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Link: Paper Trufflez: What I love, and mebbe you love it, too . . ..

Being technically UN-savvy, I’m trying to figure out a way to by-pass those with no further interest in the discussion of the last few days, but, a little more chit chat with those that are.

I *think* if you click on the "continuation" of this particular entry, it takes you to the full entry, and if you’re not interested, than all you hafta do is ignore the entry, or, delete this particular (email update)?

All this tech stuff sure is challenging for me . . . but, hey, I’m tryin’!  LOL!

Some confusion(s) I wanted to clarify regarding CASEing:

"What I dont understand is why someone shares their creations if they dont want anyone using their ideas? Giving credit is a must, with that I agree, but sharing designs then saying you can look but that is all you can do just defeats the purpose."–Gwen M.

At first, I thought I, and others, had miscommunicated, but when I went reviewed my own and others’ statements, I get the impression, gaged by some of the responses, that it was misinterpreted.

So, I will re-state in this fashion, and hopefully, clear up any  confusion that seems to be occurring:

Almost every artist I know has no issue whatsoever with having their finished works copied by others for personal use.

Finished works copied for personal gain, however, is a sticky thing.  Until I ask the the artist of a finished piece, I personally don’t assume that what they’ve displayed publicly, was provided for anything beyond personal use/inspiration.

Some examples of where personal gain can come into play, with regards to copied works:

  • Contest entry
  • Resumé or portfolio/job application
  • Publication in print or electronic/digital media
  • Reproduction of another’s finished work/design for purposes of monetary profit

If any communication on that was unclear before, I hope the above clarifies.

"A car is not intellectual property and the analagy is not valid, the analagy is simply grand theft auto (wink)"–Gwen M.’s hubby

Gwen, please thank your hubby for me– I *loved* this–I’m blowin’ him kisses for the way he chose to point out how the analogy doesn’t work–it just cracked me, in a goodly, fun way!

Therefore, let’s toss that one out the window, and move on to another one!

Sidebar:  What I find fascinating in much of this is that some stampers don’t consider themselves or other stampers as artists.  Perhaps this is because most of our life experiences have taught us that, generally speaking, the definition of an artist is one who can draw, or paint?

The artist who creates the illustration for a rubber stamp is an artist.

But, I also firmly believe that the individual that uses the rubber stamp as a tool in the creation of a finished work, is also an artist.

Something I received via email, and, and accompanying it was a very lengthy article regarding the copyright issues facing those in the fashion industry (yet another creative industry):

"Here is an analogy that I hope will make things clearer.  I purchase a Vogue, Simplicity or McCall’s pattern.  I have the pattern in my hand and I can make up my desired or inspired creation.  I purchase the buttons, fabric  and other embellishments.  I then create my interpation of the pattern I purchased.  Along the way I come along someone that greatly admires my outfit, I willingly share with her just how I did it, where I purchased the material etc.  Later, I come across the lady again, and wow she has on my outfit or darn close.  Do I have any recourse.  NO…..she has all the right to own it, to copy it.  All of these items are available to an open market. "–Jan C.

Aaaaaaaaaaaah.  Yes.  And, I’m not gonna deny that the admirer can indeed make a copy of your dress, right down to the fabric, thread, buttons, etc. used, and wear it or give it to her daughter, etc.!

Here is where I find things start to get sticky:   Whether or not she can also produce duplicate copies of the dress that you made, based on the various unique elements you incorporated into the finished design, with the intent to sell them for profit? (assuming, of course, she has permission* from the copyright holder of the pattern, to do so)

I guess what I am asking then, is your finished dress not considered a tangible form of intellectual property, and, therefore, the only protection you can hope to rely on would be, I guess, ethics alone?

This poses quite an interesting dilemma for the fashion industry that obviously crosses over into the realm of many other creative industries, including art stamping . . .

*Sidebar:  In the stamping world, for those that are not aware, this is referred to as an "Angel Policy".  And, before you use a company’s stamp images for profit, you, as an artist, are responsible for finding out that company’s Angel Policy, and abiding by it.  Angel Policies vary dramatically from one company to the next, so do your homework before proceeding!

"I think techniques are a harder issue than an exact card or other piece of art. I don’t remember where I first saw someone use a slit punch to make a scallop, and I have no idea if the first time I saw it was the first time someone did it, but taking an exact layout and stamps and copying a piece is cleary the other end of the spectrum."–Joan B.

