Patreon Explains their Copyright License

If you have a Patron account for your podcast, you probably got an email from Patreon reminding you about their upcoming Creator Plans that will launch on May 7, 2019. Part of that email mentions that copyright license that creators must sign.

It is well worth taking a closer look at Patreon’s copyright license.

By posting creations on Patreon, you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display or prepare derivative works of your creation. The purpose of this license is strictly limited to allow us to provide and promote memberships to your patrons. We will never try to steal your creations or use them in an exploitative way.

Patreon says that the state of copyright law requires them to receive a comprehensive license in order to host the copyrighted work of their creators. “Otherwise, our creators could sue us for copyright infringement for doing any number of normal things with their creations.”

Patreon posted details about why they require specific parts of the license:

Royalty-free: You can’t ask Patreon to pay you in the future you decide you no longer want to have your creations hosted on Patreon.

Perpetual: Once you post it on Patreon, Patreon is not legally liable if a copy of it remains in their database even after you delete it.

Irrevocable: You can’t post it, and then change your mind and ask Patreon to ‘remove it or face legal liability’.

Non-Exclusive: This is to ensure you can license it to anyone else you want to license it to.

Sublicensable: Patreon uses all kinds of third party services to host their content. For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosts most of Patreon’s data. Patreon needs to be able to sublicense the right host your creations so they are protected from legal liability.

Worldwide license to use: If someone in another country loads, Patreon is not liable for copyright infringement.

Reproduce: Patreon can make copies of this in more than one place on their database.

Distribute, Perform, Publicly Display: These just cover different forms of showing your creations to patrons and internet users alike.

Prepare derivative works of your creations: If Patreon does something as simple as resizing an image, that is creating a derivative work. When running a website, there are tons of things that they do to slightly alter creations in various ways.