What do Paypal’s proposed terms changes mean to photographers?

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See the 2015 update HERE


Why yes..another proposed changes blog post (You can see the others here – Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook Contest Changes).  

You send your questions – I blog answers to help you! As many have seen (as have I) – in forums and on pages people are sharing the new Paypal changes with their own interpretation – basically stating that anyone using Paypal for taking payments = giving license to all your photographs.


As you will see below. Without going through all of the changes I’m going to highlight the newest ones for you because these are ones that many without knowledge of law are misinterpreting and relaying wrong information.  


The Official Paypal Proposed Changes 

We are adding new Sections 15.5 and 15.6 to the User Agreement in order to include a license grant from Users to PayPal with respect to certain User generated content.  In the new Section 15.5, when you give PayPal content, such as images or text, PayPal can use that content in various ways and exercise other of your rights related to it.   Section 15.5 also provides that you guarantee that the material does not infringe the intellectual property or publicity rights of others.  New Section 15.6 limits Section 15.5 by restricting our right under the User Agreement to use merchants’ trademarks to particular circumstances.

The new Sections 15.5 and 15.6 read as follows:

15.5 License Grant from You to PayPal; IP Warranties.  Subject to section 15.6, when providing PayPal with content or posting content using PayPal Services, you grant us a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, transferable, and sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise any and all copyright, publicity, trademarks, database rights and intellectual property rights you have in the content, in any media known now or in the future. Further, to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law, you waive your moral rights and promise not to assert such rights against PayPal, its sublicensees or its assignees.  You represent and warrant that none of the following infringe any intellectual property or publicity right: your provision of content to PayPal, your posting of content using the PayPal Services, and PayPal’s use of such content (including of works derived from it) in connection with the PayPal Services.”

15.6  License Grant from Merchants to PayPal.  Section 15.5 notwithstanding, if you are a Merchant using PayPal Merchant services, you hereby grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, transferable, sublicensable (through multiple tiers), and royalty-free right to use and display publicly, during the term of this Agreement, your trademark(s) (including but not limited to registered and unregistered trademarks, trade names, service marks, logos, domain names and other designations owned, licensed to or used by you) for the purpose of (1) identifying you as a merchant that accepts a PayPal service as a payment form, and (2) any other use to which you specifically consent.

See Paypal’s full listing of proposed changes here

  As soon as I read the changes and accompanying fearful comments in forums – something felt wrong.  The whole idea that Paypal was going to take license to all of my images and content merely because I used their payment processor seemed way overreaching and, quite frankly, a bit absurd.


What do these terms mean?


Under 15.5  If you provide Paypal any content on their site then you are granting them a license OR posting content using their Paypal services (which to me seems like they have some other services up their sleeves to come)

Under 15. 6 The license you’re granting to them states that   they can use your logo and state to the public that you are a merchant that accepts paypal.  This is giving them some marketing power to use merely your logo and status as a user to show potential users and other use that you specifically consent to. 



So basically what are you saying ?


I’m so glad you asked!

Legalese stinks sometimes – basically you’re not giving Paypal a free for all to the content on your site that you (a) don’t use through their services (b) don’t upload to their site and/or (c) specifically consent to. 

  • Images on YOUR site are safe.
  • Content on YOUR site is safe.
  • Logos you upload to PAYPAL’s site fall within the license permission you’re giving them. (Such as the ones you upload to
  • Images you upload through one of their services, you’re giving license to. (As far as I’m aware there are no services that photographers would upload their images to beyond the logo on the invoice)


Don’t forget to note it is giving of a license, not of copyright for the items that are subject to these terms.


Just because you use their site to process payments shouldn’t (and doesn’t) give them access to EVERYTHING on your site (images and/or content). Just the specifics outlined here for you!

  These evaluations were made as of the proposed changes listed on March 25, 2014.  If Paypal has made any adjustments at the time of your reading this article the interpretation may be different. 


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