Fiverr Community Forum

Copyright photos/fake examples

I am really surprised by the amount of copyrighted images being used and even worse, being used as the seller’s examples of work!! Grrr!! (Photography and photoshop work in particular) I won’t mention any names but some I have actually seen and know for a fact aren’t theirs - which it’s tempting to call them out as it’s not fair on the buyer being misled. In saying that… most of these people do have positive feedback so at least their customers are happy.

Ok rant over! :smiley:

The sad part is that a load of the buyers don’t care - they’re happy to use stolen ‘product’ if it works for their needs.

I’m glad you do that kjblynx - it’s nice to know there are some honest people willing to put out some time and effort. :slight_smile:

I don’t do it very often - because I don’t usually buy gigs here - but scrolling through the portfolios can be quite an eye-opening experience. Sometimes it’s just plain fun.

So how do you folks tell which works are copyrighted or not? Referring to "Photo shoppers"specifically. Many of “us” are not artists but merely digital manipulators, looking for source material and using pictures in the public domain and those that are license free. These kinds of images can be found easily from many different sources. Images in the portfolios are presumably submitted by buyers not the sellers ??

If someone could be more specific, I would appreciate it.

kjblynx said: Stock images that are license free are still technically against the Fiverr rules, as they do say that you can't use any stock images.
The only thing I saw related to that is their statement about uploading Cover/Gallery images. "You own the rights" But what if there are no rights with regard to ownership....?
I didn't see anything about this subject in the TOS, but then I usually skim over those things.

From the TOS: " Ownership and limitations: unless clearly stated otherwise in the Gig description text, when the work is delivered, the buyer is granted all intellectual property rights, including but not limited to, copyrights for the work delivered from the seller and the seller waives any and all moral rights therein. For removal of doubt, in custom created work (such as art work, design work, report generation etc.), the delivered work shall be the exclusive property of buyer. The seller expressly agrees to assign to buyer the copyright in any delivered work that do not meet the requirements of a work-for-hire under the U.S. Copyright Act. Additionally, independent of the U.S. Copyright Act, the seller agrees that unless indicated otherwise in the Gig description, once the order is completed the seller assigns along with it to the buyer, to the fullest extent possible under the law, all of its rights, title and interest, if any, in and to the delivered work and waives any and all moral rights in connection therewith. All transfer and assignment of intellectual property to buyer shall be subject to full payment for the Gig."

“We wish to remind that’s content is based on User Generated Content (UGC). Fiverr does not check user uploaded/created content for violations of copyright, trademarks or other rights. We invite everyone to report violations together with proof of ownership. Reported violating content may be removed or disabled.”

“By offering a service, the seller undertakes that he has sufficient permissions, rights and/or licenses to provide, sell or resell the service that they offer on Fiverr.”

“Sellers advertising their Gig online must comply with laws and terms of service of the advertising platform or relevant website used to advertise. Failing to do so may result in removal of the Gig and may lead to the suspension of seller’s account.”

“For specific terms related to Intellectual Property rights and for reporting claims of copyright infringement (DMCA notices) or trademark infringement - -lease see our Intellectual Property Claims Policy here which forms an integral part of these Terms of Service. Note that It is our policy in appropriate circumstances to disable and/or terminate the accounts of users who are repeat infringers.”

Unless I don’t understand English, I see nothing there that prevents the use of license free or public domain images being used. Just because an image appears on the Internet does not mean it’s copyrighted.

So, my original question was, How does anyone here determine whether an image is copyrighted or not.

Copyright is confusing, ambiguous and varies from one location to another. This is why I don’t usually ‘interfere’ when I only suspect an infringement.

ricksper said: So, my original question was, How does anyone here determine whether an image is copyrighted or not.

Research, research and more research! I had a photo sourcing and editing contract for a very large company a few years ago and even though I specifically purchased all images that weren't definitely and expressly in public domain, from a reputable stock supplier, there were still copyright and IP issues on occasion. I sincerely doubt that all 'stolen' images found here are intentionally stolen, I also highly doubt that the amount of research needed to verify an image's legal usability is performed. Buyer beware, seller beware, and when in doubt, create. (And then hope that your original work isn't "substantially similar" to someone else's original work.) :)


Every image has instant copyright, it is owned by the artist/photographer. The copyright lasts until 50 years after the owner dies. To use an image you must have permission, which usually comes at a price. I’ll start a new discussion with some info to hopefully help you :slight_smile: It’s a tricky and complicated subject!

Reply to @beckybee: That isn’t strictly true. The artist/photographer can choose which rights, if any, that they wish to retain. Creative commons licenses on Flickr are a good example.

There’s a major “uncopyright” movement going on right now. Designers and photographers are creating images with the express purpose of being used freely for personal and commerical use.

A few days ago, I found someone on the forum spamming his/her? designer skills. Before reporting as spam, I took a quick look on the profile. To advertize their services, they used a logo that was widely used in Belgium for a national radio station …

No doubt that was not made by a young Fiverr seller! I has been around for ages that logo! I added a note to that spam report and checked the profile a day later. I had gone! It does pay to report at times.

beckybee said: Every image has instant copyright, it is owned by the artist/photographer.
That statement is untrue.
You really should speak to an attorney.
beckybee said: The copyright lasts until 50 years after the owner dies.
That's a very broad statement and is not true in every case.
You really should speak to an attorney.

Fiverr is an international platform. Copyright and Intellectual Property laws vary drastically by location and can be ambiguously applied and upheld very differently.

