New Market, MD asked in Internet Law, Copyright, Business Formation and Intellectual Property for Maryland

Q: Can I use free Canva elements/graphics on logos, pdfs, blog posts, social media accounts, and other course materials?

The Canva terms of service are a bit confusing. My understanding is that if I have the free Canva plan and use only free Canva elements, I can essentially use the pictures/designs for anything I want besides selling them directly (in the context of trying to compete with Canva). I am starting an online content business and am simply looking to incorporate these Canva graphics into my logos, marketing materials, online courses, etc. Some of these items will be paid for, but I would be selling these graphics only so far as they were incorporated into other items (I would never sell the Canva graphics on a standalone basis, which I believe is the only restricted activity). I was hoping to get confirmation that this understanding was correct.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Your understanding of Canva's terms of service is largely on track, but there are nuances to consider. With a free Canva plan, you can use the free elements in your projects, including logos, PDFs, blog posts, social media, and course materials. This is generally acceptable as long as you're not selling the graphics directly in competition with Canva.

When it comes to incorporating these graphics into items that you will sell, like online courses or marketing materials, the key is that the Canva graphics are not the primary value of the sold items. In other words, they should be part of a larger, original work rather than the main focus.

Be cautious with logos, though. While you can use Canva elements to create a logo, the non-exclusive nature of these elements means that other people could use the same elements, potentially leading to confusion. For a unique brand identity, a custom design might be more suitable.

It's always wise to revisit the terms of service periodically, as they can change. And if you're in doubt about specific uses, reaching out to Canva's support team for clarification can help ensure you're in compliance with their policies.

In summary, your approach seems compliant with Canva's terms for the most part, but exercise caution with logos and ensure that the Canva graphics are not the sole or primary value in the items you plan to sell.

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