Image Usage Rights – Understanding Different Types Of Photo Licensing

Every image has its own image usage right i.e. license, which describes how that image can be used and repurposed. Sometimes, users use the images for their commercial or personal use without buying any license or taking permission from the owner, due to this they sometimes face the copyright infringement from the buyer and end up paying the fine.

If you don’t want to risk a lawsuit, then it’s important to understand the different image usage rights and copyright rules for images so you don’t violate someone’s photography copyright when you use any image on your website or for marketing purpose.
Check out the 4 types of Image Usage Rights and take a complete understanding of different types of photo licensing you need to be aware of.

Rights Managed Image License

A rights managed (RM) Image license gives you exclusive and time-limited use of an image. Exclusive use of an image means only the licensee can use the image for the specified period in the license contract.
RM licenses are given on a pay-per-use basis, meaning the given image can only be used in a specific way, only for a set period of time, for a set medium, set format and geographical location of use.
Rights-managed images are often expensive to license, but they give you exclusivity and offer protection from the competitor using it against you. Once you get the RM image license than for a set period of time mentioned in your contract, no one can use it except you.
The buyer of the image cannot use this image elsewhere other than the specified agreement unless he pays again to license the image for other specific usages.
You can also get the history of the image i.e. when, where, for how long and on which project that particular image was used.
Rights Managed images are offered by big image licensing sites such as Corbis & Getty Images

Royalty Free Image License

In royalty free photo licensing, you need to pay one time fee for the license in order to gain the right to use the picture. Once the photograph is yours, you have full freedom to use it wherever you want. You can use the image multiple times without paying a royalty.
This is the most popular and most affordable license type for getting quality pictures and mostly budget minded designers and marketers go for this.
The disadvantage of royalty free images is that these images are not exclusive meaning anyone can purchase and use them. Royalty-free images can be used for both commercial and personal use.
However, you are not allowed to distribute that photo around (to your friends or colleagues).
Since these images can be licensed by anyone over the internet, you could easily find out that the image you have chosen for your blog post or presentation has been widely used by many other websites.
Yahoo Small Business published a study on the overuse of stock images and this topic has been covered again and again since then.

You can find royalty free licensed images on stock websites such as Shutterstock or Fotolia.

Public Domain Image License

Public domain images are the true friend of bloggers. Images in the public domain are those whose copyrights have expired or the creators have relinquished all rights.
These images are free for commercial or personal use. You can use public domain images without any restrictions and without any need of any permission for using these images.
There is only one exception to this is that if you are using an image of any recognizable person, you may need to get his or her permission to use the image. However, Harvard law school library recommends providing attribution on using any public domain image.
The only thing bloggers and marketers need to take care of is to determine whether the image they are using actually comes under public domain or not.
See copyright FAQ from the Professional Aerial Photographers Association and copyright terms. This is generated by the US copyright Act.
Since most of the websites offer mixed images (public domain images, creative commons and images and royalty free images), it is important to check the image license before using it. You should always check if any free image can be used for commercial projects without any fee or requires an attribution link.

You can find free public domain images on Pixabay, Morguefile or WikiPedia.
Or you can check this amazing post offering you 47 sites to find free public domain images.

Creative Commons Image License

Artists who license their work under creative commons (CC) can choose how their images will be used by specifying a particular CC license.
For instance
CC0 means the image owner has relinquished all the rights to his work. While,
CC2 means it requires the user to provide attribution to the owner
The advantage of using Creative Commons Images is that they are ready to use, freely available and the creators have given people the right to share and use it personally and commercially.
The disadvantage of Creative Commons Images is the difficulty to find out what to do with the image because of the six types of license listed by Creative Commons site. If you are planning to use any creative commons image then make sure that image is licensed for the particular use.
You can find quality creative commons images on Flickr or Compfight.
Now, that you have gained good knowledge about image licensing and types of photo licensing, try out the various image resources mentioned in the above post and try to find the best image for you.
Please comment below if you have any query or suggestions to improve this article.

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