Wednesday, January 21

Intellectual Property Rights, Angel Policies, etc.

I chanced upon a very interesting discussion in the message boards of SplitCoastStampers.  It's about angel policies of some scrapbooking/stamping/cardmaking product companies with regards to the usage of their products.  I know Stampin' Up has policies like this, but I never really knew that a lot of the other companies have policies as well until I read this thread.

But before I go on, I'd like to share with you the links to the policies of three big and very popular product companies:
I'd like to share with you my post in that discussion:
"Very interesting topic ladies I love this exchange of opinions and ideas. Here are some of mine, and they don't have copyrights

Reading through the angel policies posted in this thread, I can see that they do allow us to sell our craft items that were made using their products in small or local scale like that of craft shows or art fairs. When the product companies were writing these policies, I think they were pertaining to those who abuse their products through mass production and making huge profits out of it. Who among us from SCS alone has mass produced cards and made thousands of dollars, let's say, in one year? If and when I do sell cards, I'd be very happy to just get back what I paid for for the table or space I got in a craft show, which in my area would be $30.

Here's what I think:

- even if we sell our cards, the odds of us making a lot of money is very small. How many cards can one person make to earn at least hundreds of dollars? That's what I like about Wizard's policy because it's specifically stated that "Please do not mass-produce, allow production by hired workers or produce your work in assembly line fashion."

- I totally agree that our use of their products is free advertisement. Knowing each other, we tend to want what others have when it comes to this expensive hobby of ours. When I go to craft shows and see vendors who sell handmade cards, I like to know (and ask the vendor) a specific tool they used if I really like how it looked, and would definitely buy one for myself.

- Maybe this won't make sense, but when it comes to cardmaking for example, can anyone tell me the numbers/percentage between those who sell for a profit and those who sell for fun? Because if I will sell cards in a craft show, I'm doing it for fun And if there's a profit, it just goes back to the market to buy more tools and supplies for this hobby.

- I think a lot of people are giving a different meaning to Intellectual Property Rights. What I know about it is IPR is protection from those who steal somebody's ideas (creations of the mind) in the form of artwork, inventions, designs, etc (thus intellectual) for a profit through reproduction and adaptation. If I sell a card with an embossed background using a Cuttlebug folder and a colored stamped image from Inkadinkado, I don't think that's stealing from ProvoCraft or Inkadinkado. I created a card using tools and materials, and that Cuttlebug folder is a tool, among with the other tools that I used like the papercutter, stamp, scissors, punches, etc. Nestabilities dies are tools. Stamps are tools. The magazines and books classify them as tools. They do wear out or break but they are not consummable like glue, ink or paper. If they are not tools, what are they? Now, if I create an embossing folder that is exactly like any of the Cuttlebug folders, or create a scalloped oval that is exactly the same as that of Nestabilities and sell them, or re-package these products and put my own label on it, that is stealing and is, I believe, a violation of IPR. I don't see any difference with woodworkers who build and sell wonderful furniture and use special tools to give shape and texture to their chairs and tables, to us cardmakers who make cards and use special tools to make our cards look beautiful, and let's say, sell them. If we sell our cards, I don't consider that stealing from these wonderful companies. We paid for these tools for us to use and create with. And what we create using these tools are our creations. Provocraft, Wizard, Sizzix, Stampin' Up and all of these other companies created their products with tools too. Just like what CandyStripe said, we are just using these tools as a framework of our own creations. And I don't think selling our creations is selfish. I think it is selfish for these companies to tell us what to do with these products that we paid for with our hard earned money. You mean to tell me, it is ok to resell an already used Cuttlebug embossing folder for double the price on Ebay but it is not ok to sell a card created with a variety of tools and materials, including a Cuttlebug embossing folder for a 50 cent profit?

- I also agree that it is a different story if we sell embossed card fronts of Cuttlebug or stamped images of Stampin' Up, CTMH or any other stamp companies, or renaming a digital scrapbooking element file and selling it as your own. Because there is no creativity involved in there. You didn't create. You just reproduced, or shall we say, mass produced these items. I consider it the same as photocopying an artwork and selling them. Or burning multiple copies of Beyonce's CD and selling them. That is piracy. And that is selfish.

- However, if it is written and supported by law, as stated by these companies' policies, we do have to abide by it. Come to think of it, why don't these companies print these specific policies in their packaging so the buyers can be aware of it. Not all people who buy these products go to the official websites to read legalities and stuff. Very few people do. I myself haven't read any of these policies until chancing upon this thread. (I know I just said what CandyStripe said in her post, but I just wanted to say it again.)

- Can anyone tell me if there has been a single cardmaker like us, who has sold some cards, made a few dollars profit, and were sued by these companies?

- What about the other countries who are actually pirating these products because the scrapbooking/stamping/card making tools that are available here in the US are really hard to get from their end? Those products that are actually made in China for example, don't you think that they are not being repackaged and sold elsewhere? What about the crafters from outside the US who sell their creations using these tools, whose country's currency value is a lot lesser than the US dollar?

Thank you ladies for a very interesting and healthy discussion. I'm looking forward to more of what you think "

What do you think?
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