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Royalty Free Media
by Gisle Hannemyr (Oslo, Norway) Author, speaker, and consultant.
Teacher, researcher and lecturer at "Institute of Informatics at the University of Oslo".
Member of the "Norwegian Creative Commons working group".
The rights to use artistic works, including images and audio, come in four different flavours:
Rights managed: This means to you license the work for a one time use in a specific publications. If you want to use the same work again, you need to buy another license.
Royalty free: This means that you pay a one-time fee for the right to use the work as part of your own work. You can reuse the work as many times as you like without paying further royalties, but you are not allowed to sell or sublicense the work (only to use it as an illustration or sound-clip that accompany your own work).
Free (with restrictions): Some sites let you download and use works for free for non-commercial purposes, such as education. The restrictions that may apply may follow from legal concepts such as fair use (US), fair dealing (Commonwealth), or similar provisions in other jurisdictions. Thay may also be expressed through an explicit license, such as the six licenses that constitute the Creative Commons framework.
Zero restrictions: Some works are in the public domain, or all copyrights and neighbouring rights has been waived by the original author. This means that you can use the work for all purposes, including commercial. Creative Commons has created an experimental protocol, called CCzero, to make such works easier to locate on the Internet.
Note that the four “flavours” outlined above only concerns copyright. If the image depicts an recognisable person, that person has a legal right to privacy, and the use of their likeness for advertising typically requires that a model release must be obtained before using the image.
Gisle Hannemyr is an independent author, speaker, and consultant on Internet usability and design. He is currently teaching and pursuing resarch interests at Institute of Informatics at the University of Oslo, where he is a lecturer (lektor). He is also a member of the Norwegian Creative Commons working group. His current research interests are power and democracy, e-commerce, computer security, computers and law, information architecture, distributed multimedia, standards and open systems, free software, open access, information infrastructure, and resource discovery in large information spaces. He has authored and contributed to several books about technology. His latest books are Hva er Internett (Universitetsforlaget 2005), and Sammensatte tekster (Cappelen Damm 2009).