What does ‘Personal Use’ or ‘Commercial Use’ on an SVG file mean to crafters?
A common question I get is asking the differences on Commercial Use SVG files and person use. So, I thought it was time to update this blog post about Commercial Use, Crafter’s License or Personal Use terms used on many SVG sites.
First, I’m NOT a lawyer. We had a lawyer presenta session at our 2022 Craft Business Summit. You can catch the replay of her session here if you want to get laywer-y. I’ll walk you through the basics and how you can use the files on my site.
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 graphic designer since the mid 1990s and this is how I have always treated mine and other designs.)
Can you use an SVG for commercial use?
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 & Graphic Designer
® Register Mark
Did you know that when you find an image online, there doesn’t have to be a ® (Register Mark) on the image for rights to be owned by someone? (Meaning you can’t use it without their permission).
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. Usually, getting others to respect or understand this is usually the problem in the online space.
Just like a photographer who takes your pictures, he/she instantly owns the rights to that image, even though it might have your face in them. This is so until you pay for rights, or they are given you the rights for free. And they are usually limited to how and where you can reprint them.
Meaning you usually can not take a graphic, picture or image you find on 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!). If your logo designer does not pass over the rights, they will probably do so leading to them charging you each time you need the file.
A professional graphic designer will turn over the rights after you have agreed on the said design.
Our SVG Club is perfect for Crafters and Small Business Crafters
If you don’t have time to design files but love making items to sell: This SVG Club is perfect for you!
- Professionally designed files for Shirts, Cards, Signs
- Print on Demond Option (just add my website & copyright)
- Access to all the SVGs in the shop + the new files added while in the club.
Now, let’s talk about how commercial rights apply to SVGs:
Personal Use Rights for SVG Files
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 a craft and gift it to someone, my Personal Use SVG rights fall into this situation.
So, craft away, my friends! We have lots of fun things in our shop!
What does commercial use mean for SVG files?
Commercial use or Crafter’s License is for business use. 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 from personal use to Commercial Use or Crafter’s License, as you are now using someone’s design to make.
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 item you created. 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 simple trainings to get you going or help you decide if this is what you want to jump into.)
Rights that Never Included in Personal or Commercial File Rights:
I shouldn’t say “never” here, but I suggest reading the fine print on the files you are using. These rules apply to ALL of my SVG files on this site.
- You can NOT resell the design/digital file in your shop or share for free with anyone else.
- 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. (Meaning you can not use my files to create other digital files you sell).
- NO file sharing: Businesses and Personal Crafters! Simply share the link to my site where you found the design, 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 Commercial Rights or Crafter’s Licenses for SVGs?
Simply put: Buy one or request one.
Ask for one on the sites that don’t offer a place to buy the rights. 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 all the Disney®, Marvel®, or other licensed items being sold in-person and online 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 hobby to business, you want to be a reputable company from day one. 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.
- For Print on Demand type business, you can buy our SVG Club and we ask that you add ©www.wecanmakethat.me to each design (8-point font or larger).
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 me focus on the healing I needed from the ‘garbage’ my first marriage brought me and my kids.
Divorce IS messy. This blog helped me heal and move on. Now it’s my fun time (but also takes ton of time!).
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.
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!