Can I sell designs I buy online?

Have you ever purchased a design or pre-made design element from sites like Creative Fabrica, Placeit, etc. to sell on a print-on-demand (POD) product? It’s common for websites to offer designs for a one-time fee or on a subscription plan. Teespring has a strict intellectual property policy (IP) and violating this policy can get your listing suspended, lower your trust score, or even get you banned from the site. For this reason it’s important to understand the legalities of purchasing design elements to sell on products. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.

Types of licenses 

In most cases you’ll be dealing with non-exclusive licenses when purchasing designs.This means no one holds the exclusive right to be the only person to use the design and many people can purchase and use the same design. 

Sellers who purchase and use non-exclusive designs typically have no legal right to file an IP claim based on the licensed design. The only exceptions are if your license specifically provides you with the right to file an IP claim or if you substantially and significantly modify design elements and someone else copies your substantially transformed design (pixel for pixel copy). If you file an IP claim based on either of these exceptions Teespring will determine the validity of the claim. 

For example, Creative Fabrica offers two types of licenses—single sales and subscription. If you have more questions about selling your purchased designs we recommend contacting the website you purchased from directly. 

1) Single sales license

This license technically allows you use of the design, but you can only use it to make money by extensively modifying the original artwork.

Creative Fabrica’s do’s and don’ts of single sales licenses.


2) The subscription license

This license allows you full use of the complete design.

Creative Fabrica’s do’s and don’ts of subscription license plans.




1) If I purchase designs online and have licenses to use them for POD, could someone else report them as copycats if they bought them too?

Yes, another seller could report these as a copycat if they have no knowledge of other licensing agreements with the same owner. However, since these licenses are generally non-exclusive and do not typically grant the licensee the right to file IP claims, it is unlikely that anything will be taken down.

2) If my design is removed as a copycat would I just send the IP team my licenses to get reinstated?

Yes.  However, you should be aware that if you or the claimant (or both) have an exclusive license, then it is possible that only one of you is entitled to use the licensed design. In such instances Teespring will typically allow you both to sell the design on Teespring and it will be up to you to work out any such dispute amongst yourselves (and with the original designer).

3) Can the original designer file an IP claim on Teespring?

Yes, it’s possible that the original designer you purchased your license from could file an IP claim on Teespring. We intend on responding to this as we would with any other IP claim.

4) Someone copied my original artwork that I used in conjunction with purchased design elements. Can I file an IP claim?

Correct, if you’ve substantially modified the purchased design and someone copies it pixel for pixel you can make an IP claim and we will look into this for you.


Keep in mind there are lots of free and affordable tools out there if you prefer to create your own designs. Many don’t even require design experience.  😉