What Does Royalty-Free Mean — and What are the Benefits

When it comes to purchasing stock images, vectors, video footage, and other assets, there’s a lot of terminology to learn. In this post, we’ll explain what “royalty-free” means — and why it’s a good idea to buy royalty-free assets.

What’s a royalty?

Let’s start with the word “royalty.” When you use a copy of someone else’s art in your own work, you typically pay the artist a usage fee. That fee is called a royalty.

Royalties are common across many industries, with the music industry being a good example. Say an artist records a song and a company decides to use that song in a television commercial. Each time the commercial airs, the artist receives a royalty fee.

Another common term in asset licensing is “rights managed” or “RM.” When you buy a rights-managed asset, you may only use it one time versus multiple times and across multiple marketing channels.

What does it mean when an asset is royalty-free?

At this point you may be asking: “Why does Adobe Stock offer royalty-free assets? Doesn’t Adobe pay artists and creators a royalty?”

In today’s digital world, monitoring and paying for each and every use of an asset isn’t always feasible. However, Adobe believes that artists should be compensated any time someone uses their work. That’s why, when you buy an asset on Adobe Stock, Adobe pays the royalty fee to the artist or creator. And that makes the asset royalty-free for you!

The benefits of purchasing royalty-free assets

While it’s easy to download creative assets from the internet and use them in your work, it’s also illegal. Using copyrighted content without permission puts you at risk of legal consequences, and it doesn’t allow for fair compensation to the artist or creator.

By purchasing royalty-free assets, you can ensure that the artist is fairly compensated and that you have the legal right to use the assets. You can also keep costs low by using the same royalty-free asset in many places. For example, if you purchase an Adobe Stock image for your company, you can use it across your website, print materials, web banners, and more.

Flexible plans for royalty-free assets

Adobe Stock offers purchasing options to fit every need, from credit packs to a variety of subscription plans for individuals. You can also explore multiuser plans designed for small work teams and large enterprises.

Adobe Stock is natively integrated with Adobe Creative Cloud apps like Adobe Photoshop CC and InDesign CC, and it offers smart search functionality powered by Adobe Sensei AI technology.

Join Adobe Stock today, and access millions of high quality, curated, royalty-free images, videos, illustrations, vector graphics, 3D assets, and templates for all your creative needs.