Saturday, January 22, 2011

Open Discussion on Image Swapping

In the comment section of another post, I received this today.  I think maybe this discussion is being lost in the comments, so I'm bringing it out here because it is very important:

"I am sorry to say that I don't agree with the reasoning behind the "don't let anyone else use your stamps" push. Rubber stamps and digital images are made to be reproduced more than once. We pay for the privelege of buying the stamp in order to use the images an unlimited amount of times. It doesn't matter if I use it myself, or my friend who comes to stamp with me on Saturday uses it. As far as I am concerned, it's the same as me buying a book written by a talented artist (Author) and lending it to the same friend when I have finished reading it. Is that against copyright too? Or, if I was to sell the book secondhand when I have finished with it, does that breach copyright? Are you saying that when I have had enough of my stamp (rubber or digital) that it is a breach of copyright to sell it to a new owner?
You made your money once- stop your money grabbing and let us crafters use the images that we paid for. You only drew it once, yet you are selling it a million times over- unlike the famous painters/artists that you compare yourself to, who made and sold one only of their famous images. Let's compare apples with apples if we are going to have a serious discussion here." LL

Well -- here's my response:
Hello there,

Do you buy a loaf of bread and run it through your printer so you can give copies to your neighbors?  Do you buy a chair and you and your best friends all sit in it at the same time?  Of course not.

Sorry if you don’t agree with the copyright policy on stamps, but you shouldn’t be buying them if you don’t intend to abide by them -- otherwise you’re opening yourself up for legal action.  It’s the law, and by simply possessing a piece of intellectual property owned by someone else (art, books, music, video games, movies . . .) you are assumed to have agreed to the policy.  If the owner thinks you are violating the policy by sharing or swapping or copying or selling . . . well, this web campaign is to tell you that there are a lot of artists/companies and a lot of true fans who do care and will keep their eye out for each other.

It is okay to lend someone your RUBBER stamp.  Just as with a physical book, you let someone take your stamp home and you must stop using it yourself for the time they are using it.   This is the same with a library . . . they purchase a certain number of physical copies of a book and that same number of people may be reading them at once . . . and even with Kindle, which is now allowing people to lend a digital book, but only for two weeks -- and it will be unavailable on your own Kindle while your friend is possessing it.

What you’re saying is more like -- “okay, I bought this book -- so I feel I can do WHATEVER what I want with it, so I’m going to scan it in and print it out and GIVE it to the the ten ladies in my reading group so they don’t have to buy it.”  Or let’s kick it up a notch.  How about, “Let’s do a digi swap --  Everyone who wants to join has to pick 5 of their favorite digis and email them to everyone else in the group -- that way, with the hundred of us participating, we’ll all get 500 free images!”

OR . . . let’s kick it up another notch . . . I found these digis on google search, I’m going to erase the watermarks and erase the artist’s signature, and I am going to put them in my Picasa album, and share the link here on my blog and on my LiveInternet page and on my LiveJournal page and all of you WORLDWIDE who would like to download 30 free images by Mo (or 20 by Whiff of Joy, or 5 by Stampavie, or 100 Magnolias) can go here and just grab them.”

Do you see where I’m going with this?

You know what -- here’s the thing.  It is SO EASY to share a copy of a piece someone else’s art.  But that doesn’t make it morally right or lawful. 

We artists are here to tell you that sharing our images is distributing our stolen art.  And lets not go into the “famous artists” thing, that was intentionally rude --  but by the way, maybe if Van Gogh had been able to license his art for a $3 each usage, he might not have died in poverty. 



  1. Hi Mo

    I am a huge fan and have purchased several images from you (and happy to do so). My question if someone has blog candy and for example sake lets say it has 5 stamped images from Magnolia (I have seen these and...eek entered)Is this considered by the artist to be a theft? To me it is a no brainer that digi images should not be shared and I do not. But I am a little unclear I guess on the rubber pre stamped images? I love all you guys and just want to stay on the right side of things.

  2. Hi Debra, I would have to say PROBABLY. Each artist or company has their own stated policy -- I haven't seen (or heard) of any companies that would give blanket permission for people to give out their stamped images as prizes.

