Rights Managed vs. Royalty Free Images

mountain, reflecting in the lake with flamingos, bolivia

Royalty Free image from pond5.com

When sourcing images for a project of any size, unless a client has provided specific images, stock images will often be purchased. The content of stock images can range from natural landscapes, staged scenes, infographics, famous locations and celebrities. Images with iconic nature such as celebrities or Disneyland are often only available under a Rights Managed Editorial license.

There are generally three types of licenses:

  • Rights Managed
  • Rights Managed Editorial
  • Royalty Free

Rights Managed Editorial has all the same limitations as Rights Managed, however Rights Managed Editorial is strictly for editorial use, and not commercial use unless specific permission had been granted from the stock image licensing company.

Here’s a break down of the difference between Rights Managed, Rights Managed Editorial and Royalty Fee:

Rights Managed

Rights Managed Editorial

Royalty Free

Price and Use Intention of use must be specified, including placement of image, size, duration, location, geographical distribution and industry. The price of the image is then calculated based on the usage. Usage must be for editorial purposes unless specific permission has been granted. Price may be more costly due to exclusivity rights. Once image is purchased, the customer has the liberty to use the image freely within the licensing agreement. The price is determined solely by size.
Fees A fee must be paid for licensing every time the image is used. A fee must be paid for licensing every time the image is used. A one-time licensing fee is paid, and the customer may use the image as many times allowed within the licensing agreement.
Exclusivity Rights Exclusivity rights are available within the agreed license. Exclusivity rights are available within the agreed license. Exclusivity rights are not available, and any customer may purchase the same image

So why choose one over the other?

With Rights Managed, the customer may have the guarantee that the image will not be used by another party in a conflicting manner. Higher content quality photos are often Rights Managed photos, however Rights Managed images are often twice the cost of Royalty Free images and have limited usage.

You can often find Royalty Free images with equally high content quality, and pay a fraction of the cost, however you run the risk of that same image being used by another user.

Here’s a list of some of our favorite stock image websites:

Getty Images-
http://www.gettyimages.com/

iStock Photo-
http://www.istockphoto.com/

API Images-
http://www.apimages.com/

Shutterstuck-
http://www.shutterstock.com/

Pond5-
http://www.pond5.com/

Natgeocreative-
http://www.natgeocreative.com/ngs/

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