Royalty Free does not actually mean the photo is free, just as Multi-seat Licensing does not mean you sit on the image! Stock photo licensing can seem difficult- much more difficult than it has to be, so today, I am going to explain what you need to know as a stock photo buyer, or seller!


Stock photos are distributed by the purchase of a right to use the image under the set terms. For example, a multi-seat unlimited license extends the usage of the content to more than one persons within an organization, while Royalty-free is limited to one person only.

Royalty Free Image License

A common misconception is that an image with this licensing is free. That is incorrect. ”Royalty Free” simply means that the image can be used for an unlimited period of time, in multiple placements, however, it CANNOT be passed on to anyone else. This is one of the major license types in existence, and all the large stock agencies use this licensing.

Rights-Managed Image License

The fee for a rights-managed image depends on the buyers specified use – such as size, placement, duration (of use) and geographical location.

Multi-Seat (unlimited)

This allows the content usage to extend to more than one person in your company or organization.

Items for Resale (limited run)

This option allows the content to be re-sold, however, only a certain amount of copies can be sold. The amount varies, depending on the target’s nature…

  1. Up to 100,000 postcards, stationery items, stickers, or paper products,
  2. Up to 10,000 posters, calendars, mugs, or mousepads,
  3. or up to 2,000 T-shirts, clothing items, games, toys, entertainment goods, or framed artwork.

Unlimited Reproduction / Print Runs

This option is fairly self explanatory: The buyer can reproduce or print the image an unlimited amount of times. This option is generally used for magazines, stationary or paper based productions where over 100,000 copies will be sold.

Electronic Items for Resale (unlimited run)

This license allows an unlimited amount of the item to be re-sold in electronic (digital) form, for e-greeting cards, Powerpoint presentations, screensavers or brochure templates.