Before we state the royalty-free definition, let us discuss what a royalty is first. A royalty is payment agreed to be paid to use an item. For instance, a company pays royalties for software based on the number of computer on which software is to be loaded. A radio station may also pay royalties based on the number of times a song is played on air. In photography, a photographer can be hired by the newspaper or magazine for a fee for an image and will be paid of royalty each time an image is reproduced.
Image owners and publishers both agree on terms of a license to use the image. Rights Managed license (RM) is widely used for commercial transaction. Payment is based on the use of the image, how long the images can be used, where that image can be published, and the only type of media in which the image can maximize its size and resolution. On the other hand, small businesses commonly purchase Royalty free license (RF).
Every photo, drawing or image is typically protected by a copyright. If you wish to use an image that you did not create or own, you must obtain a license of that specific image before using it. Several stock agencies sell Royalty-Free stock images as part of their collections. The two oldest and well known stock media sites are Corbis Images and Getty Images. iStockphoto and Shutterstock also offer Royalty-Free photos.
While you can download images for free from the Internet, it is still best for you and your brand to purchase cheap stock photos to protect yourself from copyright violations. Keep in mind that copyright issues will not only hurt your pockets, but your reputation as well. You don’t want to lose your hard-earned money and credentials just because you’re too cheap to spend a small amount.