Is your stock media company ripping you off?

For Businesses
January 19, 2023

Is your stock media company ripping you off?


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Here’s a scenario that might sound familiar: Your team is wrapping up a video project, but it’s not quite done yet. There’s that one scene that lingers just a little too long. All it needs is a quick b-roll cutaway, and then you can finally ship it. No problem. Your video editor can just download a clip from your stock media company and never think about it again, right? 

Nope. That really should be the case, but in reality licensing and pricing negotiations slow the creative process to a halt. 

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That’s because when you buy stock media, you’re not just downloading a media file. You’re getting the asset and a license. And that license includes a set of rules, terms, and conditions about how, when, and where you can use the asset. That’s where things usually get complicated. Those rules can vary widely from one stock media company to the next — and even across different assets within a stock media company’s library. 

That right there is the problem: The fine print can wind up costing you in more ways than one.

Cutting through the stock media company red tape

At Storyblocks, we chose to disrupt the entire industry by reimagining the old stock media company licensing model. See, we’re more than just a stock media company. Storyblocks is a video production platform on a mission to change up the way creators use and distribute video for the better. We provide unlimited subscriptions that give everyone, regardless of skill level, all the tools they need for rapid video creation (including our curated library of high-quality stock video). 

Everything about our platform is designed to support your entire video strategy and help you achieve your business goals. And video marketing has driven our own business growth, so we understand the creative process inside and out. That’s why we empower your team to focus on creativity and scaling video production, while others bog you down in legal jargon and nickel-and-dime you on fees. 

The traditional way of doing things stifles creativity. Don’t believe it? Let’s try a quick thought exercise. Imagine for a moment what your ideal creative process might look like. 

Seriously, we’ll wait. Take just a few seconds to mull over what complete creative control means to you. 

Here’s a relaxing video clip you can watch while you think about it:

Download this clip from Storyblocks

All set? Cool. If you’re like us, you imagined a process that includes collaboration among team members, creative experimentation, coordinated production, and a stunning end product. Complex paperwork, legal red tape, and endless media usage fees? Yeah, those things didn’t find their way into our fantasy, either. 

Your stock media company doesn’t support your ideal creative process

Forcing video experts to work with whatever media is available to them while navigating multiple restrictive, costly licenses just to download a single stock asset — that isn’t anyone’s definition of “creative control.” But that’s what traditional stock media companies make you do.

The Storyblocks business license bucks that trend. We designed our license with real creative workflows in mind, to make stock work for you and your team. It’s straightforward and unlimited, and it provides easy access to millions of 100% royalty-free assets that you can use however and wherever you want.

Let’s do a quick comparison:

What your stock media company doesn’t want you to know about their licensing

You’ll need to navigate complex pre-negotiations over cost and usage

Most stock companies make you figure out where and how you’ll use each download before you even launch your campaign. Then, they charge you based on your estimated use cases, channels, and distribution volume. Unless you’re some kind of fortune teller, you’ll basically have to negotiate against yourself based on nothing but gut instinct. And that means you’ll often wind up paying for more coverage than you may actually need. 

Worse yet, your in-house creative expert will have to spend valuable time jumping through administrative hoops, instead of doing what they do best — creating videos.

Risky restrictions can get you into legal trouble

Certain stock media companies might appear to offer low prices for their footage, but beware of the fine print. They often hide major usage restrictions deep in their creative commons or commercial use licenses.

Did you know that virtually all creative commons licenses prohibit you from using any content for commercial purposes if it features people in it? Their terms and conditions can go as far as restricting the use of people’s likenesses in any advertising. If you get it wrong and use an unlicensed asset, that can drop your company (or even a member of your team) in legal hot water. That’s a lot of risk to take on — and that risk only increases as your video gets more views.

Using an online video editor that integrates stock media libraries from other providers can further complicate matters. In that case, you’ll also need to get familiar with the terms and conditions set out in their end user licensing agreement, too.

Rights-managed stock can make your costs impossible to predict

A typical legacy stock media company may offer “rights-managed licenses” for exclusive use of their assets over a limited time period. That means restrictions on time, geography, and usage — unlike royalty-free stock. If you want to expand your use of a rights-managed asset beyond those restrictions, you’ll need a new license (and more budget) for every new use case. As you can imagine, this is a nightmare for creatives who are just trying to produce their best work.

As if that isn’t bad enough, many providers will charge you more based on a stock media asset’s perceived quality. So, factors like resolution (4K or HD), technology (RED cameras, aerial footage, or 3D), and even the artist’s popularity could all result in up-charges. That means, you’ll need to spend time checking out the pricing tiers for each asset before you get your heart set on that perfect shot.

The only reason your team even needs a time-consuming rights-approval process is because traditional stock media companies sell content and licensing one asset at a time. That’s why Storyblocks takes a different approach.

How Storyblocks is different than your stock media company

The most generous license in the industry

The Storyblocks business license provides industry-leading coverage that’s written to your business, instead of an individual member of your team. It includes unlimited distribution, $1M USD in indemnification, perpetual coverage, and more.

We call it unlimited, and it really is. That means any content you or your team creates for print or digital using Storyblocks is yours to keep and share anywhere in the world, on any channel. No restrictions, no limit on views, and no extra fees. Simple.

Our indemnification is significantly more generous than all other stock media providers, too. Indemnification is basically an insurance policy for your commercial use on a licensed stock asset. We provide businesses with one million dollars in indemnification, compared to the industry average of offer $20K USD. Traditional stock media companies charge $150-300 per asset for that level of coverage.

We also license our assets to your business, along with legal coverage and usage rights for all of your team’s seat holders. On the other hand, legacy providers just license theirs to an individual on your team (which can expose you or your team members to potential legal action). Your creatives can even share Storyblocks downloads with others across the team, department, or your entire company, depending on the number of teams on your plan.

Clear-cut and straightforward for your legal teams

This all might sound a bit too good to be true to your lawyers. After all, we just went over how tricky and complex licensing can be. But it’s the real deal. Just ask someone on your legal or compliance team to have a look at our business license. If they’ve ever reviewed other stock media licenses before, they’ll understand why Storyblocks is the industry leader.

Free your team from endless administrative nonsense

Nothing puts a damper on creative spirits quite like having to choose stock media based on rights restrictions. Even worse, slow processes and missed deadlines can derail a video strategy faster than you can say “creative commons license.” Don’t let these things limit your team for one more day.

Storyblocks wants to give you the freedom to blow up your rights-approval process, and take back all the time and productivity it’s sucked away from your team. Now that’s complete creative freedom.

You have the power to take back creative control from administrative hassles, unpredictable creative budgets, and usage permissions with Storyblocks, too. Get in touch today to find out how our unlimited approach empowers creatives to focus on creating again.

Ready to set your team free?

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Jeff May

Jeff is the director of content marketing at Storyblocks. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and four guitars. When he's not contemplating category creation, thought leadership, or the merits of gated content, he enjoys going to rock concerts, cooking homemade soups, and watching Big East basketball. If you really want to get Jeff fired up, ask him for his thoughts on the Oxford comma.


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