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License Agreements Used on Iconfinder

When it comes to legal protection of icons, there is a number of different license agreements used across the web, which can leave you a bit confused. Several different licenses are also used to protect icons sold on Iconfinder.

You can see which license is used for a particular icon right under the buttons for different file formats.

license example copyTo make your life easier, we have summarized the basics of different licenses used on Iconfinder in this blog post.

Following you will find quick summaries explaining these licenses:

Basic license (specific to Iconfinder)
Creative Commons Attribution
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs
General Public License (GPL) and Lesser General Public License (LGPL)

We will also explain what “free for commercial use” and “free for personal use” mean even though they are not licenses in a traditional sense.

If all you need is a quick comparison between most commonly used licenses for some DOs and DON’Ts when it comes to using icons, take a look at this table. Otherwise, scroll down to read more about each specific license agreement.

license table

Basic License – specific to Iconfinder

It is common among different design marketplaces to have their own specific license agreement. These agreements are usually tailored in a way to serve the needs of the majority of the users. On Iconfinder, we have a Basic license serving such purpose. All of Premium icons on Iconfinder are sold under Basic license.

Furthermore, by signing up for Iconfinder Pro, you gain the right to use all icons that are available on Iconfinder under the Basic License agreement. This means that, as a subscriber, you don’t need to worry about different license agreements for each icon you download, but same terms apply to all icons. To find icons that are under the Basic License, look for the “Premium” label:

Rights

Basic license allows you to:

  • Use icon for any personal, commercial, editorial or client purpose, without crediting the designer or linking to the license.
  • Alter, crop or otherwise modify or manipulate icon without indicating that the changes were made.

The icon may be reproduced in:

Printed material;
Advertisements,
Packaging;
Presentations;
Online content;
Videos;
Computer games;
Smartphone and Desktop apps.

Restrictions

All ownership and copyright of an icon protected by Basic license remain the property of the icon designer. Therefore, the icon or any derivative work based on the icon may not be directly or indirectly licensed, sublicensed, sold, resold or redistributed alone – even for free. They also cannot be placed anywhere in a downloadable format, on any electronic bulletin or in any other way or form that enables it to be anyhow distributed.

To summarize, Basic license DOES NOT allow you to:

  • Sell or redistribute icon as part of an icon set;
  • Include icon in work intended to be reproduced by third party (for example web, design or presentation template);
  • Incorporate icon into a logo or other trademark;
  • Place icon on physical items for resale or on any similar mass produced item;
  • Use icon to create pornographic, libelous, obscene or defamatory material.

For more detailed examples of restricted usage, check here.

If you want to:

  • include icon protected by Basic License in a work intended to be reproduced by third party; and/or
  • place icon protected by Basic License on physical items for resale or on any similar mass produced items,

you need to contact us for buying that icon under the Extended License agreement.

Creative Commons Licenses

 

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Creative Commons is an American non-profit organization responsible for one of the most popular family of licenses. The Creative Commons licenses area type of public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work.

The different types of CC licenses hold various combinations of conditions related to the usage and distribution of licensed material. However, different CCs have many important features in common. Every license helps creators retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work – at least non-commercially. Every Creative Commons license also ensures licensors get the credit for their work they deserve. Every Creative Commons license works around the world and lasts as long as applicable copyright lasts.

Many of the free icons on Iconfinder are protected with Creative Commons licenses.

Following you will find an overview of six different types of CCs.

Creative Commons Attribution

Creative Commons Attribution is the most accommodating of all CC licenses.

Rights

Creative Commons Attribution licence allows you to:

  • Use icon for any personal, commercial, editorial or client purpose, as long as the appropriate credit is given for the designer. *
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the icon, as long as indicating that the changes were made. *
  • Share — copy and redistribute original or altered icon in any medium or format. *
  • Include an icon in work intended to be reproduced by third party (for example, templates). *
  • Incorporate original or altered icon into a logo or other trademark. *
  • Place an icon on physical items for resale or on any similar mass produced item. *

*  If supplied, you must provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Restrictions

Creative Common Attribution DOES NOT allow you to:

  • Use icons in any of the previously listed ways without giving the appropriate credit to the designer.

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 11.14.32

 

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence is almost identical to Creative Commons Attribution licence, except the ShareAlike rule: if you adapt the icon, you must distribute your derivative work under the same license as the original.

Rights

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence allows you to:

  • Use icons for any personal, commercial, editorial or client purpose, as long as the appropriate credit is given for the designer. *
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the icons, as long as indicating that the changes were made. *
  • Share — copy and redistribute original or altered icon in any medium or format. If you adapt the icon, you must distribute your derivative work under the same license as the original. *
  • Include an icon in work intended to be reproduced by third party (for example, templates). *
  • Incorporate original or altered icon into a logo or other trademark. *
  • Place an icon on physical items for resale or on any similar mass produced item. *

*  If supplied, you must provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Restrictions

Creative Common Attribution-ShareAlike DOES NOT allow you to:

  • Use icon in any of the previously listed ways without giving the appropriate credit to the designer.
  • Distribute the remixed, transformed, and/or build upon versions of the icon under an incompatible license.

Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 11.20.14

The key difference between CC Attribution and CC Attribution-NoDerivatives is that the later does not allow a distribution of icon if it has been adapted in any way.

