I paid a designer to create some backgrounds for me which I will use in a paid mobile app. This is the first time I pay a designer to do something for me so I am very new to this. He said he used parts of it from Shutterstock, this worried me a bit because I thought he would make everything from scratch himself. What I imagine now is that he just used someone else's work from Shutterstock and just combined the images/assets to create a background (sun, mountains, trees). My question is how would I be able to verify that the backgrounds he sent me (svg files) are legal to use in my app and that I will not get in trouble in the future? Can I ask him of any kind of proof/documents? He didn't send me anything else other than the background svg files, no license or anything like that.

Thanks a lot!

1 Answer 1


Typically, you would write a contract with the developer in which he made a representation and warranty that the product he produced did not infringe any intellectual property laws, and that he would indemnify and defend you from any claims that it did.

While you could try to get some sort of verification or independent confirmation that this representation was correct, in practice, it would rarely be cost effective to do so and would defeat some of the economic reasons to hire a designer in the first place.

It isn't a perfect solution, because the designer may not have enough money to make good on the harm caused to you if the work done is infringing and you are sued. But, it does provide the designer with some incentive to be aware of that risk and it does provide a means to show a third-party that you were acting in good faith and were an innocent infringer if it turns out that the work is infringing, which would prevent you from facing the worst kinds of punitive or criminal damages for an infringement.

  • 1
    And why wouldn’t you require a copy of the designer’s certificate of currency for PI insurance?
    – Dale M
    Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 11:31
  • @DaleM Good idea.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Dec 12, 2021 at 20:43
  • Thanks for your answer! So if he doesn't want to do a contract or he doesn't have a certificate, I pretty much cannot use the backgrounds? Sounds a bit complicated, was hoping things would be more straightforward, I think most smaller companies just pay the designer, get the files and nothing else..? But I think the assets from Shutterstock should be safe to use, right? I think that's the purpose of that website.
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 15:04
  • @Kevin I'm not abreast enough of assets like Shutterstock to know reliably.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 19:53

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