When you work on a creative project like a commercial catalog or a video ad, you would look to add some dynamic stock imagery and b-roll to your project. While searching for the ideal visual asset on your stock library, you may stumble upon the caption “Editorial Use Only” under some images or videos. What does it mean? Let’s talk about stock assets marked for editorial use: what they are and how you can use them in your projects.
What is “Editorial Use Only”?
You should know that images and videos marked as “Editorial Use Only” cannot be used to promote a product or service or make money. Why is that? Usually, it is because the people, properties, or brands in the video or image did not give permission to use them in a commercial way.
If you use such images or videos in your projects, you may face legal action. Without proper releases and permissions, the entire final product like your ad or brochure may be taken down and pulled from distribition.
Why License “Editorial Use Only” Assets?
You may ask why license Editorial Only if there are so many restrictions? Well, not everything is that bad. For example, when you create a magazine cover or you work on a documentary, you can use editorial only images or video clips for this purpose.
In other words, you may want to license an “editorial use only” image or video because you want to use it for a specific non-commercial purpose that falls under editorial use, such as illustrating a news article, a school project, or a personal blog.
Why else would you want to license an editorial only asset? Such images and videos are often less expensive than those that are available for commercial use. This is again because the people and properties did not give permission for commercial use, which makes such creative assets less valuable to a commercial user.
Most Popular Editorial Use Cases
There are several popular use cases for editorial content. The most popular use cases are in the news and media industry where they are used to illustrate news articles, broadcasts, and documentaries. So journalists and bloggers also use them to illustrate stories, articles, and posts.
Educational materials, such as textbooks, presentations, and training materials are another popular field for editorial only media. Students and educators use such images and videos for school projects, research and personal blogs.
Sometimes, museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions may use editorial only images and videos to display them in exhibitions, galleries, and other non-commercial contexts.
Let’s focus on some specific projects where editorial only images and videos are welcome (and allowed to be used).
News-style videos: You can use “editorial only” images and videos to create a news-style video that informs and educates your audience on a particular topic or issue. Who can enjoy that? This can be particularly useful for non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and other groups that want to raise awareness about a cause or issue.
Documentary-style videos: You can also use “editorial only” content to create a documentary-style video that tells a story and provides a deeper understanding of a particular topic or person. This can be useful for historians, researchers, and other professionals who want to share their knowledge and expertise with a wider audience.
Educational videos: “Editorial only” images and videos are great to create educational videos that teach a particular skill or subject. For example, you can create a video series that teaches people how to cook, how to repair a car, or how to do yoga.
Historical reenactments: You can also use “editorial only” images and videos to create historical reenactments. These can be used in educational videos or documentaries.
Personal blogs and vlogs: You can use “editorial only” images and videos in personal blogs and vlogs to illustrate your stories, articles, and posts.
Model Release Available
You may also come across images or videos that are marked “Model Released.” This is a different story now!
These images have recognizable faces of people in them, and the individuals have signed model release forms which are kept by your stock library. Because of this, you can use such images and footage for any purpose, as long as it falls within the license agreement. So, if the photo or video clip with people is marked “Model Released,” you can use it for your commercial project without any issues.
Difference between Editorial Only and Commercial Uses
At the end of our story, let’s spend some time talking about the main differences between Editorial Only and Commercial uses.
We already know that Editorial Use only is meant for non-commercial purposes.
On the opposite side, commercial use for images and footage refers to the use of these assets in any type of project or product that is intended to generate revenue or some other financial benefit. Here are some commercial use cases:
Advertising and marketing: Using images and footage in ad campaigns, billboards, brochures, flyers, websites, and other marketing materials.
Product packaging and branding: Using images and footage on packaging for products, such as food and beauty products, and on branding materials, such as business cards and letterheads.
Film, television, and video production: Using images and footage in feature films, television shows, music videos, and other types of video content that are intended for commercial distribution.
E-commerce: Using images and footage on e-commerce websites and in online product listings.
Video games, mobile apps and software: Using images and footage in video games, mobile apps, and software that are sold or licensed to users.
In contrast to editorial use, which is typically intended to inform or educate, commercial use is meant to promote a product, service, or brand and generate revenue. Therefore, the rights and permissions required for commercial use are often more extensive than those required for editorial use.
Let’s recap it all with a short comparison table: Editorial Only vs Commercial uses.
Understanding the use cases for Editorial Only media may help you save on licensing fees and add more value to you non-commercial project. Before licensing any Editorial Only assets on sites like Shutterstock, Pond5, 123RF, check the respective license and distribution agreements.