I know there are a few of you out there who are interested in using stamps in your ceramic bead making, be it ones you make yourself or commercial stamps. Now seems a good time to talk about copyright and the use of commercial stamps. That’s where the angels come in. Pretty much all commercial stamps can be used as many times as you like for personal use. But when you go to sell your work that has used a commercial stamp in its making, you need to check to see if the company who made the stamp has an “angel policy.” Because in most cases these are copyrighted images.
What’s an angel policy? Basically, it refers to a company’s policy on using stamps for products that you make to sell. A lot of companies will issue you a limited license, that you pay for, to use their products commercially. Others won’t let you use them at all for commercial work. Then there are the angels out there who let you use their stamps as many times as you like. And when you sell your work you have become commercial. Doesn’t matter where you sell, online, craft fairs, church bazaar, it’s commercial. There is a huge amount of variation from company to company. So to save yourself potential headaches, check them out first. Just go to the internet and search for the company who makes the stamp you are interested in. Usually, there will be some sort of statement about conditions of use of their products.
I don’t use a lot of stamps in my clay work but if I did, I’d start with the companies with angel policies. About.com: Rubber Stamping has a long list of companies that have angel policies. Here’s the link.
Reading this I feel like I got my mom voice out. Hope it doesn’t sound like that to you. I know those big companies out there don’t seem real personal. But the images used on commercial stamps are made by artists who support themselves making art. It’s a bit about respecting creativity. And just one more little thing. If you use an image in your work from a company with an angel policy, it’s polite, and a courtesy, to acknowledge the source of the art work. Really loud mom voice there!
Photos of angels in ceramics are from the artists. You should be able to click the image if you'd like to see more of their work. Thank you!