Each buyer and seller has exclusive responsibility to ensure their ‘products’ are created, sourced, provided, and/or used in accordance to the laws that govern them. It’s pointless to try and provide a ‘one size fits all’ guide.

And keep in mind that shamefully, many Fiverr users* don’t care in the least if they are stolen from or stealing - it’s about making money, and hopefully not getting caught.

*Not all, but many.

@voiceoverwork I should probably point out I’m in Australia so perhaps the laws are different here. What I stated however, is correct, here at least. I studied copyright as part of my graphic design course. In the case of copyright lasting until 50 years after the artist is dead is true UNLESS the rights are owned by someone else such as a relative.

I can’t paste an outside web address but if you search copyright lengths you’ll find MOST of the world follows the +50 years after death expiration.

Artists do own full copyright of their images at the beginning, but yes they can choose to retain rights and sell them etc. As a graphic designer for example, I design logos for other companies to use as they wish so I’m selling them the rights to the image

To everyone else - glad I could be of some help! Yes unfortunately there are people who just don’t care, but if they get caught at least they have been warned. This is one of those issues that I think needs to be discussed more so people understand it a bit better. I’ve heard of people getting fined for using images on their blogs innocently - not sure how true that is but better safe than sorry.

Yeah you’re right there… it’s such a complicated subject! Hopefully this post has opened some eyes and made buyers a bit more wary :slight_smile:

@beckybee Disregarding the finer points of copyright law around the world, I think your original post brought up a valid issue & one which I agree with you is just plain wrong. That is, that many sellers have images posted on their gigs, implying that it is their own work sample but which is actually not, and in many cases is really copyrighted, owned or exclusively licensed by corporations, businesses or others. It is obvious that they just right-clicked to their heart’s content and saved the images. As a general rule, someone can take an image FOR THEIR OWN PRIVATE USE AND ENJOYMENT. What clearly crosses into legal limbo is when they use those images FOR THEIR PROFIT. If caught by the legal owner(s), it can cost them a huge amount of heartache (and money!).

While I agree with all of you about copyrights (and it’s never fun to have your work plegiarised), the seller should only be held accountable for his/her own work (or “nonwork”, as the case may be).

I any seller has a Gig in which the buyer provides some photos, drawings or any other unlicensed materials, its his problem. I don’t think the seller should bare any responsibility for it. Even if the seller later publish his/her work he did for a client that provided illegal photos. From the seller’s point of view, he did nothing wrong. I mean, we sellers work for peanuts (5$ are money, of course, but come on). Now we need to check every photo we get from a buyer?

That being said, if the copyright infringement was done by the seller, then I agree he should be warned not to do it again, or get booted from Fiverr’s sellers community (or whatever the admins decide). Also, taking a photo that is free to use, and then changing it in Photoshop is in essence creating a new thing, so it does not completely violates copyrights (of course, it depends on how much change was done, but that’s in itself is another can of worms).

I also agree with @ricksper, in that that public domain images are owned by the seller, because in essence they are owned by the public (e.g. all images in the first editions of Gray’s Anatomy book - and no, I don’t mean the series :slight_smile: ).

As for reporting people, I think it’s both good and bad. Good because people should not use materials they don’t own, bad because you know nothing will be done about it, and it’s just a waste of your time (you can do so much better thing with it, its the only resource we’ll never have enough of).

Anyway, sorry about the long post, I’ll be signing off now.

shayro said: I any seller has a Gig in which the buyer provides some photos, drawings or any other unlicensed materials, its his problem. I don't think the seller should bare any responsibility for it. Even if the seller later publish his/her work he did for a client that provided illegal photos. From the seller's point of view, he did nothing wrong. I mean, we sellers work for peanuts (5$ are money, of course, but come on). Now we need to check every photo we get from a buyer?

Yes, by law in most places, the seller will share responsibility for using the illegally-sourced images/materials. The buyer (even if they provided the 'raw materials') can pass the buck to the seller whom they hired, in supposed good faith, to provide an image/product that the purchaser would own all rights to use. "They're the professional, the should have known better, that's why I hired them!" has been successfully used on many an occasion.

In my day job I have lost out on work by refusing to use illegally-sourced images when the clients refused to spend a little cash on securing proper images. It's a personal decision and I'm sure just as many folks on Fiverr as anywhere else simply don't care as long as they're making money and don't think they'll ever get caught.


I agree about refusing to work for clients who don’t want to pay for the rights to an image or necessary materials for a project, and I would too refuse to work for them. On this fact you’ll get no arguments from me. That being said, good faith goes both ways.

For instance, a few days ago I uploaded my Gig to install a web system, and then about a day or two later got an email from someone who wanted a quote price for a full copy of some website based on the same system. He even wanted the same theme and feel, as well as the same content of the website. When I checked and told him the theme was not a free one, he just told me I should be able to find it using software.

Obviously I refused to do it. The problem is that most (not all) clients will refuse to pay, and will lie to you and say that they did purchase the rights if you ask them about it. That is, in my humble opinion is the reason they come here. They get a Gig for 5$ that cost significantly more on the open market. If we as sellers now need also be the copyrights watchdogs (and that is notwithstanding the fact that the person who filmed/edited/drew or otherwise made the material is entitled to get something out of it - of that there’s no doubt), then the time we spend on verifying each and every thing the client sends us could easily be more than the time for the work itself.

As you said, the client can cry the professional tune, but in the end it’s his responsibility to provide the seller with licensed (or otherwise free) materials when asked. You, as the seller, has no reason to believe some things were illegally sourced for the job.