Nov 02

The Envato Copyright Policy

Wed, 11/02/2011 - 09:00 — julie
Fuzzy Copyright by Nancy Sims

Do you find copyright a little fuzzy? Over the next week we’ll bring you four helpful articles on copyright from the Envato Wiki. This article can be found on the wiki here, and outlines Envato’s policy about copyright.

Do you have any questions not covered in these articles? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll put something together to clarify.

1. Introduction

Envato operates an online marketplace, through various content specific sites, at which Members are entitled to sell and buy the right to use works created and/or owned by selling Members (Sellers).

Content offered for sale at each Envato marketplace are works which are protected by copyright.

In this policy reference to “works” means any work in which copyright subsists – be it a drawing, sound clip, moving image or photograph.

Copyright is a complex area of the law.  There are many misconceptions surrounding the use of works which are protected by copyright.

Copyright laws were first introduced with the advent of book publishing and since then have been updated to address the advent of new technologies permitting works to be created in different ways.

However, sometimes the law struggles to keep up and from time to time when no obvious guidance is available it is necessary for Envato to make a considered decision based on the existing law and the likely extension of that law.

In order to improve knowledge among Envato members and reduce the number of copyright misconceptions, Envato maintains a store of information and reference materials on the topic of copyright for those who want to know more about the subject.  This is to be found at Envato – Copyright 101.

Dealing with copyright is also made more difficult because copyright works may involve representations or records of images in which other rights exist, such as a trade mark or a design or a performance.  There are also, in certain places, special laws which protect well known public buildings and laws which give famous people rights to their own image.

While copyright laws are broadly consistent throughout the world there are these additional special laws and also copyright laws are open to different interpretations according the cultural norms and social values of the territory in which the laws are being interpreted by the courts.

Copyright laws and practice will continue to evolve and Envato will update its policy from time to time as circumstances dictate.

2. Respecting copyright

Above all else Envato recognizes the importance of copyright and respects copyright.

Envato encourages its members to do the same. Indeed it is up to everyone in the Envato community to understand, and play by, the copyright rules.

Envato recognizes that copyright is a valuable economic right. It allows the owner of a copyright work to make an income by allowing others the right to use the work.  This is the purpose of the marketplace – to provide a forum at which Sellers and Buyers can come together to conduct business.

Of course in conducting a marketplace Envato needs to be alert to the risk that works may be offered by a Seller who is not authorised to do so either because the Seller does not own the work or because the Seller has copied the work.

Envato does not offer a copyright clearing service and relies on the promises made by Sellers as to the ownership and origins of the works offered by them.

There is a process of works being evaluated by Envato before they are allowed to be offered at the marketplace but this evaluation focuses primarily on quality control issues.

If there is any obvious breach of copyright Envato will not allow publication on an Envato marketplace but approval to upload should not be taken as an indication that Envato has cleared copyright.

While Envato is based in Australia, Envato’s objective is to comply with copyright laws in other key jurisdictions, including the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Envato will act promptly to remove content if it suspects infringement or is notified of alleged infringement.

3. What we expect of Sellers

Envato expects Sellers to respect the copyright and other proprietary rights of others.

Before a Seller offers his or her first work on an Envato marketplace, the Seller must successfully complete an online tutorial about intellectual property rights, including copyright.

It is the responsibility of each Seller to check, and ensure, that he or she owns or has the appropriate rights to any work uploaded onto an Envato marketplace.

A Seller must not upload any content unless they own the content or have obtained appropriate licenses and consents from the copyright owner.

If in doubt ask – don’t assume!

Envato has developed house rules which should be followed by Members offering works on an Envato marketplace.  While these are not required by law, Envato expects that, by adopting and following these house rules, the scope for infringement will be reduced.

4. What we do before Sellers can sell

Envato will check the content each Seller submits for quality purposes and while doing so Envato may identify, and notify the Seller of any, potential copyright issues.

However, Envato is not obliged to review any content a Seller submits for copyright compliance or to notify the Seller of potential issues.

Sellers must not assume that Envato will check and verify the existence or ownership of copyright. Acceptance of content by Envato does not mean that Envato has checked and cleared copyright.

5. What we expect of Buyers

Envato expects buying Members (Buyers) to respect the copyright and other proprietary rights of others.

