I grant Patreon a licence to do what with my creations?

  • Updated

A common and entirely legitimate concern sometimes comes up around the licence that creators grant Patreon with regards to Patreon’s use of their creations. Specifically, this portion of our Terms:


Patreon is a creator-founded company that understands completely the importance of retaining ownership over your creations. Creators should be downright sceptical of any agreement that seeks to share in or transfer any portion of ownership in your creations. We are definitely not attempting to claim any sort of ownership or control over your creations.

Instead, this section is to ensure that Patreon has all necessary permission to, for example, host, resize and display creators’ creations worldwide. Like we say in the text, “you keep full ownership over your creations and what you post on Patreon; we are not buying your intellectual property rights or leasing them from you for our gain. We will never try to steal your creations, use them in an exploitative way, or seek to profit off of them by any means other than facilitating memberships and offerings you’ve configured on Patreon.”

The state of copyright law requires us to receive a comprehensive licence in order to operate Patreon’s services, including hosting your creations, providing and promoting memberships to your patrons and enabling community features like post comments. Otherwise, we could risk liability for doing any number of normal things. If you review the terms of use for other hosting sites, you will find very similar licences.

As to why we have specific parts of the licence provision, please see some examples below:

  • royalty-free – you can’t ask us to pay you now or in the future for us having copies of the creations you’ve uploaded to Patreon. Of course, you will be paid for your memberships and other offerings on Patreon.
  • perpetual – once you post a creation on Patreon, we are not liable for infringement if a copy of it remains in our system even after you delete it.
  • irrevocable – you can’t post a creation, then change your mind and ask us to remove all copies of it from our system or face liability for infringement.
  • non-exclusive – this is to ensure you can license your creations to anyone else you want to license them to.
  • sublicensable – we use all kinds of third party services to host creations and operate our services. For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosts most of our data and we need to be able to sublicense the right to host your creations so they are protected from liability.
  • worldwide – Patreon is available in most of the world and so we need to be able to show your creations to patrons around the world.
  • translate – patrons speak many languages, but creations are typically in only a single language. We need to be able to translate your creations to help show them to patrons.
  • copy, reproduce, store – we can make multiple copies of your creations and store them.
  • use, transmit, distribute, perform, publicly display – these cover different steps taken for, and forms of, showing your creations to patrons.
  • prepare derivative works – something as simple as resizing an image may create a derivative work. To functionally run a service like Patreon there are tons of things that we do to slightly alter creations in various ways.
  • display in connection with any name, username, voice, or likeness provided in connection with your creations – this covers us associating you with your creations when they are shown to patrons.

We hope this article allays any fear or concern that that section of our terms may have caused. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact us here.

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