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End User License Agreement Overview

Last updated: December 11, 2020


Obsidian is free to use, mostly

You need to pay for Obsidian if and only if you use it for revenue-generating, work-related activities in a company that has two or more people. Get a commercial license for each user if that's the case. Non-profit organizations do not need commercial licenses.

For all other uses, you can use Obsidian for free forever.

To support our development, you can pay for one-time Catalyst licenses to get early access to new Obsidian versions, but it's completely optional. You can contribute more via Obsidian Unlimited if you wish.

Your data is local and yours only

To use Obsidian, you do not need to provide your email or create an account. You only need to do so if you intend to pay us or use one of our add-on services (Obsidian Publish and Obsidian Sync).

All data is saved on your device locally and is never sent to our server. We do not collect any personal data either.

Obviously, if you use our Obsidian Publish or Obsidian Sync services, to provide the services we need to access your data (encrypted data in the case of Obsidian Sync). We only do what's needed to provide the services and nothing more with your data.

It is essential that you read and understand our End User License Agreement and Privacy Policy, because you must agree to both to use Obsidian. These documents provide all terms to the relationship between Obsidian users and Dynalist Inc., the company that develops and provides Obsidian, including licensing and fees, the security of your content (and ours), privacy, liability and how we agree to resolve any disputes.

This page is only a summary of key details.


You must have a license to use Obsidian, though some users may use a free license. If you aren’t sure which license you need, please see our Licensing FAQ at the bottom of this page.

If you make an account with Obsidian or purchase a Commercial Use License, one or more add-on services, and/or Catalyst, we’ll need to collect some personal information from you in the process. We will securely handle any information you provide in accordance with our End User License Agreement and Privacy Policy. We only collect the personal information we require to provide you with services at your request, and no more. This information will never be used for any other purpose, and will be retained only as long as necessary.


Unless you require a Commercial Use License, you can download and use Obsidian for free, forever, under one of our free license types: Personal Use Licenses, De Minimis Commercial Use Licenses, and Not for Profit Licenses.

Each allows you to download and use Obsidian without creating an account. When you download Obsidian without creating an account, we do not collect, store or transmit any of your personal information.


Commercial Use Licenses are required whenever Obsidian is being used for work for a business with two or more personnel. Sole proprietorships or other one-person organizations do not require a Commercial Use License. Work for educational purposes does not require a Commercial Use License.

Commercial Use Licenses must be purchased on an annual and per user basis. Commercial users must purchase at least as many licenses as the number of people who will be using Obsidian.


Catalyst Licenses are special licenses available for all other license holders to purchase. In both cases you will have additional benefits and early access to insider builds.


We know content privacy is important to our users, and we know many of you value Obsidian for the privacy and security its offline service model provides.

Regardless of your license type, unless you are using an add-on service, such as Obsidian Sync or Obsidian Publish, the Obsidian will never collect, transmit, or store the content you generate while using the app, which exists only on as local files. If you take advantage of an add-on, some of your content will need to be transmitted over networks to secure data storage in order to provide you with these services. At all times, Obsidian will handle your data securely, in accordance with our End User License Agreement and Privacy Policy.


Obsidian claims no ownership or rights over any content you generate using Obsidian. You always own your content.

We own and reserve all associated rights to our content, which includes any text, images, and software code in the app.

These rights are protected by copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret and other laws.


Q. Can I buy a license for myself, or do I have to ask my company to buy it for me?

A: Yes, you can buy a license for yourself; just put your name in the company field. You can use such a license to work for any company.

Q. I'm a freelancer/writer/blogger, do I need a commercial license?

A: Unless you hire at least one person full time, you do not need a commercial license.

Q. I'm a teacher/professor and I use Obsidian for my teaching/lectures, do I need a commercial license?

A: No, if it's related to education in general, even if you work in a for-profit institution, you do not need a commercial license.

Q. I'm a researcher and I use Obsidian for my research, do I need a commercial license?

A: If your research has resulted in a commercial product, you need a commercial license for your usage. Otherwise if you're still producing a product, or if your research does not involve producing a product, you do not need a commercial license.

Q. I use Obsidian during work for things like writing down team processes and taking notes for team meetings, do you need a commercial license?

A: Unless you're the only employee in your company, yes, you need a commercial license. You should ask your company to get you a commercial license.

Q. I use Obsidian to store all of my knowledge, both personal and professional, because it's difficult to separate them. Do I need a commercial license?

A: If your notes contain content directly related to projects and processes at your work, you need a commercial license.