    I'm adding a list of links to various companies angel polices. When in doubt, people should always contact the artist or stamp company. Many times we are able to give written permission for a particular usage that's normally not given in the blanket policy.

  3. No one has said that you can't sell the physical rubber's done all the time. When you sell the stamp, you no longer have it to use.
    Digital files are different. I don't understand why people have such a difficult time understanding how this would hurt an artist's ability to make a living! (Love the remark about Van Gogh, Mo!)The images are sold so inexpensively that an artist has to sell the image many times to make it profitable. Actually, when you purchase a digital image, you are buying only the right to personaly use it, not the rights to the image itself. It's not yours to sell!

  4. I think the digital stamps opened up a huge gray area for people and I am not so sure this battle would be won in court. I'm a huge fan of the above mentioned companies I've purchased their stamps and have not passed them along I think the creators are very talented. I do wish they would only make wood block, cling or clear stamps I really prefer them and let's face it printer ink costs a ton more than an ink pad. With all this being said I don;t think it's right for someone else to put them up on the internet and share with the world the only upside might be that more people saw their talented work and decided to purchase them through the proper channels.

  5. First, I want to say that the original questioner had a lot of misplaced anger. Its logical if you think it through. I do wonder, it wrong to print these out for swaps? People do it ALL over the place with rubber, but printing isn't emailing or giving the file, its just a piece of paper with ink....That is the only thing I have had a hard time with with a couple of stamp companies. Doing swaps like that have encouraged me to buy the stamps later when I know I can use it or really like it. Any thoughts for that?? Thanks!

  6. Why does anyone think this is any different to downloading/sharing music illegally? Regardless of it being rubber or digital, for every person you give images away to, it's a sale that the artist isn't making and therefore money they aren't earning for the talent they so kindly share.

  7. It comes down to copyright. Whether intellectual property is bound between two hardcovers, printed on cds or purchased as a download, the author/artist must give permission for any use, in whole or in part, beyond the original purchase. I don't understand how people can think that the digital images are public domain just because they are online. That's what the watermarks are for.

  8. Note to above, by any use, in whole or in part, I mean copying. Hard published like books or cds can be lent or sold, but not copied.

  9. I just asked that question and one of my friends friend is an attorney and the gray area would be that a digital image for stamping is not a finished product as a song is. A Digital image for stamping is meant to be altered and improved by coloring etc. Although I understand the position doesn't mean I approve of it or what is being done just thought I would pass it along.

  10. Bottom line is that it would never hold in court then.
    I give my friends digi stamps I have printed out, and I tell them where they can be bought if they want more than one image. Of course they could scan the image onto their own computers, but that would mean I have dodgy friends and I don't think I do. For me it's more of a marketing idea to spread the idea of the images.

  11. Susanne, I think the only reason it feels like a gray area is because this is really the first time it’s been discussed between artists and crafters . . . Redistributing copyrighted visual art is the same thing as copying and redistributing a song, or a movie. The advent of computers and the Internet has brought about the potential for effortless and endless copying of creative work by people who feel they have the right to “share”. (This is why there’s now the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.)

    By the way, your friend’s friend the lawyer is incorrect, this intellectual copyright battle is always held up in court. A black and white illustration is as “complete” as a color one is -- I could draw figure with no head -- or sell a sketch I have done and my art would still have the same copyright protection as of my other work :) Copyright has nothing to do with the level of a person’s perceived completeness -- that’s kinda like saying Casablanca isn’t a “finished” movie unless you watch the version AFT colorized.

  12. Mummylade, if you want to give a friend a single image, you should email the artist and ask for written permission to do so. :)

  13. This N' That -- speaking for myself, it is against my terms (angel policy) to swap or give anyone else even one of my images unless you get written permission from me.

    I hope you understand that by saying that I'm trying to protect myself and that nothing would make me happier than someone asking me if they could have written permission to give a particular friend one copy of "suchnsuch" image. :)

  14. "A Digital image for stamping is meant to be 'altered' and improved by coloring etc" ...

    Could you define your view of 'altered'? :o/
    I may be wrong...and I'm sure Mo will correct me if so but...the image is NOT meant to be altered! Coloured - yes
    etc? - No

  15. Right Lydia -- though if people email me and ask permission I will certainly allow simple changes like taking a candle off a cake -- or a number off a soccer jersey -- but not if the card is planning to be sold.

