Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights

To assist you in evaluating one’s intellectual property rights, has summarized general copyright principles and frequently asked questions below.  This summary is applicable to United States Copyright law only. Please consult local laws regarding copyright laws in other countries.


Your use of is governed by our Terms of Service (TOS), Privacy Policy, and Intellectual Property Claims policy. Failure to follow’s policies may result in the termination of your accounts or ability to interact on the marketplace.

What Is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by applicable law to creators of original works. This mainly applies to the creative categories. The owner of the copyright usually has the exclusive right to use or distribute the work. Exclusive rights can include:

  • The right to reproduce (copy) or distribute the original work
  • The right to create derivative works based on the original work
  • The right to perform or display the work publicly

You do not need to formally register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office to retain intellectual property rights in your work in the United States. Federal registration of your copyrighted work, however, may give you additional legal tools to protect against copyright infringement (described below). For more information on federal registration of copyrights, visit the U.S. Copyright Office website at

What types of work are protected by copyright?

  • Audiovisual works (tv shows, online videos)
  • Audio/sound recordings
  • Musical compositions
  • Visual content including paintings, posters, and advertisements
  • Photographs
  • Graphics
  • Dramatic works, including plays and musicals

Violation of these rights is called copyright infringement.

So, what’s copyright infringement and how do I avoid it when selling my Gigs?

Copyright infringement is the use of works protected by copyright law without the rights holder’s permission. Using copyrighted material is against our Terms of Service and in addition can be illegal, result in litigation or fines to you and your buyers and is not the original, unique work buyers expect to receive from sellers on .

If you use any content that you have licensed from a 3rd party as part of your delivery (such as stock photos, licensed music), state it clearly and don’t present it as your own. Also, be sure to verify that your license for 3rd party work includes the right to modify and resell this work.

Since this is not a legal document and copyright law is complex, here are a few tips to help you stay out of trouble:

  • Always assume that work that is not your own is protected by federal copyright law unless you are able to reliably prove that it is not. This includes images or articles downloaded from the web, even if they are freely available.
  • Don’t take or borrow anything from the Internet in your work, because it is almost always copyrighted.
  • When you use work that is licensed – Read the terms of the license.  You may not have the ability to use licensed work, even if you paid for it. If your license covers use of the work, be careful to include information regarding the license in the use of the work.
  • Be creative. If you question whether a certain action would infringe on the copyright of someone else, ask: Is this a creative work on my count, or am I simply drawing from the creativity of someone else?


  • Scanning or copying something yourself does not, by itself, give you a new copyright over anything. For example, you cannot find a logo on the Internet, and then re-use it or Photoshop it without obtaining a proper license from the rights holder; the copyright would still reside with the author of the work.
  • Taking a screenshot of a video or an image does not make for a new copyright. The copyright in the resulting screenshot would still be held by the copyright holder of the original video or computer program.
  • Copying a design and changing one color or element of the design is still copyright infringement.
  • Re-selling free stock photography may be copyright infringement, depending on the terms of the license.
  • A few examples of non-creative things are not copyrightable: a plain text logo in a generic font. Neither are simple geometric shapes. But don’t rely on this unless you are certain.

For more information, see United States Copyright Office summary of Copyright Basics.

How do I report a claim of copyright infringement?
Visit our Intellectual Property Claims policy for complete information on reporting claims of copyright or intellectual infringement, as well as trademark violations.

Is copyright the same as trademark?
Copyright is just one form of intellectual property. It’s not the same as a trademark, which protects brand names, logos, and other source identifiers from being used by others for certain purposes.

What is a copyright license?
Licensing is when a copyright owner grants permission to use the copyrighted work or part of it. This permission can include copying, distributing, displaying, transforming, or perform a copyrighted work. It could be limited in time, to a geographic area or to certain use cases, depending on the license.

What are Public Domain Works?
Works that aren’t restricted by copyright laws and don’t require a license or fee to use. Works enter the public domain because they aren’t copyrightable, or become part of the public domain because the copyright term has expired.