The world of copyright is a confusing one—especially in the stock media industry. Can I use this video clip commercially? If so, how many times? One wrong step and a copyright infringement could turn into a nasty lawsuit. That’s why it’s important to understand the ins and outs of copyright and licensing. Of course, we could write a whole book about the dos and don’ts and whys or why nots—in fact, we have—but let’s keep this sweet and simple by explaining what copyright is and what royalty free means.


What Is a Copyright?

A copyright is the exclusive right of an individual to publish, copy, print, or otherwise exploit his or her own original work. Copyrights are naturally granted whenever a physical form of the intellectual work is produced. So whenever you go out and film something, you have immediate copyright protection for that clip. However, registering the work with the Federal Copyright Registry cements your copyright and further protects your work should any discrepancies arise.


What Does Royalty Free Mean?

Royalty Free is a licensing agreement that grants an individual the right to use a copyrighted work multiple times without many restrictions after a one-time payment. So whenever you purchase and download royalty free stock footage, it’s yours to use whenever you want. If you’re still confused, or you just don’t like reading, then check out the video below. It further explains the meaning of royalty free with royalty free footage.


A royalty free licensing agreement is definitely your best option when it comes to stock footage. If you want to learn more about our licensing terms, check out our licensing FAQ—or download our free eBook, the Field Guide to Film Rights. No more questions? Browse our library and see what you can create with our royalty free stock footage.


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