Angel Policy, EULA or Terms and Conditions?
We are going to use the term 'angel policy' in this article, however this isn't a term that is widely known outside of the rubber stamping world.
If you are looking to sell your work on marketplaces such as Etsy, you may want to consider calling your policy an 'end user license agreement' (EULA) and 'terms and conditions'. I am using angel policy as it is a term that is familiar to most stampers.
What is an Angel Policy and Why is it Important?
For more information about Angel Policies see this article - What is an Angel Policy?
An angel policy is the terms under which an artist makes their work available to users. When a digital stamp artist sells their stamps, they are in fact selling a license that allows others to use the image.
They are not selling the copyright to the image and customers are not free to use the image in anyway they like, for example they are not free to share your images online or make items to sell with your images unless you give them permission to do so in your policy. While this many not seem important to someone who is just starting out selling their digital stamps, it be very important as your business develops, so getting a policy in place now will help later on.
What to Consider in an Angel Policy
There are many things to consider. These include:
- Commercial use - will you allow others to make and sell things using your images. If so, will there be any restrictions on this? This is one of the most important aspects of selling your digital stamps for you to consider. Most stamp artists have a restriction that says that items must be hand created by the customer. This stops people mass producing items using your art work. However you also need to consider what types of products people can make with your images. Cards and scrapbook pages are likely to be OK, however how do you feel about people who want to use your images to make a coloring book for kids or to make t-shirts to sell? How do you feel about people who want to make your art into embroidery designs? There are lots of different aspects of making your images available for commercial use to consider!
- No distribution - whether your stamps are free or paid for, you will not want people sharing the images without your permission. As digital stamps are so easy to share, it is vital that you make your policy on this very clear. Another way you can protect yourself is my making sure you have a copyright marked preview on your store. This way if people want to link to you or pin your image, they can do so by using the copyright preview image and not the actual stamp.
- Attribution / credit - do you require people to provide any credit or attribution if they use your images commercially. Some artists ask that they copyright information is stated on the finished project.
- Remember that your angel policy will need to be reviewed regularly to ensure it is up to date. Who'd have thought in 2010 that an Angel policy may need a point about the pinning of unwatermarked digital stamps to Pinterest for instance!
When you set your angel policy you must balance protecting your art and your future business along with making your products user-friendly. A very restrictive end user agreement or angel policy may be prohibitive and may put customers off buying your products.
Before you finalize your angel policy, take a look at the angel policy of some of your favorite designers and see what you like or don't like about their terms.
Try to view it as a customer and see whether the language is officious and unfriendly, or is it clear and polite? Give a draft of your angel policy to friends and contemporaries and get any feedback, positive or negative, before you launch your business. This way you can make adjustments before the business goes live.
If you are thinking about selling handmade cards we have more reading here - How To Sell Handmade Cards