OPINION: Breed Media Bank image licences


Rights Managed and Royalty Free image licences

To make the most of stock photos it helps to understand the difference between the two main licensing options: Rights Managed (RM) and Royalty Free (RF). The Breed Media Bank, and most stock photo libraries, supply their images with one of these two licenses. These licensing options each have their own benefits and work differently from each other. Photos are licensed because you are buying the right to use the photo – not the photo itself. The photographer who created the photo is still the owner of the photo. The copyright is always with the person who created the photo.

Royalty Free (RF)

A Royalty Free licenses places very few restrictions on the use of an image. It allows multiple and unlimited use of an image and is not exclusive. The purchaser pays a one time fee for the license and can then make perpetual use of the image in all the permitted ways. So, the licensed image can then be used freely for your marketing material, website, brochures, PDF’s etc. These images are generally called royalty-free Because royalty free images are not sold exclusively an unlimited number of licenses can be sold for the same photo. Images sold under RF are usually priced low and at a flat fee, they can also be distributed across stock photo agencies. This means the image license may be purchased by multiple people in different companies and brands who can all use the image at the same time in different ways. The image is licensed because you are buying the right to use the image in multiple ways for a one-time flat fee. So, you pay for the licence once but can use the image forever within accepted ways.

Rights Managed (RM)

The rights managed license outlines how, when and where the image can be used this assures the purchaser of the image a level of exclusivity. When purchasing a rights managed license there could be specific time and geographical limitations as well as specific and per-use rights. The license only covers the consigned use, to use the image in another way a new license is needed. The price for a license varies according to its intended use. Depending on the photo the price can vary significantly. For RM photos there is a more detailed buying process. Because of the custom, set, specific rights a buyer acquires over a RM image they are generally less widely available, and you are less likely to see duplicates in use simultaneously. Rights managed photography can provide a level of protection to the image purchaser. The seller of the photograph, when made aware of the intended use of the image, can alert the buyer to any possible conflicts in image use. The arena of brand confusion can be bypassed by using rights managed licensing. If you can be clear on where you want to use photos sometimes it can be more cost effective to purchase the rights managed photo for a specific use rather than paying more for a royalty free image which you end up only using once.

As the need for stock photography grows both rights managed and royalty free licensing models both have key roles to play. What you choose to purchase ultimately comes down to what the image will be used for and the level of exclusivity required. If you need any help with this when using the Breed Media Bank please contact info@breedmedia.com