the photographer himself.