    Also - just to point out, I've been a professional illustrator for almost 30 years (yikes!) and I only started licensing some of my black and white art to crafters a year and a half ago. These illustrations are NO different (or unfinished) than any other illustrations I do. Only the usage license is different -- it is written so that crafters ONLY can use it. I don’t sell this license to people who want to make books, or logos, or newsletters or teeshirts. The only part of the public who can use my art legally is you crafters. I want my art to stay “art” -- and I think handcrafted cards ARE art.

    Sometimes I feel that people think they're getting a lesser quality piece of art because I don't charge enough. (I saw the same thing happening with freebies, which is why I cut down on them.)

  16. Ok - I love the digitals - Don't have any more room for the rubber or cling and just hope all the upset doesn't make any of those great artist decide not to offer them.That means you MO - love your images and will pay for everyone!!

  17. It angers me to no end to see people doing shady things like removing a watermark and copyright and distributing them on their blogs/online photo albums, etc. It's obvious to me they know what they're doing is illegal (otherwise, why bother removing the copyright?)

    Personally, I prefer digi images to rubber because of storage space, and to be quite honest, I find it much easier to hit print than to drag out a stamp pad...but I know everyone has their own preference.

  18. Thank you for clarifying. I do understand. :) I can't imagine having to fight out this kind of battle. It really does seem a shame that some people don't see it as art or as your property, because it is. Good luck!

  19. As another stamp illustrator, I have decided to add my 2¢ worth.
    I have read many posts and comments about this particular issue and regardless of all the legalities, it really just comes down to one thing. And that is: Respect.
    Respect for the policies of the artist(s), as well as the artist, regardless of how unreasonable or silly you think their policies are. Each artist has his or her own right to state how their artwork is allowed to be used and how it is not to be used. Would you follow the policies and abide by the copyright laws if it were an artist such as Mary Engelbreit or perhaps Norman Rockwell. I feel pretty confident that you would. Whether the artist is what some would call 'famous' is totally irrelevant.

    Let's put it this way. Say you have a teenager, (and we all know how disrespectful some of them can be), and you and a judge both asked the teenager not to speed. Do you expect your teenager to only listen to the judge, because he is 'more powerful' and can deliver a harsher punishment, such as taking away their license or putting them in jail. . . and to NOT listen to you, because you are only their mother and you can only enforce a lesser punishment, like perhaps, grounding them? Let me go out on a limb here. . . I would assume that you would expect your teenager to respect the rules, period! Regardless of who told them or who had the more severe punishment ! It isn't about who has more power or who can deliver the harsher consequences, it is simply about respect. Respect, respect, respect! Seriously, it really isn't that hard.

  20. As far as I am concerned, Respecting your wishes is all it boils down too. I have only been doing digital stamps for a few months and read the first Angl policy from Elizabeth Bell's site. That was it..Those are her rules and that is what I agree to when I buy her stamps PERIOD.What is the big deal. First of all, you guys have a right to set rules on your products just like products that carry a warranty. If you do something to the product that you bought that causes it to be ruined, you broke your warranty and now they are not responsible because you broke the contract......I am so proud of all of illustrators and so happy that you are designing all the wonderful stamps and digi images that I WANT all of you to prosper and I want to help you do that. You all deserve it..If you have a best friend and they ask you not to tell someone something that is would respct their wishes...There it is again..RESPECT RESPECT RESPECT... Thank you ladies for all of your inspiration and keep up the good work....

  21. I love Mo images and all the ones I buy. I do not share. My father was a singer and a song writer and he has written over 800 songs in his lifetime and he had a problems with his songs that when he would put them out or sing them other people would hear the music and steal the words. So he put copyrights and go thur all of that so he could so call protect what he loved to do and that never stopped anything. It is sad and I know how my father felt and how sad it made him feel. Once it is out there. You will never know what people will do.

