We get a lot of questions about what is and is not allowed on the platform in terms of custom backgrounds, story cards and overlays. Hopefully this post can help clarify points of confusion.
What are the rules around custom artwork and “edits”?
We’ve answered this question before in a previous post, but here is what we’ve said before:
“Individuals can use Episode characters, clothing, backgrounds or ads in their stories provided they meet our Content Standards. However, selling works with these items is a different matter and is against our Content Guidelines, Copyright Policy and Terms of Service.
Our Terms of Service indicate that Episode characters, materials and platforms (forum, portal and app) are a free service, and the use of these characters and materials provided are solely for personal and non-commercial use. Selling art or images with Episode assets counts as commercial use. This includes edits of Episode characters, altered renders, and composites. Any art sold must be entirely original artwork and cannot use Episode’s art at all.
We ask all of you to please follow our Policies and Terms of Service and to not sell items that feature Episode Art Assets. Selling works with Episode’s art can result in losing access to the Episode platform, up to and including permanent removal.”
We draw the line when editors start to charge for modified Episode assets or share / produce them on a scale beyond personal use.
What constitutes selling?
Any situation in which you receive money from someone and provide them with Episode assets counts as selling. This can include things like Patreon, ko-fi, or “free” edit with purchase, etc.
Can we still edit Episode Art Assets for our stories?
Yes. Individuals are able to edit and use Episode art assets for their stories.
What about hidden assets?
Hidden assets that have not been released should not be used in your stories. While they may sometimes be inadvertently approved, they are restricted for a reason. If we find them in your story, they can be removed for breaking our content guidelines around copyrighted materials.
Backgrounds and overlays from IP or branded stories like PLL, Demi, Mean Girls, etc. are not made public because of the terms of the agreements we made to produce those stories.
Can we still use custom backgrounds and overlays if they are not made from Episode assets?
Yes! However, the same restriction on copyrights and content guidelines applies. Items that you upload to the portal should not be copyrighted by another person or organization OR should be entirely original work.
What about watermarks on images?
Small, obviously Episode related watermarks are okay and will generally be approved. Large watermarks designed to obscure the image or which are clearly intended to be removed by paying will generally not be approved because they indicate that someone owns the image or that the image is not free to use.
Why are these rules being enforced now?
We haven’t changed policies, rules or enforcement. As has always been the case, we occasionally reach out to editors who have crossed the line in terms of charging for assets and distributing beyond personal use. We may ask them to stop, let them know we can’t approve some of their work and in some cases ask them to remove some edits.
We hope this clears up the confusion around edits and custom art on the platform. If you have other or specific questions please reach out to Support Team for more help.
The Episode Team