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

What’s the difference between Royalty-Free and Rights Managed stock footage?

Quite often we’re asked to explain the difference between Rights Managed and Royalty-Free stock footage. So many editors are accustomed to purchasing under the Rights Managed model. However, Royalty-Free can be an economical alternative. Here’s a quick overview to help you decide which footage license fits best for your needs.

Rights Managed, or “traditional” stock footage licensing, is typically a per second fee based on specific use. When you’re ready to license a Rights Managed clip, you’ll be required to disclose the intended use of the clip, including medium and geographical venue, as well as the length of time your project will be displayed. For instance, if the footage is to be used in a regional television ad spot for a three-month period, the fee would be much less than if it was to be used in a worldwide campaign for a full year. Once this pre-determined period has ended, you’ll have the option of renewing the license, therefore extending the length of time you are able to run your campaign. Keep in mind that any changes you make to the usage of the clip will change the price of the license.

Royalty-Free stock footage licensing allows for much more freedom in usage. In the case of Artbeats royalty-free footage, pricing is the same for nearly every use. Once you pay the initial license fee, the footage can be used in a local spot, a worldwide television broadcast, even a feature film, with no additional costs. In addition to that, you retain the right to use the footage in future projects as well. There are a few limitations to using Artbeats royalty-free footage, particularly our Low-Res footage, so be sure to read the license agreement before purchasing any stock footage for your projects.

With any stock footage, whether Rights Managed or Royalty-Free, it’s important to understand that you’re not purchasing the actual footage, instead you’re purchasing a license to use the footage.