  22. I support your efforts and am reading along to make sure I am not doing anything wrong. As a member of some DTs I've received digis and often just throw them in a file and don't think about them or the use of them and you've given me some things to think about. I have given away rubber stamps but not my digis and would never think it was ok to give them away, but I probably would have given a printed an image (not the file) to a friend if they had asked but no one has, and I certainly would never think to give them away to the world.
    We really need to support the artists not try to outreason them.

  23. Rules are rules and if no one followed them we would have no fab digi stamps!!! I was asked at my monthly craft group earlier in the month to email one particular Sassy Cheryl image that I had used and let me tell you I was sickened by this lady. For Heaven's sake the price of digi stamps are so reasonable - so buy your own!!!

    I want to add the stamp out stamp thieves icon to my blog - it is a wonderful idea.

  24. Hi Mo!! Just had to say that I support you 100% and posted so on my blog! I love that you are generous enough to be able to, from time to time and in limited cases ofcourse, give written permission to give away a printed copy of your images. I love them to bits and recently purchesed a few of them. My friends are also in to your stamps but not all of them have printers so that's why it's so great if they'd like a copy of one of my images that you could give that permission. Sorry if I'm longwinded... ;-D Hope you got my point anyways...

    I'm also thrilled that you don't charge a lot for your images, because it enables me to get more of them... :-D For those of you who might think so - there is nothing inferior about the quality AT ALL!


  25. Well said Mo! I am so glad I came across this. I will be posting the banner in my sidebar of the Prairie Fairy Blog and please do add my name to your list on the sidebar. While I find all of this disturbing, what I find the most disturbing is this idea of the sharing groups. The thought had never crossed my mind but why not. I can easily see this happening.

    Thanks for pioneering this effort Mo!


  26. We at The Greeting Farm have cut down on our digital images for sale a LOT since we found out that there were challenge blogs out there putting our digital images in a public yahoo group or folder for the challenge blogs DT (*which, is a DT but NOT the DT of The Greeting Farm which is a huge difference) to use at their disposal. We found one challenge group that had over 50 TGF images stored, some werent even digis that we released, but STAMPED images from rubber that were scanned into digis so the DT could swap them out.

    Ever since then it's been hard to decide whether we will continue to release digital images because of this. It's so hard to want to please all our customers but know that so much theft and unauthorized copying exists! Thanks SO much for starting more awareness about this Mo-I will be puttting this on our sidebar!

  27. I had to stop giving out images to challenge blog DTs for the same reason. When I first started out Design teams were asking for a freebie for each member of their team. I was shocked and saddened to learn that many of the teams were sharing all the images -- so basically, I was handing out 12 or so free images to 12 people every time they asked me to sponsor a challenge.

    I still sponsor challenges but only email a prize (personally)to the winner.


  28. I am sorry to read that Mo. You have once sponsored Digital Tuesday Challenge where every DT member could choose an image. Please be assured that we have not shared the images with the other members of our team, as you know I am very much against file sharing.
    Up till recently we didn't have a yahoo group. Before that some companies would send our sponsor coordinator a few images and then we would email her with the one we wanted to use. It was very time consuming for the sponsors coordinator to send out emails to everyone. So what I have agreed on, if a sponsor gives us a few images (usually about 3) we do post those to our yahoo group and I am hoping that everyone just saves the one they use.
    The best option I thought would be to have the DT email the sponsor for an image if they would like to use one, of course sharing those images with the rest of the team would be very wrong and I can assure you that I would not agree with that!

  29. Hi Mo and others, I am not only a customer of digital images I also am creating my own portfolio from years of sketches and this whole conversation has interested me greatly. As an artist and user I find it incredible to think that there is such a lack of respect toward the work in compiling an illustration. These are not telephone book doodles that someone has up loaded. These images are peoples works of art and their decision to share them is both time consuming and expensive in it's set up and running.
    It is lovely to admire the artist enough to want to share their talent, do what I did and buy a voucher. You are supporting the artist and sharing a wonderful talent.
    Especially Mo, her images are more than pictures to be coloured in, they tell stories. Mo is kind enough to post them and let us tell our own stories.
    Mabey some people are blind sided into thinking they arent doing anything illegal (they are though), those people should remember that there still exists a need for respect for one another and good manners and taking something you didnt purchase or going against a policy protecting art is a poor show of manners and a show of disrespect.
    Keep up the beautiful work Mo.


