Is Royalty Free Really….FREE!?

 
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Did I grab your attention?

Yeah, who doesn’t like free stuff. heck, we do! But as famous science fiction writer Robert Heinlein used to say in his 1966 novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” So now, what is ROYALTY FREE?

Let’s see what Wiki says, “Royalty-free, or RF, refers to the right to use copyrighted material or intellectual property without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use or per volume sold, or some time period of use or sales.”

Confused? Here’s a layman version. Basically after the initial payment is secured for the content – in this case photographs – from the licensor aka 123RF to the licensee aka your lovely self, multiple uses are permitted without additional payment. In other words, pay once, put the photo on a poster, print out some fliers, get it tattooed on your chest, go ahead!

Ultimately, you still have to pay for it somehow. So if you are Googling for free images and stumble upon a stock image site like ours, RF doesn’t mean you can take those images! That’s what copyright is all about (but that’s another story for later).

How about Rights-managed (RM) licensing? Is it the same? Not quite! It requires a more stringent agreement between the licensor and licensee with regards to multiple uses. Picture this, an RM image used on a T-shirt will need  to be re-licensed for a fee if you plan to use it again. While you get control and exclusivity on the image, you lose the flexibility of using your image anytime, anywhere at an affordable price. Now, that can be a downer!

But you’re in luck! WIth the rise of digital imaging, royalty-free licensing is booming and today, there are a vast majority of stock images licensed as royalty-free worldwide, out of which 123RF contributes over 25 million of them with 35,000 added daily.


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