Agreed!  An "idea" or technique in and of itself cannot be copyrighted–the words you used to write out how to do it–in other words, a tangible form, however, can and are from the moment they are commited to such tangible form . . .

"I’m curious: what do you consider a copyright violation in terms of a card design? It’s really confusing! For example, one of the a muse stampers did a Harry Potter card using the graduation scroll and owl. I was already making Harry Potter inspired cards and trading cards before I saw that, but I loved the idea, and would like to take that idea a step further and have one of my owls carrying a real scroll. It wouldn’t be a duplicate of her card or anything like that, but I did get the idea from her. Would that be stealing her work though? Would it be enough to say "inspired by?" Beth R.

You know, Beth, I can’t presume/assume how others might view it–it is open to all kinds of interpretation–and after reading different articles, I don’t know that it can be defined/pinpointed/measured precisely.  I think in the case above, "inspired by" is a lovely gesture, since, as you said, it wouldn’t be a duplicate of her card.  Is it "necessary" or required?  No.  I guess, in part it’s how you feel about it . . . ???

For example, I received a card from a friend, and I fell in love with it and wanted to try one!  I did what I frequently refer to as a "Modified CASE", based on her design.  I used the exact same closure, la yout, size, shape, secured ribbon, and even placement of images and sentiment in the very same fashion–in fact, I think the only thing really different I did was to use different stamp images and a different color combo.  I shared it online, with prominent credit to her, for this inspiration, from which my creation was obviously derived.

In this instance, the artist felt appreciated, when I honored her with that credit; I guess it’s best described as a "courtesy" artists extend each other, over shared creations . . . (?)  To me, and maybe I’m alone in that (?), it’s a lovely way to extend appreciation to the artist that inspired me.

Have I always done this in the past? I’ll be honest and admit that, no, I didn’t–not until I began to understand the ramifications for, and the increasing concerns of, professionals in creative industries overall.

" . . . I’m not sure how to express myself without sounding ungracious, but here goes. There are many great bloggers and stampers out there who post wonderful tutorials and fabulous creative work. Once that tutorial has been posted, is it wrong of me to share those ideas? Would I take credit for that idea? NO! I didn’t make it up, and I won’t take credit for something I didn’t do, but I get so frustrated when my customers are constantly coming to me telling me all about what they’ve seen online, etc. Their tone is almost negative in that they imply that I’ve been holding out on them. . . . I also get frustrated when I try to find out the original source of an idea. On SCS, I read on gallery upload descriptions that someone got the idea from someone who got the idea from someone who…. you get the point.

It’s getting harder and harder to find that original source!

Sorry to ramble, but I’m just speaking from the perspective of someone who loves to stamp and wants to do the right thing!"–Vera

With the internet has come the  immediate transmission of all kinds of information. And, I agree:  there are many outstanding tutorials out there! 

(I choose not to publish tutorials at my blog.  Why?  Frankly, they’re time-consuming and a tedious amount of work to create, film, and then "publish".   But, that’s another discussion for another day!  LOL!)

Is it wrong of you to share your finished creations, based on what you learned from another’s tutorial?  Absolutely not!  More often than not, if I use any kind of complex technique in the creation of a project I post to the web, I simply refer folks to the same place where I learned the information, so the author receives due credit for their tutorial.   

With all the internet access practically every household has, I would agree that, for instructors, it has become mission impossible to foresee that which your students/customers have already seen, especially if they are avid stampers.   I don’t know any way around that, frankly, except to develop projects that aren’t widely available everywhere you turn on the internet.

As far as sourcing goes, we credit to the very best of our ability, and that’s all anyone can do.  I track back as far as I can find, but, it is reasonable to assume, that on occasion, mistakes are made, in that regard–it happens in magazines; once they discover or someone alerts them to the error, they print a correction.

"I’d like to know where the line is drawn if your art inspires me to try similar layouts and colors. SCS does a "Featured Stamper" challenge. CASE the artist’s original creation, but change 2 things. Is that the line? I’d love your opinion."–Susanna

It is my understanding that the Featured Stampers are contacted in advance, with a request for their artwork to be used specifically in this fashion; if the artist denies the request, it is honored.