  30. Okay I can see where sharing the entire file would be stealing. Also removeing watermarks and such to sell for yourself. I agree again thats stealing.

    However if i am correct most angel policies state to use for personal use only and some will allow you to use on cards you sell.

    So under personal use wouldnt card swapping be considered personal use here's an example. I recently in a card swap where we were asked to include 1 image of what we used so the reciever can try thier hand and making a card with it.
    Now if its a rubber stamp, you certainly not stealing it to sell as your own. As a digital stamp well there again your not sharing the entire file, its 1 image for someone to use and I as a crafter always put down the information where they can find that stamp so they can buy it if they like it.
    Lets face it does it really enter a persons mind to scan that image into their computer? Considering the fact that when you scan anything the quality of the content goes down with it.

    Plus how are we to ask each individual company about sending a few images to a friend or use in a swap if once we get it on the computer we cant remember what company it's from.
    Also lets face it if we do have the information, what if a friend comes over That day wanting to craft and wants to use that image Wouldnt it take days for us to contact that company and then for them to get back to us on it.
    who has xx amount of days to try to get ahold of the right person just to ask to share 1 simple little image, certainly not me. I'd rather spend that time crafting. Now i could see if it was the whole file someone wanted That would need permission and that would be stealing without it.

  31. Hi there Anonymous :)

    If you're talking swapping finished, hand-colored CARDS with people (not the black and white drawings), that is not against my policy. You MAY swap finished cards.

    But if you're talking about image swapping -- that is absolutely not considered personal use. Personal use means YOU, personally, are using it. If your friend likes one of my drawings, they have three choices:

    1. Buy it (good lord, it's only three bucks!)
    2. Snag one of my periodic freebies
    3. Ask you to write to me for permission for you to print out one copy of one of the stamps you have bought so they can try it.

    You can't just make your own rules about what constitutes stealing. Giving someone a printed or hand-stamped image without color is not allowed -- you must ASK me first or no -- you can not do it.


    PS If you are worried about how much time it's going to take you to query each and every time you want to share an image -- that indicates to me you're wanting to do WAY TOO MUCH sharing. When you buy a stamp it is only for you. That's my terms of use, and the terms of use of MOST other stamp companies.

  32. Mo this is just terrible to read... I am extremely upset to hear you and other companies like "The Greeting Farm" are cutting back on selling digital images or stopping selling them all together. I use digital images all the time and prefer to do so. I don't have the storage space for a lot of actual rubber or clear stamps so if you and companies like you stop selling digital images because a few people that have violated your policies than I will be forced to stop collecting stamps. I understand your anger and frustration with the violators but why punish the rest of us who don't violate your policies and just use them as intended? I am sick of good things getting destroyed because of a few bad apples? Prosecute the bad guys but don't stop selling digi's. It is not right!!! We respect the artist but to discontinue selling digital images is not respecting the good consumer!

  33. Anonymous,this blog is:

    Firstly: A place for Stamp Companies (both digital and rubber) to STAND TOGETHER WITH FANS against image theft.

    Secondly: it's an attempt to educate people who use digital stamps about copyright law and terms of use.

    Thirdly: it's a direct way to allow people who find our images being stolen to "report" it so digital companies can respond to the theft AND stay in business.

    --- help by keeping your eyes open and by educating people who might not understand copyright law and "angel policies. Artists need to believe that you will help us find and stop instances of copyright violation.


  34. This seems like a no brainer to me - sell the stamp if you want, but don't stamp images and sell them - it is not your image to sell, sheesh!!!! Keep it up, this is a GREAT way to make people STOP THE THEFT! I don't even stamp images for people when they miss stamp club - they get all the material EXCEPT the images - they are not mine to give out like that!! *STAMPIN HUGS* Alex

  35. I started designing stamps for a digistamp marketplace. I was a little concerned about theft, but here's my issue. I need to build my creative business due to a move and my commute to the day job is so long, I have to rent in another town and come home to my husband on weekends.

    Okay, black and white illustration is faster for me to produce than full color. I decided to give digi stamps a try since I love to draw and I could produce them faster than my art dolls and paintings, and commercial commissions that I have to invest in a lot of PR for to get.

