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Stock Photography Glossary

Definitions and terms in Stock Photography

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Royalty Free License

Royalty Free (RF) is a license where you pay a one-time fee for usage of copyrighted material. The license grants you the permission to use the material (f.ex a stock photo) without restrictions to size, circulation, media and the like. The opposite is a Rights Managed (RM) license, where the usage affects the price. The "free" in "Royalty Free" does not mean that the license is free, but that you are free to use the copyrighted material as you wish after licensing it.

A Royalty Free license does not have any renewal fees not time limits. The user can also use the material in several different projects without purchasing additional licenses. You cannot use an image in a pornographic or unlawful purpose, to defame a person, to violate a person's right to privacy or publicity, to infringe upon any copyright, trade name, trademark, or service mark of any person/entity. The license is non-transferable, and belongs to you as a person or the company who purchased the license.

The Royalty Free license does not include re-distribution, either of the copyrighted material per se - or of a product in which the copyrighted material is incorporates the copyrighted material in an essential manner. This use is usually covered by an Extended License.

Royalty free licenses are very common in low-cost or microstock stock photography agencies.