An Angel Policy is a form of limited license that specifies how a rubber stamped image can be used and any specific requirements of the manufacturer or artist. Typically, this outlines under what circumstances, if any, a stamper can make and sell items created using a manufacturer's rubber stamps.
Some companies have a very generous Angel Policy, which allows stampers to work with the stamped images without restriction and this includes creating products for resale. Other companies offer more limited commercial use of their images, for instance limiting the number of products that can be created with a single stamp. Some companies do not have an Angel Policy—this does not mean that there is a 'free for all' when it comes to the use of their stamps—far from it! It means that their stamps are sold for personal use only and not for commercial gain.
Typical Angel Policy Terms
Many companies work on the basis that their rubber stamps are being sold for personal use only. They will, however, grant a limited license which is given the popular name of Angel Policy, that will allow the creation of products for resale using their stamped images. One of the common elements of most Angel Policies is that any items that are created for resale must be hand stamped and not reproduced mechanically or electronically. Most standard Angel Policies also prohibit the use of assembly or production line processes to create stamped products.
Other terms that may be specified within an Angel Policy include:
- How many products can be made
- Where the products can be sold
- Whether a copyright statement needs to be made
- Whether permission needs to be requested in writing
- Stamped images cannot be used to create logos, clip art or for other commercial use
Note: Licensed images, such as Disney characters or other characters such as Thomas the Tank Engine are almost never permitted for use in the creation of items for resale.
What Does This Mean to a Rubber Stamper?
This might all sound pretty daunting to a stamper who is unfamiliar with Angel Policies—however, the terms of a policy are not meant to be restrictive or prohibitive. They are to protect the original artist, the stamp manufacturer and the stamper from the misuse of stamped images.
Stamping for Personal Use
Stampers who enjoy making cards and other creations for their own use or to give to family and friends needn't worry! The terms of an Angel Policy generally for stampers who are looking to sell their work. Stampers who are interested in altered arts, however, may want to check the Angel Policy of the companies whose stamps they are using as some do not allow the altering of their images. This includes masking and layering images.
A list of the Angel Policies from over 50 rubber stamping companies can be found here—Rubber Stamping Companies With an Angel Policy, however, as terms may be subject to change, do check with the companies whose stamps you are considering using before making items for resale. If in doubt as to whether a specific point applies to you, contact the company directly and ask for clarification.
- Angel Policies do change, therefore print out the policy that you are using and date it. This will be a record of the terms under which you are operating.
- Keep copies of any correspondence with the stamp company.
- Many rubber stamping companies make their stamps available under generous Angel Policy terms. Therefore if you can't use the stamps you require from one company, take a look at what others have to offer.