OK I'm one of those people who would like to think the world is all full of blooming flowers, happy puppies and kittens and that rain is only there to provide a drink - yes I'm an optimist and would like to think the world is a happy loving place. Sadly some days this is just not entirely true.
I came across a YouTube clip today (via Facebook) where a fellow crafter was having her say on a topic close to her heart, ie: what we are allowed to do with the rubber stamps we have purchased. There was some discussion about Angel Policies and Digi stamps, restrictions, legal issues, and some comments about sharing our work using stamps. There were also some comments about some companies not allowing crafters to post cards using their images on their own blogs, colour them in, feature them in YouTube clips etc. I watched the whole clip and was slightly confused (happens often) as one of the companies mentioned as having a super restrictive policy and who were really slammed was La-La Land stamps.
Now let me say up front I am not now and have not previously been affiliated with La-La Land stamps, in fact I only bought my first La-La stamps last month and have only previously used them during my Copic classes (I couldn't resist the new ones with the little animal hats - sue me!). So no hidden agenda or hidden promotions here! All I can tell you is my own personal experience with this company. I recently posted a tutorial on a blog I work for, using a La-La Land stamp, I was so pleased with how it turned out I posted a link to the La-La Land Facebook group to share. Now I had images of the stamp, photos of my tutorial etc all up online for the whole world to see and what happened? I received an email from Irina (the owner of La-La Land) who mentioned it was a great tutorial and would I mind adding a watermark to the final image saying it was from La-La Land (in retrospect an excellent idea in case people are doing image searches and didn't see the full post, perhaps something I should do more often with my own stuff as well!). I wasn't asked to remove it, I wasn't berated for posting online and I wasn't having my artistic freedoms restricted. BUT after listening to the clip I was mighty concerned as I'm currently working on the video clip of this tutorial to post onto YouTube. So I quickly sent an email to Irina to check what La-La Land considers fair use of their stamps, this is the list that came back:
- Yes, you can use our images in your videos!! (I'm thinking this also goes for blogs since I already did that no problem)
- Yes, you can make cards with our stamps!!
- Yes, you can sell the cards that are made with our stamps!!
- Yes, you can use our stamps in your classes and give each person a stamped image to work on during the class!!
- Yes, you can share our stamps with your friends when you have a get together!!
Now I may be alone, but that covers all the things I've pretty much ever wanted to do with a stamp - including sharing with friends who came oer for a play date. For me this seems pretty reasonable. Irina went on to mention that the one thing they would prefer didn't happen is mass image swaps, where for example one person stamps an image say 3 times for each member participating in the swap - it could be 10 people or 100 people - you can see the info on this here or of course outright theft - theft of the image and reselling it as yours or stamping it out and selling it as a 'stamped image', not a money making idea that's ever crossed my mind - so I was suprised to hear it's quite common.
At this point I became a little upset, I like to save money on some things as much as the next person (so I can spend it on other things!) but to see a company slammed for something that wasn't correct really upsets me. Even more so, as I know a few stamp artists and manufacturers personally and was shocked by how little these guys make from their art and their stamps - seriously, I thought someone who designed and manufactured their own range of internationally known and sold stamps would be pretty OK - the lady I'm talking about (well ladies really as I've heard the same thing from multiple people) have do do EVERYTHING themselves right down to the packing and trundling to the Post Office just to stay in business - my face must have been funny to see when I found out I swear my jaw hit the ground! I hadn't realised how much EVERY sale means to these dedicated crafters and the fact that they walk such a fine line to stay in business.
Not sure about anyone else, but I've noticed quite a few stamp companies in the last 12 months close their doors for good, including places I thought would never have money troubles as they seemed so popular. It would be a huge shame to see these amazing and creative people hurt or worse, have to close, because the
people who love their images weren't supporting them. If you love something enough to want to use it please purchase it, unmounted stamps are incredibly available now, as opposed to a few years ago and even digital stamps are now out there and again, most are really reasonably priced. I would hate to see these amazing companies closing because 'we' the crafters using them were trying to save $3 on an unmounted stamp.
So crafters PLEASE if you are reading this support the stamp companies we love so much and keep them in business and creating fabulous new designs to inspire our creativity.
You can check the policies of a few different companies here, but as I said before, please contact the individual company if confused, sometimes the policies sound worse than they are.
Sparkly hugs and off my soapbox,