Frequently asked questions: The basics

Frequently asked questions

Understanding the basics


What does Getty Images do?

Getty Images creates, distributes, and licences award-winning, royalty-free, stock photography; creative rights-managed images; editorial images; video; music and multimedia products. We do so through our various brands, including iStock and Thinkstock.

Copyright is a form of protection provided by law to the creators of original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. From the time an original work is created, it is automatically copyrighted. Copyrights are important because they enable creatives to earn their living by licencing their works. Learn more about copyright.

What does it mean to licence an image, a video, or music track?

When you “buy” content from Getty Images, you are actually purchasing a licence for the rights to use that content. The price of the content is based on the type of licence you choose and, in the case of rights-managed images and rights-ready footage, how you will use the content. Depending on who you identify as the “licencee,” either you (the purchaser) or someone else (3rd party individual or company, such as a client) will own the right to use the content as outlined in the licencing agreement. Read the full Getty Images Content Licence Agreement.

What genres of music tracks does Getty Images offer?

Getty Images Music has over 250,000 hand-selected tracks and sound effects gathered from talented artists and bands around the world and across a wide spectrum of genres and styles. All of our music tracks are pre-cleared for synch rights and ready for licensing for use in advertising, television, film and digital media. We offer royalty-free collections from the music catalogues of Sound Express, royaltyfreemusic.com and iStock audio, and rights-managed collections such as Pump Audio and Premium Playlist.

What is Prestige content?

Our Prestige content represents our best and most distinctive creative imagery. The unique content of Getty Images Prestige showcases our highest-quality rights-managed images with pricing determined by the usage of the photo including such factors as size, duration, placement, geographic distribution, and exclusivity. Search Prestige content.

What is the difference between creative stock and editorial images?

Creative stock images are trend-researched, art-directed and available for commercial use, though in some cases additional clearances may be required.

Editorial images include news, sports and entertainment images that show real-world people, places, events and things intended to be used only in connection with events that are newsworthy or of general interest (for example, in a blog, textbook, newspaper or magazine article).

Unlike creative stock images, editorial images have restrictions on their usage such as size, placement, duration of use and geographic distribution. In addition, editorial images don’t have model or property releases so you won’t be able to use these images for commercial, promotional, advertorial or endorsement purposes.  Please review the caption and restriction information provided with each editorial image to determine whether any restrictions apply.

Does royalty-free mean the asset can be used for free?

No. Royalty-free simply means that after purchasing your original licence, you don’t have to pay any additional royalties for any additional uses of a royalty-free asset — provided you comply with the licence terms, you have a perpetual licence to re-use the asset.

Why should I create a Getty Images account?

Once you’ve created a free account on our website, you can:

  • Access images you’ve saved to Boards using any device or browser.
  • View pricing in your local currency.
  • Receive updates about the newest imagery, visual trends and promotions.

How do I sell my images on the Getty Images website?

If you’d like to submit your work for sale with us, find out how to become a contributor.

What content sourcing options are available for non-profits?

If you are a non-profit, you can find photos you can use for free on these websites:

  • iStock
    Once you’ve created a free membership, you can download a free photo of the week. Members also get one free illustration, one free video, and one free audio clip every week.
  • Freeimages.com
    You can use photos for almost any purpose that isn’t defamatory, pornographic or illegal, as long as you follow the rules in the licence agreement.

In some cases, you may need to notify the artists about using their photos or include a photo credit for editorial uses. You can see these restrictions under the image previews, next to the Download button.


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