    I'm not clear if this is the site where I read the comment that artists are just "grubbing" for more money by expecting their art to be purchased rather than shared among multiple users.

    I'm not a money-grubbing person. In fact, I had to quit the illustration world ten years ago due to work-for-hire contracts brought about by large monied publishing houses that used our art for all kinds of products-and we only got paid once.
    This work-for-hire contract literally brought down the illustration industry and many illustrators I knew were financially affected.

    I'm now a secretary in an elementary school and will sometimes see an illustration of mine in a workbook. . .after all these years.

    I can understand someone offering their BFF a digital stamp for free in the privacy of their own home. But sharing among many I don't. Many of us wouldn't share our stamping supplies among many due to the expense. So why be so open about digi-stamps? I'm sure there's always someone who wants to borrow for free a digit stamp from you who purchased it.

    I hated having to give up my illustration career. But please don't feel the life of an artist is a fun and easy one. Creating illustrations for digit stamps takes time, just because we can draw-as a result of practice, practice, practice, art school etc. I find despite my whimsical style I always need resource material, to sketch and re-sketch, then inking in, scanning in and correcting mistakes in photoshop saving as a jpg and png takes a lot of time!

    So please, don't label us money grubbing, this is our livelihood and in these difficult economic times, let's keep in mind that artists like any other working soul, need to be paid for their work.

    Thank you.


  36. This entire conversation seems to have gone to the rights and wrongs for digital stamps mostly. Forgive me if this is s dumb question! So how can DS rubber stamping demonstrators get by with doing workshops, classes and parties if they are allowing students/customers to make cards/projects at their classes? When I was a demonstrator I allowed my students/customers to use "borrow" my stamps. There was NO requirement to purchase. I have also been to a hundred stamp camps, I use their stamps and don't purchased them unless I really like the stamp set.

    Here is another scenerio? How come Ebay, Etsy, Amazon etc. are allowing sales of USED items if it's against the rules that some of you are implying?

    I think some of you are going way overboard and blowing this all up and out of proportion. There is NO way you will ever stop people from stealing, sharing etc. Like someone else said, going digital internet wide is a risk you took. I agree that we should not be sharing our files, but see no harm in printing one here and there for others to use, for me--if I like creating with it, I go buy it so I can make more!! We are actually demo'ing for the digi designers and producing sales. Maybe all digi sites should ask who referred you and the designers could then contact people with a simple thank- you for referring xyz to me! {something to think about}. I know I have personally referred MANY people to buy from digital companies.

  37. Hi Christine,

    We're trying to address a lot of different things with Stamp Out --

    There are the "Big" things like the woman right now on the Dutch eBay site, Marktplaats who is selling CDs where she has compiled thousands of copyrighted images and is illegally selling them. We get her to take down one ad, and a few days later she puts up another one. It's been almost impossible to talk to a real person at Marktplaats about this problem. These are real, premeditated thefts.

    On the "small" side there are swaps. Strictly, swapping (without permission) is against most companies' terms of use. But realistically, most companies don't mind if you have a get-together with a few friends for a night of swapping. BUT -- because of the Internet, swapping is starting to get way out of hand. Instead of a few friends at the dining room table, it's being done in an highly organized manner on the Internet now -- hundreds of crafting forums and online groups with hundreds of crafters sharing thousands of images all over the world. THAT's the type of swapping that worries us.

    But to address your points (and I can only speak for myself for this one, Mo Manning) sharing stamps at class is fine . . . just not stamping a bunch of extra images to take home.

    About eBay -- you are completely free to resell your old rubber stamps. (Just like you're allowed to resell your old books.) You are not allowed to stamp uncolored images and sell those. (Just as you are not allowed to photocopy a book and sell the copies.)

    I mentioned at the top of this comment about the woman selling CDs of images. I have not seen the CD yet, but the list of companies she says are on the CD, and the samples (Magnolia) are rubber stamp images that she has scanned in and now is selling as digital images. ANY stamp image -- any drawing, painting, photo becomes becomes a digital image the minute someone scans it into a computer.

