Fiverr Community Forum

You Don’t Understand Commercial Usage

Okay (deep breath kids).

A lot of you don’t understand commercial “rights.”

Some of you are going to relate to this. Some of you aren’t (I like to set up my topics by stating the obvious. It’s a trap. Somewhere, I will go off the deep end).

Here in the land of Fiverr, it is inevitable that we will use each other’s services.

My service is music (it’s actually drinking coffee but that’s not really on topic). I write songs. Professionally and in the shower. Also, I write them here on Fiverr. I’m that guy you go to when you want a song for your album. Or for a theme song. Or as a gift. A jingle. Background content, an instrument track…

Whatever, you get it.

A lot of you have freelance gigs that are similar to mine. Maybe you’re an author, a poet, a writer, a creator … I’m with ya.

In my line of work, there’s a certain wrong headed standard… some ill mutation of a rumor that’s spread like small town gossip. My customers want my rights for their purchase. It looks something like this:

“Hey… could you write me a song, make a recording, play all the instruments, invent the arrangement, melody, concepts, mix and master the recording and give me full ownership of the rights, commercial usage and I’m gonna put my name as the writer so you have to sign an agreement. Also, I need a sample of one of your bodily fluids.”

Here’s the thing… none of these customers actually need that. Not one.

Follow me into the woods for a second…

When you purchase a “recording,” a “written blog,” “copy,” and many other items, what you’re actually purchasing is time and the product.

When you hire someone to write a song, you’ve paid for their time. You get a copy of the song. When you hire someone to make a recording, you’ve purchased the recording. Through the transaction alone, you now own the recording. It’s yours. You can sell it, trade it for crops, give it away, put a polka band on top of it… whatever… it’s your property.

What you don’t own, however, is my writing. As the writer, I can rerelease the song in a different recording. I can rewrite it. I can hire that Canadian rapper Snow to flow weirdly white Jamaican influenced rhymes on it (come on now, you remember “informer.” Clearly Snow is not busy).

Commercial rights, ownership and royalties are not the same thing.

Let’s be honest for a second.

You don’t know how royalty collection works. You haven’t the first clue about hiring a publishing firm to collect your quarterly dues. You’re not signed to a publishing firm and you aren’t going to hire an entertainment lawyer to seek out your back pay. You’re not going through a copyright registry and you’re not gonna barcode the material.

Because, if you did know these things, you’d realize that owning the publishing and writers royalties are not the same money.

In fact, it doesn’t impact ownership money at all.

Writers own their works. Our work is our creation. Not the recording of the creation, should we choose to give it to you. If you purchase someone’s time to write you a short story, what you’ve purchased is time. You may even profit from distributing said material in a product that you created. That won’t prevent the writer from publishing the same work somewhere else. Nor should it.

Stop telling me you need commercial usage for something that already belongs to you. Stop telling me you need full ownership of the material when it doesn’t impact you. Stop telling me about the corona virus (I look terrible in face masks).

Listen Colonel Parker, you don’t need your name on the song to sell the song. You really don’t need your name on the song to use it as the intro for your “Revolutionary True Crime Podcast.” Also… stop calling it “true crime.” You mean “crime.” Crimes are true unless otherwise noted. It’s pretty simple - if you’re watching TV and Joe Pesci shows up, it’s untrue crime.

If you hire a house painter, you bought materials and time. You didn’t buy the color that they painted your house. They can still use that color on a different property. It’s still your house and it’s still your paint that’s on it. If you want to scrape the paint off and sell it, the painter doesn’t care (your neighbors are gonna be a little wonky though).

So there. That’ll teach you. In one post, I’ve single handedly cleared up the confusion about ownership, writers royalties and usage rights. No one will ever ask about it again. Not one person on Fiverr anywhere will ever be wrong about it (see Dad, all my back talk did get me somewhere).

