What does ‘Personal Use’ or ‘Commercial Use’ on an SVG file mean to crafters?
I’ve gotten a few messages lately asking the difference and I thought it was time for a blog post about Commercial Use, Crafter’s License or Personal Use terms used on many SVG sites.
First, I’m NOT a lawyer.
This post pertains to how I run my blog here at We Can Make That, and how I protect my SVG designs in my shop. (I’ve been a designer since the 90s and this is how I have always treated mine and other designs.)
It doesn’t take a law degree to know I can NOT use other people’s designs to build MY business unless I have their permission (either by verbal or by buying the rights). So, for example, I will never have a Disney® design in my SVG shop (cause I can’t afford the mess it would cause if they found out or another company’s design for that matter).
The great thing is, as an entrepreneur, we get to make a lot of our rules for our business. But, as a freelance graphic designer since 1997, I appreciate the fact that there ARE laws to protect my designs.~Chelly Ontis, SVG Designer
® Register Mark
Did you know, that if you find an image online, there doesn’t have to be a ® (Register mark) on the image for rights to be owned by someone? So, just assume all images you find do NOT give you permission to use them unless you find it says otherwise.
Simply Stated: As a creator/designer, your items are protected as you design them. Meaning, getting others to respect (or understand that) is usually the problem).
Just like a photographer who takes your pictures, he/she instantly owns them until you pay for rights, or they are given to you for free. And they are usually limited to how and where you can reprint them. Meaning you usually can not take a picture or image from the internet, get prints made, and sell them for profit.
For a design file example, when I design a logo, I own that design until I turn it over to the customer (and I design a LOT of logos these days for creative entrepreneurs!).
Now, let’s talk about how this all applies to SVGs:
Personal Use Rights for SVGs
If you are a crafter – making things for yourself and your home – then this article doesn’t really apply to you. That type of use for SVGs is considered personal use. If you make something and gift it to someone, my Personal Use SVG rights fall into this setting as well.
So, craft away, my friends! We have lots of fun things in our shop!
Commercial Use (Crafter’s License) for SVGs
Now, let’s say you are a crafter like I just mentioned, and soon people are saying, “how much for you to make me one of those __________” [Fill in the blank: shirts, wall art, tumblers, wall or car types of vinyl, etc…]
This is where you cross the line to Commercial Use or Crafter’s License.
Even if you were not exchanging money but trading something for said item, this is considered Commercial Use. Let’s say you traded babysitting time for your kids for this said item. That is the start of a business and falls under Commercial Use or Crafter’s License.
(Side note, if that IS your life you should check out our FREE Facebook group for crafters toeing the line between business and crafter. It’s free and has lots of fun training to get you going or help you decide if this is what you want to jump into.)
Never Included in Personal or Commercial File Rights:
I should say “never” here, but I suggest reading the fine print on the files you are using. These rules apply to ALL my SVGs files on the site here.
- You can NOT resell the design/digital file.
- Please NEVER sell items you make, or trade for compensation, without the file having a Commercial Use, or Crafter’s License.
- You can NOT alter and resell the digital design in any form.
- NO file sharing. Businesses and Personal Crafters! Simply share the link where you found the file, and your crafting friends can buy/download their own. (This helps support the blog so I can bring you even more files, especially the free ones!)
So, how do you get a Commercial Rights or Crafter’s Licenses for SVGs?
Simply put: Buy one.
Or ask for one of the sites that don’t offer a place to buy one. The consequence of breaking this can be so devastating to a small business that it’s not worth the risk of legal action by the designer/business owning the file.
And you don’t have to comment and tell me about Disney®, Marvel®, or other licensed items being sold in person and online (like Etsy shops) illegally. So, I would tell you, other people’s bad business practice is none of your business, and that won’t help you succeed.
If you are going down the road of an entrepreneur from your hobby, you want to be a reputable company. There are so many other great ways to sell more and build the amazing business you are dreaming of today.
How to get Commercial Use SVGs, or Crafter’s License SVGs on We Can Make That
We offer a couple of different ways you can use our files to build your business.
This type of SVG/Crafting website is not free to maintain. The time and technology costs are more than I expected for sure! So, to support this passion of mine — this website, the free SVGs and all the other fun things we have here — we offer a variety of ways people can purchase/use our items.
- Free SVGs on the site include both commercial and personal use.
- We have Commercial Use, or Crafter’s License for the SVG files in our shop. This is for small business use only. Meaning if you are making handmade products, you make use our SVGs. If you want to use them to do print on demand or if you are a larger business (See details on our Angel Policy) please reach out as this is not included.
- We do not offer a license to use our files to create other SVG files or to resell them as your own.
My “why” I now have a Craft business.
I hope this helped clear up what file you need to turn your business into a hobby. This adventure has been amazing for me. Not always easy, but always worth it! I hope you join the fun of owning a creative business.
I started this site in 2016 as a way to escape the reality of my messy divorce. Creative Therapy I called it. I needed a creative outlet during this ugly time. I was able to share my creativity and focus on something fun. It helped with the healing I needed to focus on from the ‘garbage’ my first marriage brought me and my kids.
Divorce IS messy. This helped me heal and move on.
Another reason for this adventure, I became a single mom of two tweenagers and needed to increase my income. This type of business doubled my income and gave me the freedom I needed to be with them.
Again, it wasn’t easy, but it is SO worth it.
Let my experience help you build your dream.~Chelly
As I write this I have been a Freelance Graphic Designer at Elegant Designs since 1997, and now We Can Make That is here to help you build your creative dreams too.
What other crafting business questions do you have? I would love to chat more below or jump into the free Facebook group I mentioned above.
Happy (business) Crafting!