    So, this isn't about a risk taken by an artist to make their work available digitally -- this is about thieves who don't have any problem with stealing the bread from the mouths of my (and other professionals' children.)

    We artists absolutely know we can't control theft. Just like there will always be people who feel free to snag a bottle of nail polish from the drugstore, (and pretty soon prices go up to compensate for the thefts) there are people who feel free to steal art. We're just appealing to our customers to help us by not being part of it. We can't create for you if we can't make money at it . . . we have to feed our kids too.

    Christine, feel free to ask any questions if I didn't explain well. We're not trying to pull anything over on anyone -- we just want crafters to put themselves in our shoes and think how copyright violation -- on a large scale like ebay or an internet swap group -- adversely affect our small businesses.

    If Internet swaps were helping us do you think we'd be complaining? :)


  38. Mo/Christine,
    there is a huge difference with the companies that have home based demonstrators (as mentioned in Christine's response). For instance, I used to be a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator. I held classes and demonstrations all the time where we shared a stamp set and I taught different techniques at the class/demonstration. The reason why it is allowed - and even expected - for these classes is because the Demonstrator is actually an employee for that company. Actually Demonstrators are "independent contractors", but they receive a commission based on sales. That's the big difference. Demonstrators for home based stamping companies actually have a contract with that company and in turn have a different "Terms of Use" for the stamps they purchase for demonstrations.
    The online swaps and illegal sale of digital or stamped images falls along the same line as music CD's and downloads. You purchase a CD, you are allowed to play it for your friends. You can even loan the CD to a friend. And you resell the CD if you are tired of it. But what you CAN'T do is copy it! In regard to stamps, you can loan the stamp to a friend - but you can't mass produce a stamped or printed image. You CAN sell a finished product using that stamp. But you can't sell a stamped or printed image. You can resell the used stamp if you are tired of it.

    I own an online stamping store. As a retailer, I have a special agreement with the companies that I carry in my store. If I had a "brick and morter store", I could hold classes and allow my customers to use my stamps and supplies during the class. In fact, many companies offer special "kits" for in-store classes. Again, I am a supplier for those companies so I have a different "TOU". I many not work directly for those companies, but I am promoting their products. However, I wouldn't be able to sell or share stamped images outside of the classes.

    It's the mass sharing that is the issue. Have a few friends over - share your stamps. Just don't do it in mass quantities - and definitely NOT over the internet! That's what the artists and companies are upset about.

  39. Mo/Lacey: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I totally get the do not mass produce, make illegal copies etc. That I understand and agree 100%. Mo, I have bought a few of your stamps, I shared a print out, not the file with a friend, she later bought it because she wanted to make that ok or should I not do that?

  40. Hi Christine -- I don't want to publicly announce "yes it's fine" -- only because I'm afraid it would leave an opening for some other people to take advantage, you know what I mean? :)

    But realistically -- I don't have a problem if a you share a printed image with a friend. It's the organized swaps that hurt me. (Love it when people ask permission -- then I can say yes!)

  41. Mo I am in 100% agreement with your response to Christine, that is how I feel. The huge internet swaps have made it hard for everyone. Of course I don't care if two neighbors sit and stamp together with each other and share stamps or even if someone stamps an image for their sister and mails it to her (one image is not a huge deal, that does not hurt my business), but you cannot very well add that to your terms without someone finding a way to squeeze in big internet swaps "at their kitchen table" which kill my business. And I don't believe for a minute someone who receives 10 prints of an image via mail will have any inclination to buy it. In fact if they need more they will just request that image in the next swap they participate in.

  42. I just think a lot of people don't realize how much work it goes into a single image!
    I am not the artist myself, my sister is, and I see her sometimes spending a full week for one illustration for which she'll be paid maybe 20 $ or less!
    I told her to join the digi drawing just because I wanted to help her make some extra pocket money. The money we get from digis are certainly not making her bathe in luxury but you should see how happy she is when I tell her we sold another image. She is genuinely happy seeing that people like her work.
    Why is it so hard for a lot of people to understand that by "digital company" or even most "rubber companies" we're talking about ONE person... one person that (like it's been said in an above comment) WORKS to get your images out there and enjoys seeing your appreciation more than receiving your money.
    It's not a FACTORY with 100 employees that draw for a monthly rate and then expect you to pay them also!

