Many traditional rubber stamp companies have an angel policy. This clearly states what a customer can and cannot do with the rubber stamp. Typically, this outlines under what terms a stamper can sell work produced with a company's stamp. This may limit the number of items that can be sold that use a single image, request that credit is given, limit the outlets that products can be sold in and other more specific terms. See What is an Angel Policy and Companies with an Angel Policy for more detailed information about rubber stamping and angel policies. Most hobby stampers who create cards and other items purely for personal use are often not affected by these agreements. However people who make items to sell – even to raise money for charity – should ensure that they read the angel policy or license agreement before buying stamps.
Digital Stamps or Digi Stamps – Angel Policy and License Agreements
Angel policies or licenses also apply to digital stamps (see Digital Stamps for more information about these stamps). A customer typically purchases the right to use the image purchased, not own the copyright of the image. The copyright of an image generally remains with the artist or stamp company. When a customer buys a digital stamp, they are in effect buying a license to use that image. The angel policy or license agreement will clearly state how that image can be used.
Typical Terms of a Digital Stamp LicenseThere are some standard features of most digital stamp angel policies or license agreements. These include:
- No reselling of the images – most license agreements will state that the digital stamp images cannot be resold.
- Not for making stamps – most license agreements will state that the digital images cannot be used to make rubber or clear stamps.
- Tangible items – most license agreements will state that the images may be used to create tangible items such as handmade cards or scrapbook pages.
- Non transferable – many digital stamp companies state that digital stamps cannot be transferred to other people.
- Credit required – the license will state whether credit needs to be given or the artist's copyright information displayed.
- Commercial information – the license will also outline whether the digital stamps can be used to create items for sale. This will either be in the form of an angel policy or a commercial license.
- Other – other specific terms may be included depending on the company or artist.
Note: this does not imply that all licenses are the same, so do check each individual license before buying a digital stamp and ask the artist or company if you have any specific questions.
Angel policies and licensing agreements may seem confusing and daunting. Most hobby stampers who enjoy working with stamps and are not making items for sale are unlikely to ever need to worry about the small print. These agreements are in place to protect the artist from people illegally using their images and ultimately this helps to ensure a constant supply of great artwork for stampers to enjoy.