Can I use Blender commercially?
Yes you can. Any creation you make as an artist with Blender is your sole property, and can be applied for any purpose you choose to. This also applies the Python scripts you write with Blender.
If you like to distribute Blender itself, you have to be aware of the GPL rules, which basically means you have to make sources for Blender available as well. However, in general it’s sufficient to provide information that forwards to blender.org.
More information about the way how the license works can be found here, also with information about game files, game players and Python scripts.
How can I get a copy of Blender?
Blender can be downloaded free of charge at the Download section of this website.
Will Blender work on my system?
Currently, there are versions of Blender available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. You will also need an OpenGL compatible graphics card, preferably from a quality vendor such as NVidia or AMD. As for all 3D programs, a workstation certified for 3D graphics is always best.
Why is Blender free?
Blender was originally developed as in-house 3D software by the Dutch animation studio NeoGeo. As a spin-off of NeoGeo, co-founder Ton Roosendaal founded a new company called Not a Number to market and develop Blender, while making Blender available to anyone via the internet. Sadly, NaN’s ambitions and opportunities didn’t match the company’s capabilities and the market realities of the time, and after a turbulent corporate history, Not a Number was shut down in in early 2002. (Read more about Blender’s history here)
In May 2002, Ton Roosendaal started the non-profit Blender Foundation with the goal of resurrecting Blender as an open source software project. A deal was reached with the company’s investors to initiate a fund-raising campaign to buy back the rights to Blender, at a cost of EUR 100,000. Thanks to an enthusiastic group of volunteers including several ex-NaN employees, along with donations from thousands of loyal Blender supporters, the EUR 100,000 target was reached in seven short weeks. Blender was then freely released to the world under the terms of the GNU General Public License.
Can I give Blender to my co-workers or employees?
Of course, you may give any of the versions of Blender on Blender.org to other people, or share it internally via a server.
Can my organization use Blender internally without giving up our valuable changes to our competitors?
The GNU GPL does allow your organization to use a modified version of Blender internally without offering the source-code as long as you do not distribute it outside your company or organization.
Can I license .blend files myself?
The output of Blender, in the form or .blend files, is considered program output, and the sole copyright of the user. The .blend file format only stores data definitions.
In case you embed the .blend file with Python scripts, and the scripts provide bindings to other libraries or facilities, the next topic applies.
What about my Python scripts?
Python scripts – if they use the Blender API calls – have to be compliant to the GNU GPL as well. We are currently reviewing this with Free Software Foundation though.
Can I sell my own version of Blender?
Yes you can, but only if you provide this new version of Blender and the sources to your clients under the same GPL license. The client then benefits from all rights the GPL offers; free to use it, or even distribute it when they wish.
This method provides a business model for contracting and support business with Blender. You can freely sell fixed or changed code in Blender, for as long you deliver this as GPL to clients. You don’t have the obligation to publish it for everyone.
Can I change Blender and give it to my co-workers or employees?
Yes, but if you make modifications you must comply with the GPL and if they request the source code you have to distribute that to them as well. You can charge for the version of blender you give to your friends even, but it must be licensed under the GPL, and you may not charge an unreasonable fee for the source code.
Can I sell plug-ins for Blender?
Yes you can, but only if you provide the plug-in and the sources to your clients under the GNU GPL license. The client then benefits from all rights the GPL offers; free to use it, or even distribute it when they wish.
Only if the plug-in doesn’t work within Blender as “acting as a single program” (like using fork or pipe; by only transferring data and not using each others program code) you have the full freedom to license the plug-in as you wish.
In a few sentences, what is the GNU GPL?
- You are free to use Blender, for any purpose
- You are free to distribute Blender
- You can study how Blender works and change it
- You can distribute changed versions of Blender
In the last case you have the obligation to also publish the changed source code as GPL.
So I can make games without having to worry about the GPL, right?
Games created in Blender (.blend files) are program output and therefore not covered by the GPL. You can consider them your property, and license or sell them freely.
With stand-alone games however, any data that is included inside the actual stand-alone executable is covered by the GPL. If this is a problem then you should set up the stand-alone player so it reads from external .blend files. A common practice is to include a “please wait, loading…” scene in the standalone, and read level files externally.
The Blender standalone player or the game player can be sold commercially too, but you have to make it available under the GPL conditions.
What about the splash-screen and icons?
The splash-screen and icons are GPL’d material therefore when using them the terms of the GPL must be followed. Usage of the Blender Logo is only GPL too when used within the context of screenshots of the GUI with or without splashscreen.
The Blender logo is a trademark, usage guidelines are here.
The Blender Foundation logo is also a trademark, and only used for official Blender Foundation communications.
What if I take screen shots of the Blender interface?
To enable documention (like books) with author copyrights, screenshots of GNU GPL applications are considered to be licensed as an author wishes. However, this only goes for the screenshot as a “whole”, as an illustration of how the software works. Individual items in a screenshot (such as icons) are still GPL.
Copyright law in different countries actually differ in this area. Please consult legal advice if you’re unsure.
How does the GPL and Blender benefit me?
1) The GPL allows for developers to work on Blender without worry that their work could be copied into a closed application. They can keep their own copyright on the code even, reserving the rights to sell or license it as they wish to.
2) The GPL makes it so that all contributers must make their code open, this means that if someone distributes a version of Blender with a cool feature, everyone can have access to it.
3) The GPL ensures that all future Blender versions will always be available as Free Software, providing the core freedom users and developers expect from it.
One of the main benefits of Blender is that it’s truly “your own software”. You or your studio can treat it as in-house software equally to the big powerhouses in the film industry.
Which book should I buy?
Since 2002 over 100 titles covering Blender have been published. You can find this in any bookstore or in online store.
Several books are available in our E-Shop.
Online documentation of Blender can be found here.
How do I do [some specific Blender function]?
There are many community-driven discussion boards where you can ask questions, or give answers related to using Blender. See the Help Forums section of this site for more information.
Can I distribute the official blender.org releases under my own branding and name?
Yes, you are free to name Blender whatever you like, and repackage and distribute it under your own branding, provided you still deliver or publish it under the GPL conditions to your clients.
You can NOT change Blender’s copyright notices, nor make claims you wrote or created that program.
Without explicit permission, you then can also NOT change existing claims or credits that have been published for Blender, such as feature or specification listings on blender.org, galleries or movies, release notes, screenshots, press articles, reviews, and so on.
If you wish to rename and/or rebrand Blender, you will have to create and use your own credits and achievements as well.