Rights

Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives licence allows you to:

  • Use icon for any personal, commercial, editorial or client purpose, as long as the appropriate credit is given for the designer.*
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the icon, as long as indicating that the changes were made. *
  • Share — copy and redistribute original icon in any medium or format. If you remix, transform, or build upon the original icon, you may not distribute the modified material. *
  • Include an icon in work intended to be reproduced by third party (for example, templates). *
  • Incorporate original icon into a logo or other trademark. *
  • Place an icon on physical items for resale or on any similar mass produced item. *

*  If supplied, you must provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Restrictions

Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives DOES NOT allow you to:

  • Use icon in any of the previously listed ways without giving the appropriate credit to the designer.
  • Distribute the remixed, transformed or modified versions of the original icon.
  • Incorporate altered icon into a logo or other trademark.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 11.23.08

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license is characterized by its restriction of the commercial use of the licensed material. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon original icon non-commercially, and although the derivative works must also acknowledge the icon designer and be non-commercial, they don’t necessarily have to be licensed on the same terms.

Rights

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial licence allows you to:

  • Use icon for personal purposes, as long as the appropriate credit is given for the designer. *
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the icon, as long as indicating that the changes were made. *
  • Share — copy and redistribute original or altered icon in any medium or format. *

*  If supplied, you must provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Restrictions

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial DOES NOT allow you to:

  • Use icon in any of the previously listed ways without giving the appropriate credit to the designer.
  • Use icon for any commercial, editorial or client purpose.
  • Include an icon in work intended to be reproduced by third party (for example, templates).
  • Incorporate original or altered icon into a logo or other trademark.
  • Place an icon on physical items for resale or on any similar mass produced item.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 11.26.48

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license restricts commercial use of the icon and, if you adapt the icon, requires to distribute your derivative work under the same license as the original.

Rights

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence allows you to:

  • Use icon for personal purposes, as long as the appropriate credit is given for the designer.*
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the icon, as long as indicating that the changes were made. *
  • Share — copy and redistribute original or altered icon in any medium or format. If you adapt the icon, you must distribute your derivative work under the same license as the original. *

*  If supplied, you must provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Restrictions

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike DOES NOT allow you to:

  • Use icon in any of the previously listed ways without giving the appropriate credit to the designer.
  • Use icon for any commercial, editorial or client purpose.
  • Distribute the remixed, transformed, or built upon versions of the icon under an incompatible license.
  • Include an icon in work intended to be reproduced by third party (for example, templates).
  • Incorporate original or altered icon into a logo or other trademark.
  • Place an icon on physical items for resale or on any similar mass produced item.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 11.28.45

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives is the most restrictive of all Creative Commons licenses. It does not allow the licensee to use the icon for commercial purposes. It also restricts the licensee from adapting and distributing the icon protected by this license agreement.

Rights

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence allows you to:

  • Use icon for personal purposes, as long as the appropriate credit is given for the designer.*
  • Share — copy and redistribute original icon in any medium or format. If you remix, transform, or build upon the original icon, you may not distribute the modified material.*

*  If supplied, you must provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Restrictions

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives DOES NOT allow you to:

  • Use icon in any of the previously listed ways without giving the appropriate credit to the designer.
  • Use icon for any commercial, editorial or client purpose.
  • Distribute the remixed, transformed, or built upon versions of the icon.
  • Include an icon in work intended to be reproduced by third party (for example, templates).
  • Incorporate original or altered icon into a logo or other trademark.
  • Place an icon on physical items for resale or on any similar mass produced item.

You can find more in-depth descriptions of all six CC license agreements on Creative Commons official website.

GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) and GNU Lesser General Public License (GNU LGPL)

GNU General Public License and GNU Lesser General Public License are licenses most commonly used in Open Source Software. However, some of free icons on Iconfinder are protected by GNU licenses.

GNU licenses are intended to guarantee licensee’s freedom to share and change all versions of licensed material. The key difference of GNU licenses from Creative Commons is that you don’t have to credit the icon designer.

Rights

GNU GPL and GNU LGPL allow you to:

  • Use icon for any personal, commercial, editorial or client purpose. *
  • Adapt – remix, transform, and build upon the icon, as long as indicating that the changes were made. *
  • Share – copy and redistribute original or altered icon in any medium or format. *
  • Include an icon in work intended to be reproduced by third party (for example, templates). *
  • Incorporate original or altered icon into a logo or other trademark. *
  • Place an icon on physical items for resale or on any similar mass produced item. *

* When using icons protected by GNU licenses, you have to provide a link to the license.

Free for commercial use

Many of free icons on Iconfinder are labeled “Free for commercial use”. This type of protection gives a lot of freedom to the user of the icon. To put it short, it gives a right to use the icon for both private and commercial purposes without crediting the designer. However, some designers choose to add additional clue to the protection, such as “include link to authors website”, which must be obeyed.

Rights

Generally, “Free for commercial use” allows you to:

  • Use icon for any personal, commercial, editorial or client purpose.
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the icon.
  • Share — copy and redistribute original or altered icon in any medium or format.
  • Include an icon in work intended to be reproduced by third party (for example, templates).
  • Incorporate original or altered icon into a logo or other trademark.
  • Place an icon on physical items for resale or on any similar mass produced item.

Free for personal use

Some free icons on Iconfinder are labeled “Free for personal use only”. The usage of such icon is limited to personal purposes. The icon may not be used in any way whatsoever in which you charge money, collect fees, or receive any form of remuneration.

Rights

“Free for personal use” allows you to:

  • Use icon for any personal purpose.
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the icon.
  • Share — copy and redistribute original or altered icon in any medium or format.

Restrictions

“Free for personal use” DOES NOT allow you to:

  • Use icon for any commercial, editorial or client purpose.
  • Include an icon in work intended to be reproduced by third party (for example, templates).
  • Incorporate original or altered icon into a logo or other trademark.
  • Place an icon on physical items for resale or on any similar mass produced item.

Disclaimer: Please use this guide as a starting point for understanding the different licenses. We advise you to always read the full license before using icons and possibly get professional advice before using icons commercially.

You can find more legal information regarding use of Iconfinder in our Legal Support Section.

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