AKA: It's Hard to Be a Crafter!
So, you are standing in the packed aisle of your favorite craft shop, and your hands begin to grab for all the tools and trinkets you need to restock your craft pantry. The packages of your favorite items list the contents, maybe colors and sizes, and their creation location, but did you ever notice what is missing? For crafters who want to sell their handmade items, the most important missing link is the copyright and/or "Angel Policy" for the use of the item.
Unless you've already done your research prior to your shopping trip, you best trot home and check out what the manufacturer states is an "approved use" of the item. You've got to do the footwork yourself because they fail to provide the information on the packaging (prior to your purchase) so that you can be an informed shopper.
For example, did you know that the extremely popular Cricut by Provo Craft carries the following "Angel Policy?" (red font color is my doing)
1. All Provo Craft products that incorporate, provide or utilize copyrighted material are copyrighted by Provo Craft and Novelty, Inc. and are protected under United States and international copyright laws, which means that they cannot be copied without the written permission of Provo Craft.
2. Any craftwork to be sold must not incorporate third-party copyrighted material. The craftwork must contain only Provo Craft products that are sold under the Provo Craft trademark.
3. The individual may sell or distribute personal craftwork at local community fundraisers, seasonal boutiques or bazaars, or other temporary craft events. Personal craftwork incorporating Provo Craft copyrighted material cannot be sold at a fixed retail location such as a store or mall kiosk, left in a store on consignment, or sold to other parties for subsequent resale, or sold via the Internet.
4. The use of the copyrighted material to be sold with a product, to enhance a product or to design a product on a regional or national level or for any mass production is expressly prohibited hereunder and requires a written licensing agreement with Provo Craft. (The definition of mass produced is more than fifty copies reproduced within a thirty day period of any one design or more than 200 copies per year of any one design. Multi-person assembly-line work counts as mass production.)
5. Quantities for sale of personal craftwork shall be limited by the production limits set forth herein.
6. The limited license granted herein is not a license of the Provo Craft name or any trademarks, trade names, trade dress or logos of Provo Craft and cannot be used without the express written permission of Provo Craft. In addition, the Provo Craft name or any trademarks, trade names, trade dress or logos of Provo Craft may not be used at any location where personal craftwork items are sold, nor may they be used in any manner to solicit sales of such items nor in a manner that states, infers, or implies an affiliation with Provo Craft.
7. You may not use Provo Craft and Novelty, Inc. copyrighted material for the purpose of creating logos, trademarks, trade names, trade dress or trademarks (e.g., company trademarks, product trademarks, product packaging, etc.).
8. Wherever possible, each item using or incorporating Provo Craft’s copyrighted material must be marked with “Includes Copyrighted Material of Provo Craft and Novelty, Inc.” in a reasonable size and location that gives reasonable notice.
9. Copyrighted material of Provo Craft may not be altered in any manner, including but not limited to, masking or overlaying portions in the overall design. Any other alteration will be considered an infringement of copyright. In addition, Provo Craft expressly reserves all moral rights in any copyrighted material.
10. Provo Craft shall, without limitation, have the right to terminate the limited license granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever. In the event that Provo Craft elects to terminate this license for any individual, Provo Craft shall notify such individual in writing of such termination. Upon notice such individual shall immediately terminate the copying, sale and/or distribution of any of Provo Craft’s copyrighted material or products or things that incorporate any of Provo Craft’s copyrighted material.
11. Persons creating personal craftwork items for sale are responsible for complying with any state and local business and tax regulations or any other laws or regulations governing the sale of goods.
12. Persons subject to this license assume all liability for suitability of their work and for any CLAIM OR cause of action arising as a result of the sale, offer for sale and/or distribution of their work and agree to indemnify and hold harmless Provo Craft and Novelty, Inc. and its artists from disputes arising from the sale, offering for sale and/or distribution of their work.
13. Provo Craft and Novelty, Inc. is a Utah corporation. The laws of the State of Utah govern this license. The state and federal courts of Utah will have exclusive jurisdiction over any proceeding arising from this policy. Any person that operates under this limited license expressly agrees to be subject to personal jurisdiction in the courts of the State of Utah. Any failure by Provo Craft to enforce any of its rights will not constitute a waiver of such rights.
This "Angel Policy" contains some very interesting information that I have noted with the color red. The statement makes clear that a crafter cannot sell their (Provo Craft) copyrighted images on materials that are offered for sale online or in a fixed location like a local boutique. Yep, that means you cannot take their cut out images, paste them on a card, and sell the card online.
Also, they expect you to give credit to them on your completed item. So, the cards you are selling at the approved craft fair should include the following statement, “Includes Copyrighted Material of Provo Craft and Novelty, Inc.”
And better yet, don't think about using any third-party copyright material alongside the Provo Craft materials. They won't share the space with other stamps, papers, or stickers belonging to another trademark.
Look, all companies have the right to state how their products can and cannot be used. I do take offense that companies who are creating tools and supplies for crafters are not making these copyright restrictions and "Angel Policies" a part of their own packaging. Let the buyer know prior to their purchase what you do and do not expect of them. Many crafters do not have a clue that such policies exist. Realistically, most people assume, hey, this is an item created for the specific purpose of being used for subsequent creations. Most don't stop and think that the manufacturer of the item would even dream of attempting to limit the creative process or the ability for the crafter to then make a profit on the item.
So, crafters beware, there are limits and limitations to most things in life, including the items you use to live a creative life. Always check with the manufacturer (via their web site, phone, snail mail, etc...) to discover what their policies in order to avoid any headaches and claims of copyright infringement.
For more information on Angel Policies, check out these links:
List of Rubber Stamping Companies with Angel Policies
Angel Policies of Various Companies by Paperlicious
Credit for post image