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Terms of Use - Frequently Asked Questions

Here's answers to many of the questions I'm asked about the terms of use for the free files and images I've provided on this site.

Terms of Use:
You are free to use any of the files here for personal or commercial designs, either in print or on the Web, excluding items you intend to sell. You may not give away, sell, or redistribute the files in any way. Do not post these files on any other Web site, electronically distribute them, or include them in any package or program for distribution. If you find these files useful, please include a credit line or a link back to this site [http://graphicssoft.about.com/]. If you have questions about these terms, see my usage FAQs. (this page)
Terms of use last modified 6/19/08.

Please note:

  • The above terms of use apply to any free content by me, Sue Chastain. Please check the download information carefully as some content on this site is reader-submitted.

  • Content provided by John Woods is public domain with no usage restrictions.

  • Content provided by Shelby Kate Schmitz may be used for personal or commercial use within designs. Redistribution or sale of presets individually or within kits or collections is not allowed.

  • Terms of use for digital scrapbook elements and kits by Darleen Araujo can be found here.

  • Content contributed by others will have its own terms of use. Please refer to the specific page where you downloaded the files for terms of use.

  • In all cases, a credit link acknowledging this site as the source is very much appreciated.

Frequently Asked Questions

If the images and files on your site are free to use, does that mean I can share them with my friends?

No. The images are free to use in your own projects, but you may not distribute them or post them on another site. If you want to share my images with someone, please refer them to this site so they can download them for themselves. There's a convenient "Email this page" link on every page so you can easily share the page with a friend.

I don't understand. If you are giving the images away for free, why can't I?

Only About.com and I hold the copyrights to the images. I'm able to offer my files for free because I get paid based on the advertising that appears on my site. If I allowed others to distribute my images, no one would need to visit my site, therefore, I wouldn't get paid for my work.

How should I phrase the credit line when I use your images?

The credit line can be worded like this: Some images courtesy of Sue Chastain and About Graphics Software, http://graphicssoft.about.com. ©Sue Chastain, 1999-2012.

If used on a Web page, the URL should be hyperlinked.

I want to use your images in a project, but a link or credit line would detract from the overall design.

The credit line does not need to appear directly on or near the item. If you are using the image(s) on a Web site, you may place a credit line at the bottom of the page or on a separate credits page. If you are using the item in a printed project, a credit is not necessary if it will detract from the design, but I would appreciate a link on your personal or business Web site if you have one. If used in a multimedia or CD-based project, please provide a credit line on a credits page at the end of the presentation, in the documentation, or include a credits.txt file on the distribution media.

Can I modify the images slightly and redistribute them in my own collection?

Generally, no. You may not modify or convert and distribute the images as tubes, image lists, clip art, etc. The images should be used in the creation of your own unique project such as a Web site, brochure, business card, greeting card, multimedia presentation, and so forth. To summarize:

  • You may not post the files in their current form on another site.

  • You may not simply resize or convert the files to another format (without making any creative modifications) and post them strictly for the purposes of download.

  • You may use the files to create something of your own and do whatever you like with your new creation, as long as you credit the source per the instructions above and provide a link if it's used on the Web.

  • You may not use the unmodified files in items you will sell, but you may use them as a basis for your own design, or in promotional items for a business.

If you think you have a unique situation that is not answered here, feel free to email me explaining how you'd like to use the images, and I'll give you an answer as soon as possible.

Why don't you allow the files to be used in items for sale?

If you are using the free graphics as the starting point or inspiration for creating your own design, I have no problem with that. I added the sales exception to my terms of use because a lot of people wanted to simply slap one or two of my images on an item and sell it. I don't appreciate that. The free graphics are here to inspire creativity, not to make easy money for someone else. If you can comfortably say what you are selling is your design, I won't send About.com's lawyers after you.

To clarify, here are examples of what I would consider acceptable and unacceptable usage:

  • Allowed: Someone uses my brushes to design a border graphic, which they use to enhance their own photographs. The photograph and border design is sold as a postcard.

  • Not Allowed: Someone prints my graphics onto folded card stock, and sells the items as note cards.

If you still have doubts as to whether your usage is acceptable, please refrain from selling the items you make.

May I use the images in a tutorial that I post online?

Yes, but please provide a credit line such as the one above along with a link to this site: http://graphicssoft.about.com.

May I purchase the rights to use the images in some way that is not permitted in your terms of use?

Yes. You must submit a reprint request for special circumstances.

Where can I learn more about copyrights and usage issues?

Free Clip Art! - About's own Web Clip Art site has an excellent overview of terms of use regarding free clip art found on the Web, and public domain misconceptions.

10 Big Myths About Copyright Explained - "An attempt to answer common myths about copyright seen on the Net and cover issues related to copyright and USENET/Internet publication."

OK, take me back to the free stuff!

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