Create a workflow from the very beginning to protect you and your customer
Sticking to legal best practices is incredibly important. If you take a risk with a font, image, or graphic not being properly licensed for distribution, you might find yourself stuck with a hefty bill further down the line. The fines for distributing intellectual property are far greater than when you use an asset on your own site. It’s also disrespectful to other digital artists. Unless we support each other by respecting licensing guidelines, no one can have a profitable business.
Including Premium WordPress Products
On that note, I’d also strongly recommend never distributing premium WordPress themes or plugins, like Divi or Elementor with your child themes.
EULA stands for End User License Agreement and when it comes to fonts, you need to be 100% confident that you have bought the right license for digital product distribution. Most premium fonts don’t allow distribution without an extended license and some don’t allow redistribution at all.
These days, you’ll also find that you’ll need to purchase a web font license in addition to a desktop license. I know plenty of digital vendors who’ve been stung with big retrospective bills for unauthorized font usage. Personally, I stick to Google fonts or 100% free / Creative Commons fonts when it comes to theme design.
You won’t be surprised to hear that you also need to take care when distributing images. Even if you distribute images with the intention that those images are only used as placeholder images, chances are that at least some of your customers will leave some of the stock images in place.
Even if those images are being displayed because the file path points back to your demo site, you may still be liable. I would recommend only ever using completely free stock image sites, like Unsplash, to source images.
I know plenty of designers and even DIY website builders who have been hit with big charges for unauthorized image usage after pulling an image off Google or not checking the rights.
If you are planning to sell in other marketplaces, you might find that those marketplaces have even stricter requirements when it comes to image sourcing.
For example, Elegant Themes will only permit images that are licensed under GPL V2 (as is WordPress) to be included in their marketplace. There is a full list of approved image resources for Elegant Themes marketplace submissions, which you can find right here.
If you really can’t break away from Unsplash images, there are export tools I’ll be recommending that can replace your images with a placeholder on export.