This summer, I will be releasing all 20 Teacher Creator’s Toolbox videos here on the Core Inspiration blog. Teacher Creator’s Toolbox is a comprehensive guide to help you succeed as a seller in the TPT marketplace. If you are interested in watching these video tutorials in chronological order, visit my video index here.
What You’ll Learn
(00:24) Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
(00:43) What Is Commercial Use?
(01:10) Following Commercial Use Guidelines
(01:35) Finding Commercial Use Elements
(02:21) Avoiding Copyright Infringement
(03:39) Emailing Artists To Request Commercial Use
(04:27) Detailed Information About CU and Copyright
Tool 4 Transcript
Welcome to Legal Tool 4. During this tutorial, I will teach you all about what commercial use is and how to ensure you are following commercial use guidelines.
The most important thing to remember when incorporating clip art, fonts or any design elements into your free or paid products is : if you did not create it yourself, you need permission from the creator to use it.
What Is Commercial Use?
First let’s start by clarifying what commercial use is.
When it comes to selling classroom resources, commercial use is the use of anything (like clip art, fonts or other digital creative elements) within a product or resource that generates income.
If you use an artist’s creative elements in a resource that you hope will generate income for you, you must first have permission to do so.
Is This Clip Art Permitted For Commercial Use?
So how can you be sure the design elements you wish to use are permitted for commercial use?
First, be sure to search specifically for “commercial use fonts and graphics”.
The most efficient way to find commercial use clip art and fonts is to search Teachers Pay Teachers, Teachers Notebook, ETSY, Google using search terms like:
- “Commercial use fonts”
- “Commercial use graphics”
- “Commercial use clip art”
If you are searching for a specific image – add the image description to the end of your search:
- “Commercial use clip art, city”
You must see specific language that clearly gives permission to create and sell classroom resources using the artist’s designs. If you do not see this specific language, you do not have permission to use the artist’s elements in that way.
Where Do I Find Commercial Use Guidelines?
Many artists using ETSY include thier TOU in their product description or have a link to their policys within their product description.
I love purchasing clip art from digital scrapbooking artists who use a slightly different format – they often include their TOU as a link at the bottom or in the sidebars of their blogs or websites.
When you find design elements that suite your style AND are allowed for commercial use, you have a match.
Getting Permission To Use Clip Art For Your TPT Products
I have encountered a few artists who I absolutely adore but have not specifically included TPT sellers in their TOU. In those cases, I simply message the artist and ask for specific permission. I have never waited more than a day to hear back from them and always with good news that I have permission to incorporate their work into my products. They are usually very excited to know that there are teachers in the world who design and sell resources – it’s a new market they didn’t previous know about.
I’ve included a PDF of a basic contact letter you can use as a guide if you ever need to contact an artist about using their work.
Remember to always save your correspondence with them just to play it safe.
Save Your Clip Art Receipts
Those are the basics for abiding by commercial use guidelines. Take some time to search around Teachers Pay Teachers, ETSY, and Digital Scrapbooking sites for some commercial use elements that fit your personal style. As always, be sure to keep receipts for any purchases you make so you can accurately categorize them during tax season.
If you are interested in more information about this important topic, refer to any of the links below.
Next up, in Tool 4, I will give you tips for crediting all the wonderful graphic artists and font designers you are about to fall in love with.