When Angel Policies Are Just Plain Silly


If you don’t know what an Angel Policy is, it is basically permission given by a designer or craft company to an individual crafter to use any copyrighted materials on products that they make and sell. An example of this is using a stamp on a greeting card. Some designers/companies are liberal with their policies, and some designer/companies are very restrictive in allowing use of their designs/products.

This is a policy that is supported by US Copyright laws. If you hold the copyright on a design, you have the legal right to restrict any derivative works using your design.  For the legal definition for copyright laws regarding visual arts see http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ40.pdf . Every artist has the legal right to protect their designs. Every crafter has the responsibility to find out what, if any, Angel Policies are in place regarding the design. Also, it is just plain common courtesy to give credit to the designer or company that produces the design.

However, the owner of the design may allow the use of their designs. A typical Angel Policy allows the use of stamp with a copyrighted design to be used as long as each image is stamped by hand and there is no altering of the image. For example, you cannot stamp an image and then enlarge or reduce the image by using a copy machine; you cannot scan the image and sell it in a digital format. I personally only buy products from crafting companies that have a liberal Angel Policy. This policy allows crafters to sell any item that they make using the company’s designs as long as they buy each item, and create the hand crafted item by hand.

Restrictive Angel Policies that make sense to me are: any digital designs, any items that can be scanned and made into a digital file and any original artwork.  These are items that can be altered and distributed electronically, and there is an opportunity for abuse.

What I call a silly Angel Policy is applying restrictions on items like punches, embossing folders and cutting dies. These products are tools, granted there are designs on the tools, but they are meant to be used on another product, most likely paper. The intent in manufacturing these items is that crafters will be using these tools in the creation of a finished product. This is like restricting the use of an item made by using scissors, hammers, or ink pens. There is no other way to use these tools except by hand.

Honestly, if you mass produce a product that is meant to be used by an individual crafter, doesn’t it make sense that you allow the individual to use the product to make a hand crafted item?  What is the point of manufacturing these items if you don’t allow the crafter the freedom of selling items that they make? We crafters are inspired by the creations of other crafters and often buy paper, stamps or other crafting tools because we like the design.