There are many different types of rights of use. In order not to lose the overview, images usually carry a license.
All rights reserved
All rights of use are with the author. Third parties are not allowed to use the picture.
Numerous picture agencies work with the RM license. The customer selects the type of use (e.g. for the title page of a magazine, for poster advertising or for integration into a website) and a period of time; the price then depends on these two criteria.
Images distributed under the RM license are usually of high quality and/or rarely used. If necessary, customers can even use the material exclusively. Accordingly, it is quite expensive. Once the specified period has elapsed, new fees will apply.
Royalty Free (royalty-free)
Contrary to popular assumptions, royalty-free does not mean the same as free-of-rights. Even in the case of royalty-free images, the author lays down certain usage rules. Royalty-free images are usually subject to a fee and available on platforms such as shutterstock.com, fotolia.com or istockphoto.com.
When purchasing a royalty-free image, a flat-rate right of use is acquired. Images may be used for an unlimited period of time and for different projects. In the print area a limitation of the edition is possible. The respective conditions of use of the picture regulate more exactly.
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that provides various standard license agreements. Under these, authors of text, images, video and music can publish their works.
A CC license allows the use of such works under certain conditions. Even commercial use is possible in many cases. Images under this license come from free photo databases such as commons.wikimedia.org, pixabay.com or flickr.com.
The decisive factor is the addition - such as CC-BY-SA, CC-NC - which regulates the type of rights associated with the license. A combination of different additions is possible:
- The addition BY means that the author must be named.
- The ND addition means that the image may not be edited.
- The addition SA states that the image must be distributed under the same conditions. In other words, it may be edited, but must be published under the same license again.
- The addition NC states that the image may not be used for commercial purposes.
There are more and more platforms distributing public domain images. Often these are historical photographs whose term of protection has expired. Other images come from community users who make their material available to the public free of charge.
Pictures with a CC0 license may be used, edited and used for all purposes without naming the author. Often this is at the expense of quality.