Wednesday, 26 August 2015

How to become a seller on DBT & TpT: Copyright, TOU and Acknowledgements

Welcome to my 5-day series on becoming a seller on DBT and TpT. I hope this series clears up any queries and concerns you may have and haven't been able to find answers too with regards to becoming an online seller of education resources. The third post in this series is going to be exploring copyright, Terms of Use (TOU) and Acknowledgements:

What is Copyright?

"Copyright law creates incentives for people to invest their time, talent and other resources in creating new material – particularly cultural and educational material, which benefits society" (Australian Copyright Council). 

Copyright is just a legal way to protect your creations. If your create and publish products on DBT and TpT, take comfort knowing that this creates a digital stamp or date of publication that can be used to determine the original creator if a dispute should arise. From the time you first write down or record your work, it is protected by Copyright. In Australia, you do not need to apply for Copyright, and you do not need to publish your work, put a copyright notice on it or any other form of copyright insignia - once you have created the item, it is protected - however placing the copyright notice, which consists of the copyright symbol ©, followed by the name of the copyright owner and the year of first publication reminds individuals that the work may be protected and who is claiming copyright and is the presumed copyright owner. If you are doing a sound recording, such as a song or video or something you've created,  use the letter “P” (for phonogram) in a circle or in brackets is used instead of the “C” in a circle. You can put the copyright notice on your own work as there is no formal procedure.

PLEASE BE AWARE: If there is more than one person involved in the creating of an item, it is best to put down in writing who will own the copyright to the product.

Here is a General Introduction to Copyright Laws in Australia (most countries will have similar government-run websites and information).

Also be aware that you should not use, copy, re-sell or post anything from other online sellers without their explicit permission as everyone is covered by the Copyright Laws. If someone else has created a product, don't reinvent the wheel. Not only will your item be unoriginal, your integrity will be questionable and your style and uniqueness compromised. 

For more information on these topics, check out the following posts:

Download this FREE Top 5-Copyright-Questions for TpT Teachers/Authors file.

 What are Terms of Use (TOU)?

Terms of Use is a form of permission granted to the purchaser by the copyright owner. In a Terms of Use page, the copyright owner can detail how their product should be used. Each Terms of Use is unique to each seller, so be sure to read each artist's Terms of Use, and if you are creating your own don't be afraid to be specific - remember, a lot of time, energy and money has gone in to creating such amazing products, and for some it may be an actual business.

My Terms of Use page.
When it comes to purchasing items such as clip-art, fonts, digital paper and borders when creating your products, you may come across the phrases "for Commercial use" or "for Personal use". I'm briefly going to explain what this means, but you can read more information about these terms in the article link to The 3am Teacher above.

Commercial Use:

This refers to ANYTHING (clip-art, photos, fonts etc.) you use in any of your products that generate an income (digitial products, scrapbooking, digital or e-books etc.).
If you are starting to create items to sell via DBT or TpT, and you want to use cliparts, borders, fonts etc. then you will need to ensure that when you purchase these that you have the permission of the creator. This will often be stated in the description of the item you've purchased - be sure to take the time to READ all the Terms of Use that is included with whatever it is you purchase to use in your paid and free products.  

When considering purchasing items for commercial use, please consider the following:
  1. If an additional fee is required if you wish to use the item in a commercial sense.
  2. If the seller has an additional fee if you plan to sell a certain number of items.
  3. Items cannot be used for SmartBoard activities/resources.
  4. May NOT be used in FREE resources.
  5. Items may not be used in blog posts.
  6. Not purchasing items from buyers who are selling copyrighted and trademarked images.
  7. Acknowledgement or Credit when using items for commercial and personal use.
  8. Items must not be re-sold, distributed or altered.
  9. Images MUST be secured and/or flattened for personal and commercial use.  
This last point is very important. Just converting the file to a PDF does not secure it. Read my post tomorrow about securing your files.

Personal Use:

Personal Use items refer to clipart, fonts etc that you create for yourself and your personal classroom use ONLY. You do not intend to sell any of the items to make an income.

You can not use Personal Use clip-art, fonts, borders etc. in free resources, shares files etc. The items you create should be used by you, and you alone. By all means, provide those who compliment your items with the links to where they can download it but do not be tempted to share the items. This could be breaching the owners TOU. 

AND REMEMBER, if you do decide to start selling your items, be sure to go back to the sellers page and purchase a Commercial Use license.


An acknowledgements or Credits page should be included in everyone of your products, generally at the end along with your TOU page. I have a blank Acknowledgements page and whenever I create a new product, or make-over an old one, I use this page and upload the store logo of the artists/creators that I purchased items from and used and provide a link to their store or website in the image. To obtain the store logo you can either find it in the file you download (most creators add this to their file and you can simply add it to your product), or if one is now provided just go to their store or blog, right-click their logo (or snip it) and save as a png file (this method will usually give you a clear background).

My Acknowledgements/Credits page

While some creators create a standard credits page that includes links to every artist they have ever used I tend to only add the logo's of the creators I've used in that particular product - it's a personal choice on which way you want to go.

So that is a brief look at Copyright, Terms of Use and Acknowledgements, and why they are important for those looking to sell their products through online marketplaces. Thanks again for following me and this series on my blog. I hope you are finding it useful and that it is encouraging you to become an online seller of educational resources. For more information on this topic and more, click on the links below!

Don't forget to check back for tomorrow's post about how to securely save items as a pdf.

If you sign up for Teachers Pay Teachers, please use the referral link by clicking the picture below.

1 comment:

  1. THIS IS AWESOME! Nice job! This is so helpful for new TpTers! It was a nice refresher course for us too!