Commercial Use Digital Scrapbook Graphics

Dana Hinders
Free graphics are fine for personal use, but a commercial license is needed for scrapbooking for hire.

If you're planning to start your own home-based scrapbooking business, it's important to understand commercial use with digital scrapbook graphics.

Avoiding Copyright Infringement

One of the main advantages of digital scrapbooking is that there are a number of free kits, patterned papers, and embellishments available on various Web sites. However, these items are generally intended for personal use only. You are not allowed to earn money by creating projects for other people using these graphics. This includes:

  • Creating digital scrapbooks for sale
  • Making printable scrapbook kits from digital downloads
  • Using digital graphics to make handmade greeting cards and stationary for sale
  • Making t-shirts, mouse pads, coffee mugs, and other items for sale on a Café Press shop
  • Packaging free graphics in a kit available for sale
  • Altering free graphics, then selling them as your own designs

In most cases, the file you download that includes your digital scrapbooking elements contains a "Terms of Use" document explaining what you are and aren't allowed to do with the images.

The main reason why commercial use is not allowed for digital scrapbook freebies is that these graphics are intended to serve as marketing materials for the designer. By making free graphics available online, the designer is hoping to generate interest in the products she has for sale. If you use these graphics as part of your own money-making endeavors, you're taking away from her ability to earn a living from her creative talents. For example, Two Peas in a Bucket offers several free kits for registered users of the site, but the "Terms of Use" state:

The Commercial Use of Digital Kit Software is strictly prohibited. This shall include, but is not limited to, any tangible item (ex: electronic book or magazine, stationary) distributed for a fee, any business form or sign, a ticket for an event, a receipt for the purchase of tangible goods or any use of Digital Kit Software that would be perceived as for Commercial Use, in any capacity.

Sometimes, designers of free digital scrapbook graphics will be willing to consider commercial use of their images on a case-by-case basis. You will need to contact the designer directly and explain your plan for the graphics. If the designer decides to allow commercial use, you may need to pay a fee for the images or provide her with formal credit for her work.

Finding Commercial Use Digital Scrapbook Graphics

Since free digital scrapbook graphics are seldom suitable for commercial use, those interested in starting a digital scrapbooking business will need to look for stores offering commercial licenses for their images.

Creating Your Own Digital Scrapbooking Elements

Another great way to find commercial use digital scrapbook graphics is to simply create your own page elements. Even if your computer skills are minimal, it's not too difficult to create your own patterned paper and embellishments. Then, you're free to use these designs as many times as you wish. To get started, check out the following LoveToKnow scrapbooking tutorials:

Commercial Use Digital Scrapbook Graphics