Restricted Uses for Rights Managed Stock Photos

Just as with permitted uses, the restrictions on Rights Managed (RM) license vary from agency to agency, as each of them sets their own terms.

The following are general RM stock photos usage restrictions, common to most companies:

  • You cannot sublicense, transfer, distribute or gift the image or image rights to any third party – the licensed image can only be used by the person who purchased the license
  • You cannot display the image in digital format at high resolution (greater than 72dpi)
  • You cannot give other users access to download or copy the image as is – if you use the image in a website or other digital use, you must ensure third parties cannot “right-click” download nor copy the original image in any way.
  • Cannot use the image, or any part of the image, as part of a trademark, service mark, logo, etc. – as RM license does not transfer you the ownership of the image, you cannot use them in trademarked content or logos, because you cannot register copyrighted images as your property.
  • Photos with models cannot be used in a way that depicts them as endorsing a product or business, or in a way that may be considered offensive, without prior model consent – sensitive uses include but are not limited to pornographic or adult-related concepts, illegal activities, political propaganda, etc.
  • Cannot be used for illegal, malicious, pornographic, or defamatory purposes.
  • When used for Editorial purposes, the RM stock supplier and artist/photographer must be credited. – most agencies include a sample of their credit requirements in the license.
  • Other restrictions may be defined by individual stock companies.

It is important to understand that image copyright is NOT transferred with a rights managed license. All rights remain with the photographer who created the image.

It's also relevant to know that RM is a pey-per-use license, and the only rights allowed are the ones specified for your intended use. Any modification to that usage requires a new license, otherwise is unathorized, illegal use.

Make sure you always read the full license agreement carefully and understand all the terms, to make sure you're using the image in an accepted way.

Amos Struck
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