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How to use a stock image legally

If you're building content on a website, you will find numerous images online -- images that might be perfect for your site. However, if the images are not royalty-free, you'll probably need to pay to use them -- if you can even use them at all.

Here are a few classifications of pictures you'll find online, which you should learn about:

Royalty-free images

A royalty-free picture is a photo that you can use for unlimited purposes. However, depending on the license and the language contained inside it, what you pay for when you receive a royalty-free picture could be different depending on the picture. One thing to consider is that -- if the picture will go into your company's database -- other employees might be tempted to use it for a different purpose, and that could cause problems. Usually, with royalty-free images, you're paying a one-time feel for a perpetual-use license. However, the photo owner can sell the picture to other people as well.


With these kinds of photos, you will pay based on how you use the picture. For example, different fees will apply to print ads, t-shirts, billboards and so forth. You may also pay a fee to receive exclusive rights, so no one else can use it.

It's vital for creators to know and understand the licenses they've purchased when using certain media. Sometimes, allegedly free photos found on the internet are not what they appear to be. If you're pursuing a massive marketing campaign, be sure to understand your intellectual property rights regarding media before you move forward with the project.

Source: Entrepreneur, "The Beginner's Guide to Using Stock Images Without Getting Sued," Jeff Rojas, Nov. 13, 2017

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