I received a request from a very well-known professional paper crafting artist, a 2 Peas Garden Girl, to use certain pieces of my work, publicly on display in 2 Peas Galleries, as inspiration for projects to be featured in their Inspiration Gallery (I think that’s what it’s called), with a credit and link back to the originals.  I greatly appreciated the courtesy she extended me, and gladly granted permission.

In both the situations above, there is actually no "line" being crossed; it is simply a matter of artists extending courtesy (and professionalism) to each other.


"But is there a way to protect yourself, short of not sharing at all?"–Joyfulheartart

Because there are so many grey areas with regards to copyright issues, pursuing things legally to defend your rights can be far more costly than one can afford, and in some cases, not worth it.  And, in the end, we must rely heavily on a sense of ethics to guide everybody through the maze.

Unless issues of this kind are brought into the foreground for open discussion, there are many who are simply, and honestly, completely unaware.


discuss: tr.v.  dis·cussed, dis·cuss·ing, dis·cuss·es

1. To speak with another or others about; talk over.
2. To examine or consider (a subject) in speech or writing.

Again, I greatly appreciate those of you that came to participate in lively discussion, and did so without berating others who also participated, or their perspectives.  It is not an "easy" subject, and frequently cause for a lot of headache, at least for me, I know it is!  LOL!

I also wanted to thank those of you that have voluntarily donated support of Paper Trufflez, in any amount, at any time.  

I must admit that my purpose for launching the discussion and inviting participation, was to raise awareness on some compelling issues.

I am glad that you feel the artwork and insights shared here have been of value to you and I thank you for supporting Paper Trufflez.

{{{{{{{{{{MONDO HUGS}}}}}}}}}}

  1. You are such a delight and a lady at that. Your analogy of the car was just fine to me. I enjoyed the differing opinions when put out there as sincere questions from those like me who are newbies to this craft.

    I did notice a few children who weren’t playing nicely by the rules in the sandbox and can only say kudos to you for being so nice! Now isn’t that another great analogy to the post about the “bummer”. This is the best I can be/play. Again, thank you for the lessons.

  2. Years ago there were heavy discussions about the copyright issues in RUBBERSTAMPMADDNESS Magazine. It was about buying the stamp then not being able to use it for profitable gain ie craft sales etc… I remember reading some woman’s comment, “If I buy a pattern and make clothes and then sell it what’s the difference?” There are people who are going to understand and comply, and then there are people who will never understand what you are saying and run with your stuff and sell it.
    ***Im one of the understanding kind.***
    Thank you for allowing me to comment

  3. Jules – I READ EVERY WORD! {grin}

    I did want to point out about the Featured Stamper Challenge which takes place on Sundays at SCS. One of the reasons WHY I decided to hostess this challenge is because it brings the idea of casing to light. For the FS challenge – you are taking a project idea – but your are changing it (not drastically, but enough that you can see the changes). Each participant is supposed to LIST OUT the changes that they made in their own card. Most importantly, the participant is giving credit to the original stamper and links to the original card. That is common courtesy! And yes, each FS is contacted in advance to make sure that they want to “play”. It’s not the dirt pile, it’s more like a sandbox! {grin} What is incredible is the response to this challenge. The feedback that the featured stamper gets is AWESOME! It’s like your birthday/Christmas and halloween all rolled into one! You get the gift of all kinds of eye candy, plus you get to hear all kinds of wonderful things about your work and how it inspires people.

    Julie – it is so important that you are bringing this topic to the forefront! YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR BABY!

  4. Yes, the link does work — I think you have the techno part down! You also got it down when you said that the law is not terribly helpful. It sets the minimum standards but enforcement in the courts is not practical for most folks. That’s why these discussions are helpful. In part it is preaching to the choir, but if enough folks do it often enough, these things tend to seep into the ethos of our culture — just takes time. The internet is wonderful, but brings a HOST of issues, doesn’t it??

  5. Very well said Julie. Again, I’m glad you are shedding light on all the questions that were brought up on this issue. It’s much appreciated

  6. I’ve really enjoyed this discussion – and as you say, the fact that it has taken place without any bashing of others. I love a good debate, especially with intelligent debaters who allow for differing opinions.

    Consider my conscience level raised….

  7. thank you, Julie!

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