Last Updated: Mar 10, 2017
Websites often advertise "Royalty free" or "copyright free" music or audio-visual material.
Royalty Free refers to a contract between a licensor and licensee, licensing the rights to use content, such as music. For example, the licensee buys (it’s not free) the rights to use a specific piece of music in a certain way, without having to pay royalties on each additional use.
The licensor, usually the content creator, retains all copyright to the content, but waives any further economic advantage.
Copyright Free refers to works in the public domain, where the copyright has expired or has been waived by the creator.
A Creative Commons license enables the creator to retain certain aspects of their copyright and waive others, but allows for free distribution.
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