Royalty Free Definition and FAQs

What is your royalty free definition? Royalty free refers to the right to use a copyright image without the need to pay for royalties each time the image is used or sold. It is based on a one-time payment to the licensor, after which you can use the image in several projects without having to purchase an additional license. RF licenses may not be given on an exclusive basis. Here are common FAQs about the license:

  • Can I use the RF license for free?
    The answer is no. Royalty free images are sold under a paid license. Whether it is for commercial or non-profit purposes, you cannot use them for free. Free images means they are unlicensed, therefore illegal to use.
  • Can I use RF images in designs that I will sell to my client? If you are a designer, yes you can as long as the images are embedded in your design. You can even use the same image in multiple designs. That is the true value of royalty free.
  • Can I use it on the template of my own web? As long you don’t design it as if the models in the images are endorsing your product, you can use royalty free images on the template of your own web.
  • Can I use RF images in templates that I will sell? It is possible, but this usually requires a different license – a rights-managed (RM) license.
  • Can I use the images in my brand identity? No, you can’t. You can use them in graphic designs, but you can’t include them in your trademarks, brand logos, or other design marks. You cannot make it look like they are endorsing your product or are directly bound to your company. You can only use them in your marketing efforts.
  • Can I buy exclusive rights to Royalty Free image? No, you can’t. Royalty free definition means multiple buyers can license the image. To get exclusive rights, you need a rights-managed license or other similar licenses for a higher price.

Always read the agreement carefully because each stock agency has their own variations and changes to their license. Make sure you understand the rights you are buying.

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