Before you use free stock images websites, there are some basics which you need to be aware of. There are some of these sites that offer the images which are on their sites only to be used for personal use whereas others allow you to use these free stock images websites for commercial use.
Royalty free and copyright managed images
There are two types of images. The first is royalty free images and the second has copyright managed images. If the images are royalty free, then there is a limited number of times that these images can be used. These can also be used in different applications and for various projects so long as the person who is using it is compliant with the terms and conditions of the license. The images can be used when the person purchases the license by paying a license fee and once it is done no other royalty payments are needed.
The other type is rights managed images. In this, the images can be used but the right is very restricted, and there are a number of limitations when it can be used, for how long it can be used, which geographic region it can be used, which industries it can be used in, so on and so forth.
Most people are confused as to whether royalty free images are free images. These are not the same. Royalty free images mean that when the user buys a license fee, they can use the image as many times as they want without having to pay additional fees. However, the license which is purchased initially is necessary as that protects the user and the clients.
The free images can be used for as long as the user wants and as per the terms and conditions of the license agreement. They may charge based on the number of users who are permitted to use the image or the size of the file and other factors. It is the protection of the authors and is called copyright law. This protects the authors work in 160 countries which are part of the convention of literary and artistic work. There are other laws which apply as well, and this applies to all images and every photographs or image.
Some of the free stock images websites may violate the copyright act or law which means using either the whole part of the image without permission to do so or using the image beyond what the scope of the license is for or changing or adapting the image without the author’s consent.
Therefore one needs to be extra careful as when there is an infringement, and everyone is held responsible including not only the party that has infringed but also any of the other people including employees and anyone who uses the image regardless of if they were aware of the fact that they were infringing. It also includes anyone who encouraged or authorized the work. When there is a copyright infringement, the result could be monetary damages which have to be paid, legal fees and lawsuits and sometimes even criminal charges.