It’s critical for designers and creative professionals contributing stock resources to understand the details related to licensing. If you’re new to creative stock resources, licensing may seem like an overwhelming or confusing topic. This article will help by providing definitions and explanations of the standard license types and related terms. We’ll be covering the specifics as they relate to Vecteezy’s licensing and the stock licensing industry in general.
Stock licensing customers and end-users are not actually purchasing a photo, video clip, or vector. Instead, they’re purchasing a license to use the creative resource. The specific license the customer or end-user purchases will dictate the terms and restrictions of that use. A few different license types are commonly associated with stock resources, so let’s look at the details.
A royalty-free (RF) license is purchased for a one-time, flat fee and allows the licensee (end-user) to use the photo/video/vector without the need to pay any further royalties. This is the most common type of license purchased through stock marketplaces, including Vecteezy. Royalty-free licenses are flexible and allow for many different kinds of projects without a separate license for each specific use.
Royalty-free licenses are non-exclusive, so the same photo/video/vector can be licensed and used by multiple people and businesses. Because these non-exclusive resources can be licensed numerous times, prices for royalty-free licenses are typically lower than rights-managed licenses.
Although royalty-free licenses are very flexible, the details and permitted use can vary, so it’s always important to check the license.
Unlike a flexible royalty-free license, a rights-managed (RM) license involves many restrictions (resources at Vecteezy do not feature an RM license). The RM license will dictate the specific use, the extent to which the creative resource can be used, and how long it can be used. For example, a rights-managed license may be purchased to use a photo in a brochure with 10,000 copies printed and for a duration of three years. If the licensee later decides to use the image on the company website, a new license would need to be purchased for that usage.
It’s more common for customers or end-users to acquire exclusive rights-managed licenses rather than exclusive royalty-free licenses, but they can also be non-exclusive. Although the price of a rights-managed license will vary significantly depending on the details, it will almost always be considerably higher than a non-exclusive royalty-free license.
Get millions of stock images and videos at the best price
Unlimited access. No attribution required. Starts at just $9/month.
Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive
Exclusive rights, typically associated with rights-managed licenses, ensure that the licensee is the only party or entity with legal rights to use the creative resource at a given time. Thus, the resource cannot be licensed again while a licensee has exclusive rights.
Some licenses will allow for exclusivity within an industry. For example, the photo/video/vector could be licensed to multiple businesses operating in different industries but cannot be used by a direct competitor of the licensee. The exclusivity also typically ends when the license expires, so the creator would be free to license the resource again after the expiration date.
Non-exclusive rights, typically associated with royalty-free licenses, allow the resource to be licensed an unlimited number of times without restrictions. Thus, the same photo could be licensed and used by many different businesses, even within the same industry.
Vecteezy uses a non-exclusive license. As a contributor, you’re free to license your content an unlimited number of times and to customers in any industry. With that said, Vecteezy does offer a buyout option or exclusive buyout on certain resources. Customers can pay a one-time fee to acquire the copyright and ownership of a resource. Pricing for this option varies and is negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
Most resources available through a royalty-free license also provide the option of an extended license. The extended license will give the licensee additional rights that aren’t provided through the regular RF license. For example, the licensee may purchase an extended license to include a photo in a product that will be resold, like a website template or merchandise such as t-shirts, hats, or mugs.
Extended licenses can be purchased for any Pro resource available at Vecteezy. The extended license requires a one-time fee and allows for unlimited usage rights with print, digital, and TV, and limited merchandise usage rights for specific content types.
Some licenses may dictate the way a resource can be used. Here are the details that need to be understood about commercial and editorial use.
“Commercial use” refers to a resource’s inclusion in any for-profit or promotional activity. The Free and Pro licenses at Vecteezy both allow for commercial use, but restrictions apply based on how you plan to use the images or video clips.
Some licenses commonly associated with free downloads, including certain Creative Commons licenses, allow only personal use while restricting commercial use.
Creative resources that are licensed only for editorial use can be included in stories or articles about newsworthy events or items of public interest. This type of content cannot be used for commercial or promotional products. That means it cannot be used in any content to make money or assists in revenue-seeking or profit-seeking endeavors. These guidelines apply even if the organization is non-profit (the specific use, not the user, determines whether the use is commercial or editorial).
Some resources available at Vecteezy are licensed for editorial use only. Resources may be labeled as “editorial use only” because the resource includes a copyright-protected logo or other branding, or because the resource includes a recognizable person or property and the contributor did not provide a model or property release. If a resource is designated for editorial use, the words “Editorial Use Only” will be shown under the download button.
Vecteezy offers a legal guarantee to help protect users. There are different levels of legal protection (indemnification) depending on the license type. As long as customers and (if permitted under our License Agreement) their clients and subcontractors use the content only as allowed by our License Agreement, we’ll protect them from direct damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees that may be incurred because a third party claims that the use of the content following the License Agreement, infringes the third party’s rights. The legal guarantee allows customers to create with confidence and assures our community that we’re committed to fighting fraud. The levels of protection are as follows and are per file (but only one limit is available to customers, clients, and subcontractors for a particular file):
- Editorial Use Only – up to $500
- Free License – up to $500
- Pro License – up to $10,000
- Pro Extended License – up to $100,000
If you have additional questions about licensing or usage of your creative content, please contact us.