Buyers should only use any works acquired in accordance with the terms of the license for which payment has been made.  Buyers should also observe the house rules which Envato has developed for buyers .  While these are not required by law, Envato expects that, by adopting and following these house rules, the scope for infringement will be reduced.

It is up to the Buyer to ensure that he or she has obtained all necessary licenses, clearances and consents that may be required for the Buyer’s specific use of the work.

Envato relies on Buyers to behave responsibly by complying with the terms of the license which they are granted to use the work.  These are limited use rights and must be strictly observed.

If in doubt ask – don’t assume!

6. What to do if you believe your work is infringed

Envato does not authorise or condone infringement of copyright.

Envato does not, and has no obligation to, police copyright infringement but we will act promptly if we receive notice of an alleged infringement.

A Member, who believes an infringement has occurred, is able to give us notice by the following the steps outline in What Do I Do If I Am A Victim Of Copyright Infringement? .

If you believe that a work offered on an Envato marketplace infringes on your copyright you should send Envato this notice.

If you believe that a work acquired through an Envato marketplace has been used in a way that infringes on your copyright you should send Envato this notice.

7. What we do if we receive a notice of or if we suspect infringement

Envato promises that it will respond promptly to alleged copyright infringement promptly.

Where the copyright infringement relates to a work uploaded to an Envato marketplace, Envato will take down the work on receipt of notice of alleged infringement.

The alleged infringing Member will be notified and will have an opportunity to file a counter notice to prove (in the case of a Seller) his or her authority to offer the work or (in the case of a Buyer) to use it as used.

In many cases Envato has found this is the end of the matter.

Often a Seller will not press for the work to be restored. Sellers are entitled to do this without admitting liability.

Often a Buyer will curtail his or her use of the work. Buyers are entitled to do this without admitting liability.

It is sometimes said that copyright owners abuse the willingness of website operators, who readily take down works on receipt of notice of infringement, by giving infringement notices as a means of preventing others from exploiting their copyright works when they have no basis on which to make the infringement allegation.

Envato is not able to make any formal judgement as to whether copyright has been infringed but does encourage Sellers, if they think they have been unfairly dealt with, to respond and provide evidence about the origins and ownership of the contested work.

8. Consequences of infringement

Serious consequences may flow from any infringement of another person’s copyright.

You may become liable to the owner of the copyright for damages and other consequences.

Members, who are found to have infringed another’s copyright, do not meet Envato’s expectations as outlined in this Policy.

Envato reserves the right to deal with such Members as follows:

One-Strike Violations

One Strike Violations: are serious breaches of Envato’s copyright policy.  They include, but are not limited to, a Member:

  • uploading a work, to an Envato marketplace, that is not the Member’s own creation;
  • uploading a work, to an Envato marketplace, that is not the Member’s own creation but is being distributed freely elsewhere pursuant to a licence that prohibits resale or redistribution;
  • uploading a work to, an Envato marketplace, that contains a virus or other malware; or
  • committing two or more breaches which are the subject of Warning Violations as determined by Envato.

Consequences of One Strike Violation: A Member, responsible for a One Strike Violation will have his or her account DISABLEDimmediately.  Envato also reserves the right to withhold payment of any money standing to the credit of the Member in the Member’s account with Envato until the violation is resolved to the satisfaction of Envato but not exceeding a period of 12 months.

Reinstatement: If a Member has had his or her account with Envato disabled as a result of a One-Strike Violation an application can be made by the Member to be reinstated.  This is done by contacting support .

Warning Violations

Certain violations represent a less serious breach of Envato’s copyright policy and have a less severe penalty. Nonetheless they will lead to more severe action by Envato if the Member does not respond and/or take appropriate action.

Warning Violations: include, but are not limited to a Member:

  • uploading a work, to an Envato marketplace, that is the output of a tutorial in breach of Envato’s house rules; or
  • uploading a work, to an Envato marketplace, that is not the Member’s own creation and that is being distributed freely elsewhere WITHOUT an appropriate licence.

Consequences of Warning Violation: A Member responsible for a Warning Violation will receive an email warning from Envato.  Envato reserves the right to DISABLE his or her account immediately.  Continued warning violations by the Member will result in escalation to a One-Strike Violation.

Reinstatement: If a Member has had his or her account with Envato disabled as a result of a One-Strike Violation an application can be made by the Member to be reinstated.  This is done by contacting support.

 




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