Payments, donations and tax

This image library is primarily intended to facilitate the free sharing of environmental and social justice images amongst civil society. However, it can also be used by activist photographers who want to sell their images to better resourced civil society organisations and other media buyers. We charge a commission for this, just like any other image library, but this commission helps us to maintain the site and provide free resources to those that cannot afford them. (Critical Information Collective is a not-for-profit 'Community Interest Company' under UK law and any income is reinvested).

Buyers: the cost of accessing images

Any image with a Creative Commons licence is of course free. But please don't forget, you are still required to abide by the terms of the particular Creative Commons licence option chosen by the photographer.

'Under-resourced' Civil Society Members (CSMs) registered with us also enjoy 'enhanced access'. This means they can also access all our Royalty Free images for free. Because of the software we use, this will be in the form of a 100% discount. Please note that you still need to check and abide by the terms of the licence associated with each image.

If you are a medium or large civil society organisation with access to reasonable funding we ask you to consider yourself an 'Other Media Buyer', along with the media, academia, publishing houses etc. Please bear in mind that CIC is itself a small under-resourced civil society organisation, and the prices charged for our Royalty Free images are very reasonable. Please note that all for-profit organisations and large educational establishments should register as 'Other Media Buyers' too.

Other Media Buyers can purchase credits for use when paying for images that are licensed as Royalty Free (RF) or Rights Managed (RM). 

The cost of RF images varies according to size. The cost of RM images varies according to both size and usage. We have a default set of rates for RM images, but the photographer may use different rates if they wish. Media buyers need to use the 'Request a Quote' icon just above RM image to get a quote.

We accept payments via Paypal and Moneybookers. This is to try and avoid problems associated with credit card fraud.

Photographers: payments for uploaded images

We want to encourage activist photographers, both amateur and professional, to share or sell good quality campaign-related images with other people around the world. You can share your images freely using the Creative Commons licensing options.

However, if you decide you would like to try and generate some income from your images, you can opt for a Royalty Free (RF) or Rights Managed (RM) licence (for more details see our 'Choosing licences and releases' page). If you choose the RF option, we ask you to allow our registered Civil Society Members (CSMs) to access your Royalty Free images for free. Other buyers are still asked to pay for them, so you can still generate some income for yourself or your organisation.

You can also choose a Rights Managed Licence which gives you more control over how your image is used, and will generate income from each download (how much depends who is buying your image and for what purpose). We have a default set of rates for RM images but you may set rates at whatever level you want to (please see the Photographers' Information page in the Photographer Login/Management Area for more information about how to do this).

We charge a 50% commission (as is standard practice in microstock libraries). If you wish to donate the rest to CIC that's also very welcome! You can do that by contacting us on and letting us know, or by using the 'Donate' button here. Please note we are a not-for-profit organisation and any income generated helps us to maintain the site and provide free resources to those who cannot afford to pay for them.

We operate a payment threshold system, because of the cost of international financial transfers. You can apply for a transfer once your income threshold has reached the equivalent of £50. We make payments by Paypal and Moneybookers.


We are also legally required to withold tax from income arising in the UK, at a rate of 20%. This tax is paid to HM Revenue & Customs.

If you are an individual based in the EU you should include information about the fact that the tax has already been paid in your annual tax return.

If you are an individual based outside the EU and your country has signed a double taxation treaty with the UK, you can claim this tax back if you are a non-tax payer, or you can request 'tax relief at source'. This means we do not have to withhold the 20% when we make payments to you. You can do either of these by completing HMRC's 'DT/Individual' form and submitting it to the tax authority in your own jurisdiction. If you are a company, you need 'DT/company'. Please let us know.

You can find a list of countries that have signed Double Taxation treaties with the UK here. Please note, however, that if you are in any of the following countries you need to complete your country's dedicated form - Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the USA.


We are always grateful for donations, whether they are from media buyers, photographers, or others. Running an image library is resource intensive and we appreciate your support.

You can find a Paypal donate button at the bottom of our main home page for general donations.

Thank you!