Rights Managed / Royalty Free

Read all of this — it’s important to understand the difference

In the broadest possible terms ROYALTY FREE images tend to be generic shots of things (a happy couple running hand in hand along the surf; a cow in a field; a traffic light), while RIGHTS MANAGED tend towards being actual images of real people and places at specific times (The Queen at her Jubilee in 2012; November 1948 Moon over Harlech Castle). Think bland versus reality. A sweeping generalisation, but fair.

Basically, when a picture purchaser buys a ROYALTY FREE image, she can do much as she likes with it, using it as many times and in as many places as she wants. One flat fee, and that's that. It's hers to use — but not to sell on. The ultimate copyright rests with the photographer. Advertisers and mass market publishers favour Royalty Free. fotolibra Contributors can choose to market their pictures as either Rights Managed or Royalty Free.

ROYALTY FREE images must

  • have minimum pixel dimensions of 5100 × 3500
  • have full clearances, where relevant — Model Released and Property Released

Royalty Free images are clearly distinguished on fotolibra by the orange icon.

RIGHTS MANAGED image sales are more complex, but it means that the photographer always retains his or her intellectual property rights. If a picture becomes popular and is used by a number of publishers (think of Einstein sticking out his tongue) the photographer gets a steady income.

When a picture researcher buys a RIGHTS MANAGED image he buys specific rights to use the picture in a given environment, and a fee is worked out based on three parameters: SIZE, CIRCULATION and REPETITION.

SIZE is the actual physical size at which the picture is used. Obviously a picture taking up one twelfth of a page will cost less than a picture taking up a full page, which in turn will cost less than a picture used on a 48 sheet poster.

CIRCULATION means the number of people likely to see the image. An image sold for a leaflet with a print run of 1,000 will be cheaper than one used in a national newspaper with a circulation of 2,000,000.

REPETITION is the number of times the picture is used. A newspaper or a book publisher will usually buy a picture for a single use; an advertising agency may use a picture repeatedly over a six or twelve month campaign.

This means every time the picture is sold and used, the photographer gets a royalty payment. That's why fotolibrahas no less than 1,447 different prices for the sale of image rights. It may appear complicated, but it's the fair way to set the right price, and we’ve made it easy to use.

advanceimages are rights managed images using a ground-breaking royalty-based photographer payment system designed specifically for digital publishing.