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If I make a scene and then render it with BR or Cycles, am I allowed to use that image in a commercial project? Do I need to include any copyright notice or license?

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Also see the FAQ: – gandalf3 Jun 18 '14 at 19:34
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Short answer Yes.

Just as you own what you draw with a pencil, you own works you make with Blender
(no difference).

To quote from

Your artwork

What you create with Blender is your sole property. All your artwork – images or movie files – including the .blend files and other data files Blender can write, is free for you to use as you like.

That means that Blender can be used commercially by artists, by studios to make animation films or vfx, by game artists to work on commercial games, by scientists for research, and by students in educational institutions.

Blender’s GNU GPL license guarantees you this freedom. Nobody is ever permitted to take it away, in contrast to trial or “educational” versions of commercial software that will forbid your work in commercial situations.

Meaning anything you make in Blender (images, scripts, add-ons, models, entire scenes, materials, textures, and so on) is yours, and you can do anything with it, without any legal notices at all.

A general note about Open-Source, not specific to Blender.

You don't have to get into details of each license.

Any OSI approved License assured you can do what you like with works created from OpenSource software. This is part of the Open-Source, definition as defined by the OSI,

Points 5 and 6.

  1. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

  1. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

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I have seen that and I get it. But it doesn't say anything about any copyright notice or something like that. Does it mean it's not necessary? – Alex Jun 18 '14 at 19:21
@Alex correct no legal notices at all. You own anything you make. – David Jun 18 '14 at 19:22
Also note that cycles is under the apache 2.0 license, but this doesn't change anything. – gandalf3 Jun 18 '14 at 19:56
It doesn't say anything about them because they are not needed. – ideasman42 Jun 19 '14 at 16:09
@Alex no, the cycles code is licensed Apache 2.0, but anything you render with it is your and you can license it any way you want. – David Jun 20 '14 at 17:04

To expand a bit on David's answer -

The GPL license used by blender is applied to the source code used to create blender, it only forces you to share modifications you make to the source code if you create a modified version of blender that you wish to share.

The GPL does not effect the data (the blend files) used by blender or output generated (our artwork) by blender.

The data and artwork you generate when using blender is fully owned by you and you can choose to use or share it under any terms you wish.

Similarly you will also find that most of the data used to create the open movies created by the Blender Institute are released under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-by), this means you are free to use the models used for the short movies as long as you give credit for their creation "by The Blender Foundation" and not claim them as your own.

Disclaimer - this is an explanation of my understanding and not to be taken as legal advise. Get proper legal advise if you are unsure of how the licensing terms affect your usage.

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that's basically correct. Just as you can use images created in Photoshop without paying a license fee to Adobe per image, you can use content created in Blender without giving it away for free and handing over ownership to the Blender Foundation. – jwenting Jun 22 '14 at 9:15

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