Also, from now on, no one will ever post the “I’m new, tell me how to make money because I don’t read forums and I’m allergic to google” topic ever again. I threw that one in as a bonus.

You’re welcome.


Good points there, but all these rights and copyrights are not easy to understand for everybody.

I think that in the USA/UK you can disown all your rights to a publisher or other person/firm.
That means the commercial rights are as you define them. You can disown everything, you can keep certain rights. By selling on fiverr you accept Fiverr’s special approach to commercial rights and you need to know it by heart and understand it, in order to cover yourself if you think you are not covered enough by their terms. Fiverr allows you to define the rights as you like, if you wanna redefine their comercial use license. You are not obliged to sign an outside document, you can write everything inside the order.

Fiverr doesn’t oblige you to do it. (BTW I think this is possible in USA, correct me if I’m wrong. In France, for example you cannot be disowned from your own work. It works differently from one country to another.) It is up to you to decide what you disown from your rights. You can write more precisions inside the order to define more clearly what are your rights, what are customer’s rights.

The question is: is it clear what are the rights you get or your transfer with the Fiverr Commercial Use license? For me, not completely, but nobody has asked me so far to accept to put their name on it. I think that even the fiverr commercial use license doesnt permit that, but speak more of transfer of rights. The only way you can permit this is to sign a contract (or writing it inside the order is enough).


By the sheer nature of copyright law, once a work is crated it is owned by the person who created it. It doesn’t have to be copyrighted to be owned by that person, only as evidence should a discrepancy about authorship come into play.

The discussion I’m singularly focused on is not “can you” waive your rights to ownership (you can - most record companies, artists and publishing firms won’t even deal with a writer unwilling to part with at least fifty percent publishing rights). My focus is directed at the unnecessary request from freelance purchases.

In the actual professional world of songwriting, I’m contracted to write with or for an artist. I’m paid for my time. They have a new song they can then record. They purchase the studio time, so they own the recording. What they don’t do is attempt to take my writers royalties. Why would they? They make money from ownership and performance royalties.

If I’m working with a record company, I have incentive to split my publishing. They draw up a split sheet. They mass distribute and I’m guaranteed sales. Even then, they aren’t asking for my writers royalties.

Most customers have zero reason to ask for the removal of my credit. They actually mean “I want to sell this.” Which is already established … and THAT is what Fiverr is specifically referring to. However, Fiverr - and no one else for that matter - can prevent me from copyrighting the material that I invented. Most customers don’t understand copyright and they certainly don’t understand publishing laws.

… And why should they? They want a theme song. Or a song to put on an album to sell on tour. They want a song to post on social media and sell a few copies. All of this is fine, because they’re selling their product that they purchased.

In the unlikely event that this recording does amazing sells, I can collect royalties and it doesn’t influence them in the least bit.

It’s not a matter of if I can give my rights away as a creator … it’s a matter of people’s not actually understanding what permissions they need to do what they ultimately want … which is to sell things or use them however they want. It’s already theirs, they don’t need permission… and the creation is already legally mine once it’s created.

For me, I explain this difference to the client and absolutely won’t give away my legally protected rights over someone’s having seen other people say a phrase they don’t understand and now they think it’s professional protocol.

This entire practice stems from non-professional computer “writers” who don’t understand the fundamentals of music, much less of how songwriters get paid versus recording owners. The practice in itself destroys the principals of being a creator and lessens our value as a whole. This miseducation brought about the entire dumb request.

Even still, my argument isn’t that freelance Fiverr songwriters should or shouldn’t give up their material. Most of them have never gotten an artist cut and their material wouldn’t sell anyways. My argument is that they don’t have to in order for the customer to be happy. Because the customer is as confused on the issue as they are.

I’m clarifying the unnecessary nature of the whole process.

But mostly, I’m just yammering on because the forum is my therapy couch… and a place where I show off my third rate comedian material. Now THAT material, you’re more than welcome to own.


