Before you purchase that digital file did you read the seller’s terms of use? I enjoy sharing my business expertise with our customers in hopes it can help...this is probably the most important thing to understand.

Understanding Terms of Use as a Laser Cutting Business

Before you purchase that digital file did you read the seller’s terms of use? I enjoy sharing my business expertise with our customers in hopes it can help…this is probably the most important thing to understand.

I’ve been a graphic designer for about 25 years now and I’ve witnessed all kinds of terms of use when it comes to a digital download.

And, it can be tempting to purchase a digital file (or even a font) or download an image off of the Internet and think it’s okay to use and sell commercially, no matter how you use it in the end.

Commercial Use Doesn’t Mean Anything Goes

Just because a listing says that it’s commercial use okay doesn’t mean you have free reign to do what you like with it.

Always read the designer’s terms of use. And, if they don’t have them listed, ask.

Typically, commercial use means okay to sell it. But read the fine print first, where the conditions of that commercial use are stated.

Every designer may have different ways you are allowed to use their art commercially.

For us, our laser cutter files are okay for commercial-use however, with the following conditions (our full terms of use are here):

You CAN:

  • Print/Cut our files for finished products to give away free as a gift.
  • Print/Cut our files for finished products to sell in your shop.
  • Finished products mean you cut and finish them with paint/stain and assembly (NO DIY KITS).

You CANNOT:

  • Use our laser vector designs to cut and sell naked/unassembled sets. We do this at our sister site, aspenandlark.com
  • Use our laser vector designs to create printable art (art prints, etc.) to sell or give away. This is basically taking our file and giving it away for them to print.
  • Share or give away as a gift any of our digital laser vector files through email, storage device, etc. This includes Facebook groups, forums, or other sharing methods.
  • Modify our laser vector design files in any way like rearranging or removing parts of our design and claim them as your own to sell them or give them away. You may modify it for your final use, but do not change it and say it’s yours to sell.
  • Use any laser vector files as logos/branding, but you may photograph a final project to use in your branding and marketing.
  • Sell our laser vector designs as a digital file, even in other digital products like patterned papers or backgrounds or stickers.
  • Use our laser vector files with any print-on-demand website like Cafe Press, Redbubble, Society 6, etc.
  • Use our laser vector files for anything offensive that is harmful, racial, or pornographic that would harm our name.
  • Use our laser vector files to create embroidery digital files for sale or stencils or stamps for sale.
  • Use our designs as a wholesaler or sell to other companies at wholesale.

You will want to look at any designer’s terms and review conditions like these. Everyone is different so be fully aware before you violate them.

What Can Happen If You Violate a Terms of Use?

I always try and reach out to the designer and educate them on what our terms of use specifically state. In most cases, they didn’t read them. They simply say “commercial use” and just went for it.

And, while I don’t have to explain why we set our terms this way, I do like to share that our reasoning for not allowing DIY kits is because we do this through aspenandlark.com our sister business. 

I can pull up a search term for tray decor and see the same design as a DIY by about 10 different sellers. There’s no novelty or reason for anyone to shop one person over another. We pride ourselves on our unique files and wish for our customers to create final products and not compete with us.

We do partner with someone in Canada to cut our files to save on shipping costs.

Having the convenience of SVG files is great to use. But respect the designer’s conditions. There is always a reason they do this.

Also, designers have the right to change their terms, update them, modify them at any time. So get in the habit of keeping a document of files you use and check up on these.

Some designers may not be this nice. They may launch off a cease and desist letter from their lawyer, or even report you to Etsy. I’ve never seen anyone but big companies go straight into a lawsuit. Better not to chance it.

Fonts for Commercial Use

The same thing goes for fonts. 

It might be tempting to go to dafont.com and download fonts and just go crazy using them in your designs. I wrote this article about my favorite 10 fonts for laser cutting and I talk about why I use commercial use fonts that I pay for. But it’s important to make sure your fonts are okay for commercial use too.

Stop. Read. Educate Yourself.

I am sharing this to protect you! Don’t get yourself into any legal trouble. Don’t waste your money on files that you know can get you into trouble either.

It might be tempting to see if you can get away with it, but as my lawyer friend says, don’t do it. You never know how nice or not that designer might be. 

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