Shutterstock content is royalty-free, but not free of charge (but we do offer a free photo and free vector each week, available on our homepage). So what does royalty-free mean? Let us explain!
What is royalty-free?
Royalty-free is a type of license for copyrighted intellectual property, such as images and video. The license allows you to use the content for multiple applications in multiple media, without having to pay a royalty for each use; you pay just once for use of a particular image or video. For example, you can use an image on your website, in a print ad campaign, and web banners without having to pay for each use. And you can use the image globally and without time limits.
In contrast, rights managed licensing gives you a license to use a piece of content just for specific media, regions, industries, etc. For example, in magazine print ads for the food industry, only in the US, for the duration of one month. None of Shutterstock's content carries these limitations.
Why pay for images and videos?
If a production company is making a TV commercial and wants to use a piece of music for it, they need to license the music, whether the music is by a Top 40 star or a local band. Otherwise, the music is being used without permission and the production company can end up with legal issues due to copyright infringement.
It’s similar with royalty-free images and videos. Paying for images means that you have documented permission to use them, and the creators of the images get their fair compensation. Shutterstock even offers at least $10,000 indemnification for all licensed content (depending on which product/license you choose).