Pardon the interruption in creating but I’ve got to hop onto my soapbox for just a few minutes.
When I started stamping back in the dark ages red rubber was all you had, conventions were two day affairs,rubber pits were fun and the term Angel Policy was in it’s infancy. I was immediately drawn to the companies that had an Angel Policy, they believed that once I bought the stamp, what I did with it was my business as long as I wasn’t using mechanical means to reproduce it, times were simpler back then. The Angel Company had one of the most generous Angel policies around, that along with their images and company view led me to be an Angel with them for over a decade. Mischelle believed that you shouldn’t put limits on peoples creativity or their ability to share their passion for creating.
I don’t even remember what led me to look at Digital Stamps, probably someone’s blog, but I did look and found some that I really liked. So we decided to have a lazy Sunday and I decided to visit the digital stamp world and I found a site that listed the Top 100 Digital Image sites. I started clicking through and found lots of places that had potential for me to shop from. I noticed a badge on one of these sites that said Stamp Out Stamp Thieves, I clicked because I had no idea what they were talking about.
There is a group of designers that feel very strongly about this and to an extent I applaud them, but a very small extent. Yes I believe it is illegal to take someone else’s work as it is and resell it, be that in a collection online, on a cd, or 100’s of printed copies. That however is where my support ends. You see some say that I can’t share their stamped/printed image with my friends, that I can’t use that stamped/printed image in an image swap. I wanted to believe that the term ‘sharing’ was meant sending a digital file to someone, but one went so far as to say that I couldn’t share a physical stamp. Another goes on to say that it’s “ok to let your kids or even nieces and nephews come over and stamp/use the images but not your friends” are you kidding me? My jaw literally dropped when I read that I wasn’t allowed to resell the stamp (NOT digital image) when I no longer wanted it. Wait. What? Now you’re telling me what I can do with something when I don’t want it anymore???
As I said, I started stamping in the dark ages and I have taken part in more image swaps then I can count. We would stamp out 10 images on cardstock, write the name of the stamp and who made it on the back and send them off. We get back 10 different images for the cost of a SASE and we’d get to try new images that maybe we’d never seen, or maybe in a style totally different from what we typically used. I can’t count the number of stamps that swaps like that led me to buy, the new companies that I was introduced too. How about all the times my friends and even my mom have come over to stamp? We’ve sat at my dinning room table, stamps scattered all over using this image and that to make cards with. Then later going in search of a stamp that so and so had because now we just have to have it. What about the classes that I’ve taken (and taught) using the stamps in those? The teacher/store/myself using pre-stamped images to teach a technique to 10 or more people at a time, or allowing a class to stamp extras to take home? At one time I made card kits for kids and new stampers, a collection of papers cut to size and a single image and sentiment so that they could assemble the cards themselves. All of what I’ve just mentioned is illegal according to some Angel Policies I read, all of it is a violation of a copyright.
Copyrights are a slippery slope and some of these folks are sliding down that slope at a great speed. I get that they want to protect what they’ve created I really do. I also get that there are dishonest people out there that are going to do things to make money off someone else’s hard work. I don’t know the answer to stopping it, but this isn’t it.
How a consumer choose to use a product once it’s been purchased is not something that anyone can easily control. Are there going to be stamping police now that come and drag people off to court because..Gasp! They shared 30 stamped/printed images with a group of senior citizens? Will they show up at a Church to arrest the person who brought in stacks of different images for the kids in Wee Praise to color? Will the Postal Inspector start running thick envelopes through a special filter searching for image swap violators? Will the aftermarket patrol come take me away for selling the used stamps I no longer want? Do these designers really want to spend their hard earned money taking people to court because they let a table full of friends color one of their images?
These types of addendums to so called Angel Policies have stopped me dead in my tracks from buying their stamps or digital images. Is that the result they were looking for I wonder? Their images will never been seen on my blog, I’ll never tell anyone that “such and such” has exactly what you are looking for. I’ll never say you really need to check out “so and so”. Never. Why you wonder? Simple answer, I like to SHARE my stamps, my images, my passion, my joy of this hobby with others. I like to teach other people how to stamp, to color, to emboss. I love seeing someone’s face the first time they heat set embossing powder. I love seeing the happiness in a child’s face when they’ve just finished coloring an image and attaching it to a card. I don’t expect someone to come to my house with all of their supplies especially if they are a new stamper or have never stamped so they are going to SHARE my stamps and images with me. Those stamps, those images are going to be from designers and companies that have true Angel Policies and that aren’t trying to dictate to me the use of a product once it’s purchased and in my hands. I don’t make money from this, I’m SHARING something, which is what I was taught in kindergarten to do!
If nothing else remember this; be very mindful of the “Angel Policy” that any company/designer claims to have. Read it carefully and know what you are getting when you purchase their stamps/digital images…
I’m taking a Copic class (finally) tomorrow night so I hope to have something delicious to SHARE!!!