Images make a business’s websites and content interesting. Whether it be for inbound marketing or for your business logo, there are plenty of uses. But where can you source royalty-free images and what are the rules for using them?
What is a royalty-free image?
Anything that is royalty-free can be used without paying royalty fees. The term applies to everything considered intellectual property, including videos.
When you buy an image online, you can use it as you gain access to the royalties-free copyright. This means you have the right to use that image where you please. However, there can be specific conditions for its use.
Examples of possible conditions include:
- Credit must be given to the author when the image is used.
- You may not use the image for commercial purposes.
- You cannot re-sell the image.
When planning to use intellectual property, you must be aware of any conditions that come attached. Misuse might mean that you lose the right to use the media. This applies to free intellectual property too, as while they would be royalty-free, they might not be copyright-free.
What exactly is copyright?
A copyright gives the owner control over how their intellectual property is used. The owner can use, sell or license the work as they please.
Royalty-free or copyright-free
- Copyright-free. This refers to the lack of any rules that apply when using the property.
- Royalty-free. A property is royalty-free when there isn’t a cost to using it.
Any additional terminology
It’s important to understand all the terminology that comes with using intellectual property. Being aware of the different rules will help you find the best image to fit your purpose. Examples include:
- Creative Commons. When an artist releases their work to the public for use under conditions, the work is still protected. There are various creative commons licenses and each has different conditions to adhere to.
- Public Domain. The public domain is open to free use for the public. Copyright and royalties do not apply here.
- Commercial Use. This is where an image is Royalty-free and available for any business venture.
Be aware of these terms and which apply when sourcing media. They are crucial to ensure that work such as blogs can stay up long term.
Where can I find Royalty-free images?
Below you can find a few examples of websites to source royalty-free images, please be aware of copyright when searching.
- Pixabay – Pixabay is completely public domain, and copyright-free.
- Shutterstock – Shutterstock is free for the most part, with a subscription possible. The images do retain their copyright when posted here.
- Unsplash – Similar to Pixabay, all images here are public domain and free of copyright.
- Google Images – Google images is by far the largest image base. They allow you to search up images and filter by usage rights, ensuring you can find your perfect one.
There are plenty more websites out there with royalty-free images. Please be aware when using any of them of all copyrights applicable.