Tips to buyers: Avoiding copyright


Hi all!

I’m a graphic designer from Australia, and I have noticed some serious copyright issues (in regards to stock photos in particular) happening on fiverr from sellers. I just wanted to point out a few things to potential buyers (and designers new to the industry) so you can protect yourself and your business from infringement.

Also, keep in mind the artist or photographer who is trying to make a living from selling the use of their images. You’re stealing from them. That’s not cool!

Things to look out for…

  1. Sellers offering ‘pick your own images’ from another website then sending them to you is a BIG NO NO! Sure, the seller has purchased the images, but they do not have the rights to sell those images to you. This is a really obvious breach and should be easy to avoid.

  2. Sellers offering stock images. Did they take the photos themselves? Or draw the illustrations themselves? Can you hear those alarm bells ringing? You can always ask them upfront if they have the right to sell the images, if they do they will have a signed license agreement from each artist. (I should know, I am one of those artists…) In some cases they may be ‘finding royalty free images on the net for you’ which is risky. Yes, you can find free to use images but often in the fine print the images are for personal use only, NOT for advertising/branding purposes.

    So how do you know which pictures you CAN use?

    Look for sellers who OWN their images. If they are an artist or photographer and clearly state that the images are their own then they are legally able to sell them to you and you can ask them about any concerns you may have. Read the T&C’s carefully so you understand how the images can be used.

    I hope this post is helpful :slight_smile:


@skyemama, any site you download/purchase the font should have their licensing terms. If they don’t, run.

For photos I use Wikimedia Commons, provided they have relevant details about the licensing agreement.


Reply to @skyemama:

Search on-line for “How do I license a font”


This is great advice! I am amazed sometimes when I see how people tend to overlook copyright issues. Buyers can even damage their own image and business if they use copyrighted work without the artist’s approval.


I have reported a number of these to Fiverr support - there’s a gig with the Shutterstock home page on it asking buyers to provide image numbers or a lightbox. Reselling Shutterstock images violates the Shutterstock license.

That gig is till up.

I have written two blog posts - one for buyers to avoid supporting image thieves and one for Fiverr gig sellers on how to sell stock images the right way - top 10 tips. EmberStudio and I have both reported gigs to Shutterstock that are reselling their images.

I can’t post a link to my blog - although I think something like the seller tips should be provided by Fiverr to educate people offering gigs on what they can and can’t do - but if you google

jo ann snover blog Fiverr sellers top 10 tips

you’ll see it

beckybee said: 1. Rule of thumb - If the artist has been dead for 50+ years then their work is free to use!

This is not good advice. There can always be someone or a corporation that holds the rights to intellectual property. Just because an artist or author is dead does not mean that the material is free to use. The best "Rule of Thumb" is if YOU didn't create it, don't use it AND always consult with an attorney before using any material that you didn't create and own the rights too.


@voiceoverwork - yeah I agree you make a good point there, it’s probably best I remove that sentence to avoid confusion. As I wrote in another post I’m from Australia so our laws are probably different. I’m just trying to help people who are completely unaware and also help the owners of the images from having them stolen. It has happened to artist friends of mine and it’s horrible to discover they’re being ripped off then having to go to court and all that jazz.

If you have anything positive or helpful to add that would be much appreciated I’m sure :slight_smile:

beckybee said: I'm just trying to help people who are completely unaware

Yeah I get it. I've been in radio, tv, entertainment and a business owner for decades. The amount of people I've worked with that are "unaware" or ignorant about usage of others intellectual property is staggering.

I have 2 "rules of thumb".
1. Always consult an attorney.
2. When in doubt, leave it out.


They’re 2 pretty good rules to go by! Thanks for the tip :slight_smile:


Reply to @beckybee: :slight_smile:


I just had an issue where a logo designer designed a logo for me that was pure font. I liked it… but because I am a web designer, I knew how to look up fonts… low and behold, there was the font… this designer had simply typed my business name using a stolen font. I say stolen because the license stated clearly for personal use only, a commercial use license cost $59. I paid $45 upfront so that this person would spend a little time on my logo and be a little more creative. That was a laugh. I immediately reported this person… I also told support that although this person’s flag is UK, he didn’t communicate like English was his language. I provided support with the link to the font license page and a copy of the font used to prove… they immediately cancelled my gig… and, oddly enough, I looked at this person’s flag again and it was Pakistan. I don’t care where the person is from, I do care if they are honest or not. If you can’t trust someone to be honest in that, how can you trust them to be honest with your money?

By the way, this person has over 1k positive feedback… makes me wonder how many people are now out there using images and fonts that could get them into a lot of trouble.


Reply to @elshafei2013: Not to argue, but Fiverr chooses your location. Or, you pick it once, and cannot change it. I don’t know, but there are many people who cannot change it even if they want. I’m glad I got it right when I signed up but it may not be their fault. :confused:


It may be true… but if my profile was showing the wrong flag, I would ask support how to fix that, because it could give others the impression that I am not honest, or am hiding something. If I still couldn’t get the flag changed, I’d definitely have my location in my profile information.

It’s scarey spending money on this website… you just don’t know who you can trust… 1000+ positive… how could I go wrong?


nice tips


Reply to @elshafei2013: Damn… that’s awful - It really annoys me because they ruin it for the honest people on this site! And the owner of the font just got ripped off (and probably has several times over) as well. Did you get your money back?


How does one look up a font and the rights to use it? Thank you.


Precise but complete account of a buyers, sellers like me should also read it to know more about buyers


For my website I designed I used and was willing to pay a small amount of money for the pics I needed knowing that I was helping freelancers and I had the rights to my photos. Between FRAGGLESROCK and, I was able to get what I needed!

Sheriff’s Note: Posting Off Fiverr links is not allowed.


Reply to @abigailsmycken:

Nice tips :slight_smile:


I totally agree!

I am a full-time photographer and I submit my work to stock agencies on a regular basis. Depending on how the image licence was purchased, most stock photo buyers will have limited rights to the use of those images. Those rights allow you to use the image as indicated in the licence but, almost all licences prohibit buyers from reselling the image or including it in any project that will be sold etc. Unfortunately I’ve seen too many stock images being used to market gigs.

There are MANY ‘Free for commercial use’ files on the internet and I understand if a seller wants to use those files to promote their gig but, I still think it’s a FALSE impression. It’s sad. Those are the sellers who get the highest ratings and have the longest queues. Buyers beware!

I’ve been on fiverr for about a week now and I’ve already seen new sellers using OTHER sellers’ images as samples (unless they both stole the images from the same place?)

If you maintain honesty and deliver a quality product, I think you will build your reputation upon that. Reputation might not be enough to make you money on it’s own but, returning customers and referrals will definitely do that!

If you are a seller who uses media resources to supplement projects, please READ the terms of use of those resources and use them within the terms of use.