In February, we updated our content policy here on the Envato Marketplaces with more detail, particularly around using external assets, like photos and music, in item previews. We’ve also had quite a few posts appearing here on Notes about surrounding issues. In our content policy post we asked all authors to review their portfolios by March 12th – today! So what happens next?
As you will know from reading the content policy, as well as having items disabled or rejected, there are scenarios where an author’s entire account could be disabled and the author banned from the marketplaces. Nobody wants that sort of outcome, so I urge all authors to take this stuff very seriously.
The first scenario that could lead to disablement is where an author is the subject of repeated DMCA notices from rights holders. If there are a number of DMCAs, and they are all in valid form, and no counter-notices are filed by the author, then we are required by DMCA legislation to ban authors, and we will do so.
A second scenario is where we are notified or become aware of what we consider to be violations of our content policy, in some other way besides a DMCA notice. We have an option to ban authors in this situation. It’s important to understand that we will work to educate authors who have genuine questions or are genuinely unsure about how to source or use assets within their items, but will not tolerate repeated or blatant disregard the intellectual property of others.
Reviewing Portfolios and Categories
If a DMCA notice is received, in addition to the steps required by the DMCA we may ask the author to review their entire portfolio, and then review that portfolio ourselves. In the process of dealing with a DMCA notice, we may notice other items in an author’s portfolio and again may exercise our discretion to disable items where there might be IP issues.
The authors retain overall responsibility for their content however, as we are not copyright detectives. For the same reason, copyright owners have the responsibility to police infringements of their works (and use the DMCA process), and we cannot be expected to do this for them. As you can imagine, it would be impossible to identify, track down and verify licensing for anything in a marketplace item that might come from someone apart from the author.
Over time we are going to do a high level (not full IP) review of key categories and marketplaces. Again we won’t be acting as copyright investigators, but will in our discretion be contacting authors about obvious potential IP problems, such as the use of copyrighted characters and celebrity photos.
The first review will cover some of the print templates categories in GraphicRiver, particularly flyers, brochures, magazine and CD cover templates. This review will begin on March 26th.
Out of this review, we will be exercising our discretion regarding banning authors (as explained above). I’m confident that the vast majority of authors want to do the right thing when it comes to using others’ assets correctly, and hopeful that there will be few, if any, situations requiring this action.
As a reminder, our content policy applies to ‘live previews’ (demo or externally hosted previews). Although they may be hosted elsewhere, they are nonetheless associated with items sold here on the Envato Marketplaces, and we are committed to ensuring that items associated with our marketplaces respect others’ intellectual property.
Review Your Portfolios
I’d ask all authors to take the opportunity to review your existing previews and ensure you have appropriately sourced assets, including properly licensed assets such as stock photos.
It has always been our policy that authors must respect the intellectual property rights of others, and on the whole they have. Since we have now further clarified the policy and asked authors to review their portfolios, we will be taking an increasingly dim view of authors whose existing and new items and previews fail to comply with our content policy.
I’ve also got more posts I’m preparing to publish here on Notes to talk about more related copyright and IP issues. It’s really important stuff for our marketplaces given that what we trade in here is intellectual property. So stay tuned for more posts. And if you have any questions about this one, or anything related, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!