Things To Be Considered When Using Royalty-free Images

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With more and more information being easily accessible and available over the internet, it is surely quite easy to download a photo for free and use it for your personal purposes. Care and caution must be exercised in doing so because royalty-free images are really not free. Thus, here are some of the things that you should consider in using royalty-free images.

Take note of the licenses of royalty-free images

Royalty-free images are licensed for a price and these images still retain their copyright. In Germany, Lizenzfreie Bilder kostenlos, the German term for royalty-free images, are still considered as the work of the authors, which are protected by copyright laws. Thus, it is important to take note of the allowed uses of royalty-free images.

Editorial Royalty-free License
Editorial license allows the user to pay for the image only once and use it unlimitedly, provided that the photos are used only to enhance a text or publication. Any usage of the image that generates a profit is strictly prohibited under this license. More often than not, the distribution allowance of the images is also capped.

Commercial Royalty-free License
With a commercial license, the image or photo can pretty much be used for any purpose, which may include marketing, advertising, and even graphic designs. Nevertheless, distribution allowance limits are still imposed. In order to waive the restriction on the distribution allowance, you will need an extended license.

Creative Commons Zero License
Creative Commons Zero license, or CC0, is crafted by the Creative Commons, an organization the develops a license model for photographers and artists alike. CC0 contains minimal license restrictions, which is why this is the license used by several platforms for free images. However, CC0 licenses are usually partially secure because there is no guarantee that the creator of the images is the one who uploaded the photo on the platform.

Consider the restrictions to usage of royalty-free images

Some restrictions to the usage of royalty-free images include transferring the image to any third-party or reselling the image as is. More often than not, these images are also not allowed to be used in pornographic sites or adult-related content. The images should also not be used in a defamatory manner discriminating against sexuality, gender, health, or even politics.

Ponder on the ways that you can use royalty-free images

With the proper licenses in place, royalty-free images can be used on websites, and web ads, or part of a website template, as well as in online marketing campaigns. It can also be used in print ads or to support promotional content. Additionally, these images can also be used in print banners and in-house designs. With an extended license, royalty-free images can also be used in covers for books or e-books, as well as for CDs or DVDs, including editorial contents. Apart from this, royalty-free images can also be used in a footage or other multimedia production, as well as on item prints that will be used for a sale, but still this entails the need for an extended license.

Main Features of Royalty-free Images

Royalty-free images are generally non-transferable, wherein the license is solely applicable to the buyer of the photo. The buyer has no right to share or sell the image to any third party. Thus, there are no other individuals who are allowed to utilize the image, except for the buyer of the image who acquired a license.

The license that you acquire when you buy a royalty-free image is not exclusive to you alone. The owner of the image has the right to sell the image to another buyer and grant the same license. A different license type might be necessary if you prefer to have exclusive rights to the images.

The license that you acquire when you purchase an image has no expiry date. Thus, once you purchase an image, you have permission to use it indefinitely. This is true unless the licensing agency specifies it otherwise.

Global Usage
You are allowed to use a royalty-free image anywhere in the world as soon as you acquire the proper licenses for it. There is no geographic limitation as to where you can use the image, unless otherwise stated in the licensing contract clause.

Multiple Usage
Aside from being able to use the images anywhere in the globe, you also have the option to use the images multiple times, for a wide variety of purposes. It can be in physical prints or in digital uses. Nevertheless, caution must be noted in terms of the restrictions on the usage of the photos.
Websites Offering Royalty-free Images

StockPhotoSecrets Shop
This is one of the websites where an individual can find the most affordable royalty-free images. They usually have customized annual subscriptions which are suitable for small to medium businesses. They also offer monthly plans and extended licenses.

Shutterstock has grown exponentially over recent years. With almost two hundred million images in their collection, they are known as the largest provider of royalty-free images. They have a simple pricing in terms of photo subscriptions, which can include image packs that can be bought on demand.

This is owned by the most renowned photo agency and they have a wide variety of budget images which are guaranteed to be high-quality photos. The images, which are millions in number, are usually exclusive to their platform. Their pricing system allows their users to buy images and photos by demand. Nevertheless, their users also have the option of enrolling into a subscription program to access the photos.

Image source:

To wrap things up, you must exercise precaution in using royalty-free images. This is because there are still certain scenarios wherein the royalty-free photos uploaded in photo sharing platforms may be uploaded not by the true author, but another user who was able to get a hold of the photo. Apart from this, there are still other considerations that you need to take note of in making use of royalty-free images.

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