Its always a good discussion. And a long one. Copyrights are not an easy subject, so talking and arguing about it may help improve the things, so thanks for posting it.

Not necessary to get condescending. Not everyone is at the same point of expertise or education. For some it is taking longer to get everything and to learn, for some it takes quicker. But the reality is that the music is democratized today, and everybody can sell their music in their own way as much as they want through the internet. It is up to the client to decide which work is worth the money and which work is not worth, not to the “professional or experienced musicians” or to the publishing company. I as well was against this for a long time, but I needed to face the reality. Its the failing musical industry (after 2000s) to blame for this, not the less worthy musicians.

So because it is still not clear for me and you seem more infomrmed than me, its about time to clear this up, are you, by giving the commercial use license, giving away your writers ownership to the client? Can this right be disowned or are you protected by law? And if you are, how are you protected?

1 Like

You mean you convinced Fiverr to close the forum? Yay!

I think at least some of the people who talk about rights actually mean “I wanna pretend I wrote this song and your pinky promise that you’ll never ever tell anyone it wasn’t me.” :smirk:

Also, don’t ever give anyone anything someone could perform a voodoo ritual with.


Would it not be easy to have a little word document explaining the different usage/ownership/copyright options and what they mean along with a price for each:

  • Use my lyrics for your own recording - included in gig price
  • Have me record it and you use it - gig price + $100
  • Pretend you wrote it and I don’t exist - gig price + $1000

Rather than having to explain it to everyone each time and tell them it’s not possible or too expensive for them, show them what they need and that what they are asking for is available but far too expensive for them to actually get.


Every time I come across a post about commercial rights, I feel like eating a live hand grenade.

The simple, inescapable fact of the matter, is that buying on Fiverr is not like hiring a VO or creative person in real life. The majority of people expect to be able to pay a simple flat fee for whatever they need without any fuss.

If you want to charge for commercial rights, build that into your gig price, and save buyers a lengthy lecture about your rights and how the music industry or whatever industry works.


Actually, if people ask that all the time, maybe a really great document explaining everything around copyright as a deliverable for a $5 gig could be a good side gig. Write it once, deliver it instantaneously and as often as people ask and are willing to pay for comprehensive info that’s tailored to Fiverr and worded in a way that everyone can understand it.

Of course, there’s the chance that people who won’t understand it, and there will be people who won’t understand something that everyone can understand, will leave a bad review.
On the bright side, if you also offer a $10 per 10 minutes consultation gig for copyright consultation, you can tell people who think $5 is too expensive that it’s, au contraire, a bargain, or they’ll go and search the ToS and forum for Commercial Usage threads rather than paying for your time.

Or perhaps the copyright consultation gig would take off and OP could offer a premium tier “comedy consultation gig”, then maybe all the explaining would be fun rather than torture, and, seriously, it’s all about fun nowadays, isn’t it. I bet if the ToS were a video and some famous or semi-famous YouTuber or perhaps rapper would present them, more people would “read” them. :thinking:

1 Like

I vote Emma to be the one to introduce this with a license to expand it and use her own words



Actually… there’s a perfectly legitimate, extremely well founded and fortunately timed reason to be condescending.

Let’s not discount the proven health benefits of being condescending. It’s a medical fact that “snark” clears facial blemishes. As a former child performer, I earned my “Star of Jaded” at an impressive, seven years of age. As a result, I missed the “puberty face” phase entirely.

When I do condescending, it will come with a weaponized militia of word garbage. When I condescend, it will feel like being water tortured with lemon juice while having an open head wound.

The previous statement doesn’t apply to you. In fact, I’ve contacted a medium who equated this reply and respond session to two boys fighting at the school playground. You know what happens to them, right? They become best friends. Don’t be afraid, Audio. Just let me in.

What I did is called “musicianing.” That’s the practice of complaining about issues that cannot be resolved, while hate eating a Swiss roll in Batman sweatpants (if you actually play the Batman tv theme song, while musicianing, Adam West materializes before you in a cloud of smoke that says “POW!”)

