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blueoxygen says

Hi all and Happy New Year!

I have researched the topic of proper product photo usage in E-Commerce theme demos and found the note posted by Themeforest, however I am still a little unclear and hope someone can help clarify.

I have seen several theme authors use professional photography that appears to be taken from live websites, designer websites, etc. I won’t mention the name(s) of the authors or themes I have seen these in because I am not trying to get anyone in trouble, I just want to understand legally what is right and wrong and what theme authors typically do here.

For example, one website showed a photo with a female model wearing a piece made by a very popular clothing designer. Upon a quick Google search, I found the same photos in an actual clothing website.

Are these photos allowed for use in demo sites or are some theme authors taking a chance by using photos that are not licensed for their use?

What do you guys suggest and where should I seek out good sample product photography for my theme demo? I have had legal issues with photo copyrights and I just don’t want to find myself in a situation where I am violating anyone’s copyright by using images that I shouldn’t be using.

Thanks in advance.

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themeflame says

Hi.

It is common sense not to “illegally” use people’s work. You wouldn’t like it if somebody used your work to advertise something else.

Now this all might make you say “Oh, you’re so bad for saying these!” but it’s just how things are.

Let me tell you a story that will clarify a thing. I know a theme that is a best seller. Now, I love the author so I won’t flag it. But I asked the person that he used the images from if he got permission, because I wanted to use them aswell and he said “No, we do not allow that under any circumstances, our customers would be mad!”.

So they didn’t get any permission to use the photos. It smells like lack of professionalism – but everyone does errors! If he were to send an angry email to Envato, I believe they’d disable the theme temporarily or just make sure the author removes them fast. (Since it’s a best seller, it’d be a bad business decision for Envato to remove it, but also from a Corporation point of view, you can have problems.)

Now, some people give RIGHTs or ALLOW people (For free or paid) to use their photos in previews.

In my own opinion, if you post your image – As you allow people to post it on their blog, you should let others post them in their themes. We’re not really re-distributing the images and give proper credits as everyone does (“Courtesy of…”) but in a very professional way, legally, if your work is copyrighted, you must not allow anyone to use it under any circumstances without clearly stating that you gave them permission to use it. (If you let them.).

On a personal note: You’ll be fine. Really nobody cares about those things, unless they do. And they’re very rare. Most people feel very good that you drive them traffic and people get to see their work. Altough not to have any issues, make sure you ask people for permission! Most people don’t ask for permissions. How do I know? I spent probably hundreds of hours looking for the right image, even offering payment but they’d say no – Yet many use them. People also speak so authors would “bad mouth” the Photographer & such. Many realize it and they just let it be.

Also – If you’re at the very begining and you’re low on cash, don’t pay for images. There must be somebody who’d let you use them for free! Yes they’re important – They psychologically affect people that see them, hence why people just drool over those “big mellons” pictures (If you know what I mean!) but you should be looking for alternatives!

Another example would be News. Many times people “copy” content from bigger sites or other sources and state “Thanks to XNEWS for this content/image.” and it’s all okay. Nobody sued them for that, as far as my knowledge goes.

I’m not going to post links, because everyone will figure it out and they’re a bit “widely used” and don’t want to create/mess with anyone’s business.

And hey, we’re not going to complain if you use our logo in your theme because it’s simply awesome and everyone agrees. ;)

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blueoxygen says

Thanks themeflame! I appreciate the thoughtful response.

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