What Does Royalty Free Mean To Your Business Exactly?

People get confused when the term royalty free is mentioned, you might ask yourself what you need a royalty free content for in your business

Living in a digital world where people use social media handles to boost their businesses or have an online presence, means you’ll likely need a picture or video to make a statement about your brand.

Visuals are rapidly replacing the conventional text in the world, especially online, you might be scared of using intellectual property or maybe confused about using it to avoid lawsuits, or you cannot afford the amount needed for brand packaging. 

In this article, I’ll be covering all you need to know about Royalty-Free for your business.

What is Royalty Free?

According to Wikipedia, Royalty Free material subject to copyright or other intellectual property rights may be used without the need to pay royalties or license fee for each use, per each copy, volume sold, or period of use

Royalty-Free simply means the right to use intellectual property or copyrighted work without paying royalties or license fees every time. It grants you the privilege of using certain types of intellectual property without having to pay for each use.

Royalty Free doesn’t mean you’re using content free of charge but you’re buying the right to use such content in a single, one-time purchase, the license confers the right to use the intellectual property without having to pay a fee for each use. 

How Can You Tell When Something Is Royalty Free?

To know if a content is royalty free most times solely depends on the platform you’re using to search for such a content. Many content selling sites have search filters that are meant for royalty free content.

If the platform you’re using doesn’t have provisions for a search filter, you can also lookout for a copyright notice. Some intellectual property owners also state if their contents are royalty free for people to use, but if you don’t see any of these, then such content is not available for free use.

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Does Royalty Free Mean Free For Commercial Use?

No! Royalty Free doesn’t mean that a content or intellectual property is free for commercial use, many intellectual property owners go as far as stating that their contents are not available for commercial use, especially one that has to do with buying and selling.

Even with a license, most royalty Free contents are not free for commercial use, unless you get a special license, especially when such contents are monetized. 

Before using a royalty free content for commercial use, kindly go through the owner’s terms of the agreement to know what is required of you.

Why Does Your Business Need To Know About Royalty Free Contents?

Your business might need a good content like photos, videos, etc. to use for a corporate presentation or advertisement, before selecting or downloading a content, always ensure that such content is royalty free.

If you’re using a copyrighted property, ensure that you pay the required percentage to the owner of that content to avoid legal actions taken against you. 

When you’re properly enlightened about royalty free, you’ll be able to differentiate a content that is royalty free and one that is not, besides it also ensures you don’t break any copyrighted property laws or rules.

Royalty Free helps avoid bad publicity to your business and a negative impact on your personality most especially your social media handles. 

People usually interchange the term royalty free for copyright free, these terms are not exactly the same as they deal with two separate licenses entirely.

You might not notice the difference between both terms but if you usually deal with intellectual property, it is ideal you know the difference to avoid the consequences associated with both.

Before noting the difference between both, let’s know the meaning of Copyright and Royalty.

Copyright grants individuals the right over intellectual properties they produced or created, example an art work. Each country has a different way of handling copyright but a general definition covers them.

It also grants individuals exclusive rights and time to use their Content to make money, other people are not allowed to copy the exact work of such individuals to avoid legal actions taken against them. Copyrights have time limit and they also expire.

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Royalty on the other hand is a payment given to the copyright owner each time their intellectual property is used. Copyright owners can lend or license their content out to other people in return for royalties. This doesn’t in anyway grant the second person total ownership of such work.

The difference between copyright free and royalty free are:

  • Copyright-free means content that was copyrighted but not anymore.
  • Once copyright expires, the owner can no longer sue anyone for using the same work or property
  • The type of intellectual property involved determines the exclusivity period and time duration


  • Royalty-free grants an individual the right to use any intellectual property after negotiating a deal involving a single payment or other terms with the copyright owner
  • Royalty free doesn’t grant you full ownership of the copyright or intellectual property, you’re only licensed to use it

What does Your Business Need Royalty Free Contents for?

Your business might need royalty-free content for advertisement, promotions, presentations, etc.

Below are few reasons why your business might need royalty-free content:

  • Social Media Ads
  • Boost Sales
  • In-Store Display
  • Business Presentation

1. Social Media Ads

When running a social media advertisement about your business or company, quality visual content is very important because you’ll be showing it to the world. 

Attractive royalty free content like images could get you a lot of clicks, likes, and shares.

2. Boost Sales

High quality contents that are very attractive says a whole lot about your business packaging, it attracts more customers, which triples your sales.

3. In Store Display

Attractive contents brings people to your products. That is, good packaging can always promote your business because people will not only admire your products but also patronize you.

4. Business Presentation

A well-organized content to liven up your storytelling slides especially with pictures at a business conference can get your clients interested in whatever you have to offer. Good visuals communicate a lot to people and kill the boredom associated with the conventional boring speech.

How to Make Use of Royalty Free Contents

Below are simple rules and guidelines applying to the use of royalty free contents:

  • Attribution (BY)
  • No Commercial use (NC)
  • No Modification (ND)
  • Sharing Under the same Condition (SA Share Alike)
  • Sharing Under the same Condition (SA Share Alike)
  • Zero (CCO)
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1. Attribution (BY)

Normally, most copyright-free contents require the attribution of the author’s credit to any place where such content will be used, but this doesn’t mean the owner endorses it.

2. No Commercial use (NC)

Most content you might need for future commercial use to boost your business might not be available for commercial use, always check the license to ensure your right of use.

3. No Modification (ND)

This simply means you don’t have any right whatsoever to change the content you’re about to use in anyway.

4. Sharing Under the same Condition (SA Share Alike)

Simply means that if you share a content using this license, you must leave it as the same license.

5. Zero (CCO)

This is the simplest license of all, which means that an intellectual property owner waives his right.

You can choose any of the licenses that best suits your business.


Royalty Free doesn’t mean you should use any content you see for your business, before using it, you’ll have to reach an agreement with the owner and then make a one-time payment after which you’re free to use it. 

You  use royalty free contents for commercial purposes except you get permission from the owner or you have a special license to use it, but if you’re not granted a permit, then do not use it to a kid getting a legal action filed against you, which could impact you and your business negatively.

Royalty Free doesn’t grant you the full right over a licensed property, you can use copyright-free contents without getting sued by the owner because they no longer have any right over it, but make sure such content is copyright free before using it.

The article above provides you with vital information about royalty free, I hope it helps you next time you want to use a Royalty Free content.


  • Smallbiztrends – What is Royalty Free and What Does it Mean for Your Small Business?
  • Dl Sounds – Copyright Free VS Royalty Free
  • Smedio.com – Should You Ever Use Royalty Free Content?
  • 8p-Design – Should You Ever Use Royalty Free Content?


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