Actually, American music has never not been a democratic process. Prior to our current charting system, there were far more opportunities for local and regional musicians to experience success and sales through “Juke Box” charts and isolated locational air play. Bands and artists have always hawked their materials. We’ve all heard the success stories of musicians selling tapes/cd’s from their car trunk all the way to stadiums.

It’s also true that, prior to the internet, all artistic skill wasn’t treated as “equal.” It’s not equal and it shouldn’t be. Art hasn’t been democratized by the internet. It’s been loaded up in an Elon Musk funded space mobile and rocketed to the outer regions of a distant galaxy.

Art has been demoralized and devalued.

Painters, writers, musicians, photographers and it’s offshoot artistic contributors haven’t benefited at all from the standard erosion of a “hip new world where anyone can be talented because they say so.” You need look no further than the sales of music and the 30 percent decline in organic instruments to know this is true.

Turns out that the keepers of the gate were actually good for something other than establishing which boy band member was “the bad one.”

Now… the depreciation of art is an entirely different thread for an entirely different day. But here’s a spoiler… it’s a sad thread. We all feel a little lesser than for having engaged in it and individually we get our own sad movie montage… Where we look at the sky, sit at the kitchen table and drive away listening to the 1980’s classic “Time after time…”

Yeah. When has that never not been the case?

I haven’t forced anyone to purchase an album in ten years. So stop looking at me like that. By the way, that album was Prince’s “Controversy.” So I feel totally justified in breaking into that house and taking them to Walmart against their will.

Look, the public has had a never ending fascination with bad artistry. Although… there’s something to be said about the depletion of required musical education and appreciation courses and it’s direct ties to “button pushing musicians.”

Let’s not be silly. The process of music is not subjective. It’s advertising. It always has been. If a record company wants to give you Pat Boone to sing “Tutti Frutti” because Little Richard is too black and eccentric, then guess who the public is going to buy? At least their A&R representatives were searching out good material, despite their asinine means of delivery. Today, any kid with Mommy’s debt card can market to you. Everywhere. This over saturation doesn’t give you more options. It numbs you to them… And if that’s not bad enough, you’re supposed options are fed to you by a secret algorithm, designed to give you only the same food.

Rock N Roll no longer casts the wide net of meaning Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, The Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison.

The box is much smaller. Because, “if you like this protools created, inhuman nonsense, you’ll like this other inhuman nonsense created on protools.”

So, not for nothing, it’s actually up to the advertising dollar to decide what’s best for you. Your only hope is that the advertiser in question has decent taste.

The same is true here. If I pay 50 people to “buy” things from me within a week, my ranking goes up and I get more work. That says nothing about my talent or a customer’s taste.

Obviously, none of that is topic relevant. It’s all practice for my latest gig, “I will write an off topic blog for your on topic website (The gig is still pending … I may have used footage from the movie Tombstone on the intro video).”

I mean this in the most loving way brother -

Are you being funny?

Sometimes, prior to six cups of coffee, I have difficulty differentiating between “serious” and “not serious.” I also mispronounce “GIF” but I’m not sure these problems are related.

Apparently, by spouting off at the mouth, ranting and arm waving, chest raising and issuing out grievances, I’ve somehow muddled my entire point. Which is fine. I come from an incredible line of muddlers.

Here we go:

  1. You don’t need a license, an agreement, a contract, a handshake, a milk shake, a Milky Way or permission to own what you purchase.

  2. As it applies to hiring a songwriter, you have hired the act of writing a song (by act I mean, I write in a pirate costume and insist on being called Captain Reallycoolguy).

  3. If you own a recording, you can sell the recording. That doesn’t mean you are the source material inventor.

  4. Songwriting royalties do not effect recording ownership royalties. They aren’t the same. Since most people will never go through the actual process to obtain quarterly writing royalties - they shouldn’t concern themselves with how it effects them selling music from a website. It doesn’t. I’m fairly positive my .7 percent writing royalties aren’t worth most people’s time to legally wrangle.