    The RESPECT issue was very well put! Have respect for artists that try to make new, interesting images for you to make nice cards with.

    I am just heartbroken when I see my sister hunched over a piece of paper with a pencil drawing something for such ungrateful people. Putting so much heart in it and hoping she'll be appreciated and respected one day.

    So please stop coming with petty excuses and stop trying to find ways out of our Terms of Use.
    If you don't like the TOUs you can always chose another company that complies to your expectations.

    If you or your friends want to try out the images why not go for the freebies? That's what they are meant for!

    Sorry if I offended anyone and I hope you understand my position.

  43. I am sorry if this is not on topic. But I am one of those people that does not really understand copyright infringement, angel policies etc. I have however done a lot of reading about it, but remains unclear. For this reason I have not attempted to sell one finished card, as I am afraid of breaking protocol. So could someone clarify for me......If I use a digi or rubber stamped image that is colored and then used in a finished card(I put hours into one card, not just stamp an image and color it) is it ok to sell? Thank you in advance for finally clearing this up for me.

  44. Hi Shona,

    Totally on-topic!

    Most stamp companies (it will say in their terms of use) do allow you to sell your finished, handmade, one-of-a-kind cards -- so the simple answer is YES.

    You are allowed you to sell your gorgeous card that you have put so much work into -- it's just those people who are trying to churn out and sell stacks of colored images by calling them "toppers" that is not okay -- and even worse, the people just printing out or stamping infinite UNCOLORED images and selling them on ebay.


  45. That's great Mo, thank you, I will check into each policy for confirmation.

  46. It seems to me, that yet again, a few bad apples might spoil the whole bushel. My real fear? Artists will stop offering digital stamps. that would hurt me (and lord only knows how many other crafters) because I love digi stamps,,,,they can be printed again and again, easily and quickly. They can be made smaller to fit a smaller card quickly and easily. (that doesn't violate the angel policy right?? Or is that "altering" the stamp? I'm new at this),,,,,and,,,,my favorite,,,,,they are CHEAP!

    Seriously,,,,,I can buy a rubber stamp for 15 bucks OR MORE,,,,,or I can buy a single digi stamp for between 2.00 and 3.50. Yep,,,,I'm a penny saver, and when I see that I can buy five of Mo's stamps,,,,,or the Greeting Farms stamps,,,,or whomever's stamps,,,,,,,and sometimes pick up a freebie along the way,,,,,for the same price as one wood block rubber stamp,,,,

    well, I'm thrilled, and it's a no brainer as far as I'm concerned. And it really IRKS me that people swapping and selling them illegally might mean that some day in the near future *I* won't be able to buy a Mo Manning stamp for 3 bucks, but will have to either do without her adorable images,,,,,,,,

    or spend 15 to 20 bucks for a wood block stamp in order to make a card from her images.

    Frankly, as a crafter who loves to make cards for people,,,,,,and who does NOT want to spend 15 bucks for a wood block stamp that I might use 3 times,,,,,,I think we all need to support the artists,,,,,,or we might find out one day that the stamps are no longer.

  47. That's a realistic fear, Holly. I know of several companies who were thinking (or starting to do) Digital Stamps and decided to back down. xoMo

  48. hi there, i'm fairly new to crafting just buy stamps to sit and colour then make cards, i try to go on as many sites if the stamps i have brought as love them but what really upsets me when i go on ebay looking for a bargin being on a tight budget see hundreds of stamped images, some with just there faces coloured in but worse where they have scaned them onto cd's and seling them. I have reported some to ebay but they do nothing about it, tonight one lady is selling hundreds of magnlia images asking £12+ why wont ebay remove them. i love your stamps mo not got round to digi's yet still trying to remember names to look lol. at our craft club we swop our stamps and do a few of them for our own use, i love to sit and colour as helps with my depression plus been in hospital a lot having 14 op's in a yr, can i ask quite a few people have sent me images to do some have asked if i would like some sent, is this ok or not? as being on a budget cant afford many stamps at full price so buy them cheap off ebay. hope someone can help with my problem xxx