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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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1  
Also see the FAQ: blender.org/support/faq – gandalf3 Jun 18 '14 at 19:34
up vote 11 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 blender.org

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, http://opensource.org/osd

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
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@Alex correct no legal notices at all. You own anything you make. – David Jun 18 '14 at 19:22
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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
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@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

Blender is a Free tool, Open Source and free, you choose what you do with it, this doesn't mean that you can copy someone else's artwork, If you draw a character with copyrights using a pencil, and use this drawing in a commercial, this is illegal, but it's not the pencil that's going to sue you, it's the entity that holds copyright of that character. So as David said, Blender is a free tool, just like a free pencil, it belongs to everyone who wishes to use, what you do with it, is your responsibility.

If you're asking whether you can use images rendered using Blender, that was done by someone else, well then the answer is no, because those images are that person's/studio's/company's/entity's property, you have to check their license, Blender has nothing to do with it.

I'm not a lawyer, and this is not a legal advise, but as a matter of fact, it's no secret that there are thousands of Blender artists using blender for commercial uses, Developers working on add-ons posting them for free or selling them, scientists, students...etc. And Blender Foundation is making this available to everyone for free, with no obligations.

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[NOTE: I am not a lawyer on any part of the internet, including especially, Blender Stack exchange, nor in any other jurisdiction, and what I write following is a statement of my own personal, informed, but non-professional opinion]

I see a deficit in both Sambler's and David's answers. If you want to use Blender to create an infringing work—Blender models of Thomas the Tank, Mickey Mouse, and model of a French's mustard bottle are but three of a myriad of infringing works—you must first have permission of the everyone who controls the various intellectual property rights to that object. Without prior permission from the IP rights holders, the Blender license does not convey any shield or indemnity against infringement. And in the event of infringement, sambler's statement,

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.

is also likely to be false.

So I'd submit that David's "short answer" should be changed from "yes" to maybe.

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