So the answer is no. “Giving” someone commercial usage (which, again is not real. No one needs permission to commercialize their own stuff) doesn’t mean I’m giving you the writing credentials.

It’s not inferred, common place or even discussed in the professional realm of staff/published writing assignments to take someone’s writing credit off a song. If you are being told to do that, immediately leave. In fact, it’s not even a real writing session. You’re actually in an FBI sting. Stop talking. Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.

It’s a trend on Fiverr brought about by “songwriters” who don’t understand their rights or what the customer really wants. I know, I know, free-market and such. It’s just totally amusing that art is the only market where factual knowledge and hard work isn’t a prerequisite to being hired. Last I checked, if you don’t understand the law, you’re not gonna get many attorney jobs.

Know what? Scrap that example. Terrible, horrible example. Just come up with something else, I’m exhausted.

Thanks for the conversation. We are now best friends (pretty sure that’s how it works). I’m pretty needy, but my movie collection rocks. Also, my Mom doesn’t care if we stay up all night so it’s like we’re totally grownups.

Really bro?

After two years of being away, this is the greeting you give me?

Why can’t things be like they were when we first met?
When everyday was an endless summer sun of cofounded cynicism. I loved those days… and if you searched your heart, I know you did too. Should I just toss out this cake that I made you? Maybe I will.

Look, every union has it’s ups and downs.

We all get a little tired of people’s eccentricities. Yeah, I do mention “coffee” too much… and maybe I use the “medical study” routine a bit too often… maybe I shouldn’t have “robbed” that convenience store…

I never meant to hurt anybody. Except that one guy. Who wears a feathered cap in a Starbucks anyway?

Ya know, my family told me you would do this. You’d like some of my reply’s, substantiate my more moody offerings, co-sponsor and even help me throw an entire thread into a place of absurdity … and then leave me high and dry …

Still, I defended you all the while.

To my credit, my topic wasn’t some repackaged retread of average “rights” complaining.

It was a repackaged, retread of average “rights” complaining that mentioned Joe Pesci. Does that really matter? Of course. If you cast Joe Pesci in Forrest Gump, it’s not the same. Somewhere in there is a point. Probably (I checked again. Not a point in sight).

My beef isn’t that Fiverr is an exact replica of the real world. My central issue is the misconception that buyers need things that don’t effect them. A consequence of bad seller information that developed over time. In 2013, no one ever asked about it. At the end of the day, songwriting and logo making aren’t the same. There’s such a mind numbing amount of legalities involved with songwriting, creation and distribution that it makes me want to boil my hands over a stove and then do 100 push-ups. Or join a modern country band (way harsher example). Fiverr doesn’t supersede musical copyright law nor does it need to in order to appease the actual agenda of these consumers.

Either way…my entire complaint is as fixable as your tirade about the unreasonable 4 star reviews on new gigs.

If I could conjure the power to change these things, I would use that very power for much greater concerns.

Like… I’d create a coffee line and an everything else line.
(There I go again with the coffee crap).

I would make dogs talk. But they could only use the voice of the Taco Bell dog from the 90’s. Where’s that guy? I’d cast him in everything.

I would have a conversation with David Lynch, where he leans in and begins with, “Okay dude, here’s what Twin Peaks is really about.”

I can’t change these things. Which is an amazing reason to rant and rave. I offer both.

So, come on man. Let’s give it another try. I think what we had is worth saving. In fact - 9 out of 10 doctors agree that we’re better together than not (for the love of all things holy, I just can’t drop this stupid non joke).

Because, making a totally valid point at my expense is good… but cake is way better…

I have no idea who you are, sorry.

1 Like

It’s acceptable. Do any of us really know who we are?

Edit: I may have exaggerated our interactions a smidgen.