How a DAM helps you overcome image licensing challenges

Image licensing can be a headache for large organisations. When you have lots of roles across multiple sites using hundreds – even thousands – of images, licensing challenges probably feel inevitable. After all, you must only use images according to the terms of their license. And there are lots of different licenses, each with their own terms.

These challenges aren’t inevitable, though. You can streamline a seemingly daunting task with the right Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. It makes managing image licensing easy and headache-free.

And these benefits are about more than pain relief. If you continue to use assets when you no longer own the rights, it can lead to trouble. You could damage important working relationships with licensors, incur fines, or negatively impact your organisation’s reputation.

So, we’re going to look at how a DAM system can help. And to start, we’re going to break down the different types of image licenses you might need to manage.

The different types of image licenses


You can purchase images you find on sites like UnsplashGetty Images and other stock image websites with a royalty-free license. You pay a one-off fee and can use them for as long as you want, as many times as you want. You never need to renew the license, and you don’t have to attribute the images to anyone.

Royalty-free images are often a low-cost option. Keep in mind, though; they can come with commercial usage restrictions. For example, you may not be able to use them on products or logo designs.

Creative Commons

If an image is available with a Creative Commons licence, you don’t need to pay to use it. You can use it often as you like, for as long as you like, as you would with a royalty-free image. Unlike royalty-free images, you must credit the photographer, designer or organisation that created the image. The creator retains the copyright. They’re simply allowing others to use it.

Creative Commons images are free, but that doesn’t mean you’re free to use them however you like. They often come with commercial usage restrictions—a breach of the terms can result in the image owner seeking damages.

Rights enhanced

This is a middle ground between royalty-free and rights managed images. Rights enhanced image licences grant users additional rights beyond the restrictions of a royalty-free license. In other words, if you’d like to place an image on a product or use it for other commercial purposes, you probably need to buy a rights enhanced license.

That said, rights enhanced images often still come with some restrictions. So always check the terms of your license before use and distribution.

Rights managed

A rights managed license lets you use an image for one use for a set amount of time, and you must renew it when it expires. You need to purchase additional licenses if you want to use the image anywhere other than the place specified when you bought the license.

How a DAM makes image license management easy

Even if most of the images you’re dealing with are royalty-free or Creative Commons, usage restrictions will vary from one licensor to another. The right software lets you keep track of the assets at your disposal, providing everyone with access to the images they need and the licensing information to ensure correct usage.

You could use any cloud storage solution to store images centrally, but most won’t include functionality to help manage image licensing. For that, you need a digital asset management system.

ResourceSpace provides such a hub, for centralised web-based access, along with many other benefits that make image licensing issues a thing of the past. These include:

License manager

Whenever you upload an image to a DAM, it can prompt you to record all relevant licensing information, such as the licensor, expiry date, and usage medium. If you need to attribute that image, you can add those details too.

Everyone uploads the assets they purchase to one central system – individually or in bulk - using the same easy process. The information is present for every image, any time anyone in the organisation uses it.

And you need only input the license details once. Licenses can be easily linked to multiple resources by entering the relevant resource IDs.


DAMs can also monitor expiry dates, so you don’t have to worry about using an image beyond the licensing period. You filled in the expiry date when you uploaded the resource, so you’ll receive an alert when it’s time to source new imagery or renew that license.

You will also receive a notification when a team member requests access to permissions-protected images, so you can review their request before deciding whether to grant access.

Version control

You can’t accidentally delete or overwrite assets, but you can easily replace old or unlicensed files with the latest version. And, if you change your mind about an action, it’s simple to undo using the revert process. You can also restrict access to out-of-date images.

Great for your brand as well as licence management, version control ensures campaigns always feature the most up-to-date design elements and imagery.

Access management

The right DAM prevents users from accessing and using images they don’t have the right to use. This is true for both internal and external parties.

You control access, reducing any possibility of incorrect or unlicensed usage. Set roles-based permissions by image or license, and should someone need an image they don’t have permission for, they must request access from an administrator.

Overcome a multitude of image licensing challenges in one leap

The prospect of changing your approach to image management is daunting; we understand that. But not implementing a DAM system that meets your needs can mean ongoing issues. And migrating to a DAM is easier than you might think.

You can launch your own ResourceSpace for free in minutes. But to take the stress out of managing licenses, why not talk to one of our experts? Working with us means we can help you set up the notifications and workflows you need for your organisation. Get in touch today to find out more.