Licensing 101: Your guide to licensing royalty-free stock footage

Ever read the license agreement for a product and then thought, “Okay, so what does this mean? And how can I use the product?” We’ve taken the mystery out of the Artbeats license agreement for you. Following are seven of the most common questions about licensing our royalty-free stock footage, with plain, easy to understand answers.

1. What does royalty-free mean?

A. Let us start by saying royalty-free does not mean FREE. You will have to pay an up front fee to license our stock footage. However, once you pay that fee, you can use the footage in just about any broadcast or non-broadcast production, worldwide. Plus, you can use it over and over again, either in the same project or in a different project later without ever having to pay any other fees or royalties. (You’ll find this question covered in section “1. Definitions” of the Artbeats license agreement).

JFT-FH040-53 — image from Johner Motion

Want an example? You can buy a clip to use in a commercial spot that will be broadcast on television in Paris for one month. A year from now, you can use the same clip in a movie trailer that’s going to be broadcast on television and in theaters all over the world. You don’t have to tell Artbeats you’re using the clip again, and you don’t have to pay any additional fees. However, if you’d like to share your project with us, we’d enjoy seeing it.

2. How can I use the footage?

A. You can use Artbeats royalty-free footage in just about any broadcast or non-broadcast production including commercials, television shows, feature films, live events, music videos, corporate presentations, and so much more. You can change the color, crop the length, layer it with other footage and images, put it inside text, use it as a lower third, create a transition. Be creative! (Check out section “2. Grant of License” for more info on this topic).

Want an example? Just check out the cool video tutorials featured on our website.

3. You said I can use the footage in just about any production? What CAN’T I use the footage in?

A. Artbeats footage cannot be used in any production that is pornographic, defamatory, libelous, or illegal. (Section “4. Unauthorized Uses and Limitations, Paragraph 3” covers this topic in depth).

Want an example? If you’re making a movie, commercial, YouTube video or any other production that is going to make fun of or ridicule someone’s race or religion, don’t use stock footage to do it. Most stock footage companies are very strict about this.

4. Are there any limitations to how much footage I can use in my project?

A. That depends on your project. If you’re making a commercial or corporate presentation, there are no limits. However, if your final production is going to be sold, and you, your company, or your client is going to make money on it, then the Artbeats footage cannot comprise more than 25% of the total imagery used. (You’ll find more about this in section “4. Unauthorized Uses and Limitations, Paragraph 2”). A side note: In some cases, the Artbeats license agreement can be amended. Check out question #6 below for more info.

HUH? You need an example, right? You’re making a music video for your client that is 100 seconds long. The video is going to be sold on DVD, Blu-ray or as a digital download; only 25 seconds of that video can be Artbeats footage. The other 75 seconds must be footage or images from other sources.

5. Once I pay for the footage, do I own it? Can I sell it or let someone else use it?

A. What you’re paying for is the license to use the footage. You don’t own the rights to the footage. You can use the footage in your projects or your client’s projects, but you can’t sell it, give it away, auction it off on eBay, or share it with anyone else in any way. (Sections “3. Ownership” and “4. Unauthorized Uses and Limitations, Paragraph 1” will tell you all you need to know about this subject).

6. Can the Artbeats license agreement be changed or can I get special licensing?

A. In some cases, our royalty-free license can be amended to fit your company’s requirements. Not all sections can be changed, so you’ll need to contact our licensing department to discuss it. Please be aware that there is a fee for amending our license agreement, which will be charged in addition to the price of the footage. (Contact if you’d like to learn more about changing our license or getting special licensing).

7. Can my colleagues and I all have access to the same footage on multiple workstations?

A. Artbeats clips can only be used by one person at a time. If you want multiple people to have access to use the clip at the same time, you’ll need to purchase a multi-seat site license for the clip. The cost of this will vary depending on the number of site licenses you need. (See section “2. Grant of License, Single User License” for more info on this).

Have a question we didn’t answer? Still not clear on something we said? We’d like to hear from you. Post your questions/comments here on the blog, or email us direct at

Free After Effects Video Tutorial by Eran Stern “Sunset Model”

By Eran Stern,

Eran creates a teaser for an upcoming reality show using footage from the Rubberball, Glamour Key and Aqua Geo Graphic libraries on He has incorporated plug ins from Mettle, GenArts and Red Giant Software, with some tricks in After Effects, to create this fun, fresh piece.

Watch the complete Sunset Model Video Tutorial and download the project files!