Wednesday, March 11, 2009

To share, or not to share...that is the question.

I'm not going to mention any names here, but a question was raised on a forum that I visit regarding the selling of stamped images on one of the auction sites.  The consensus seems to be that this shouldn't be allowed.  This discussion also raised the question of whether or not we should stamp images for others and/or share our stamps.  Here is my stand on these issues.

First of all, regarding the selling of stamped images:  Although I don't think it's ethical to do this, I don't think it's illegal either.  Most stamp companies state that you are not allowed to mechanically reproduce their images, but they don't say that you can't sell what you've stamped.  Unless they do that, selling the images isn't illegal.  As I say about most things, though:  Just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should.

Now, regarding the sharing of stamped images and/or sharing stamps: 
The idea that this is any type of copyright infringement, or that it is unethical/illegal, is preposterous.  If I purchase something, and I want to share it with or lend it to my friend, I have every right to do so.  I'm not making money from someone else's work, and I'm not preventing my friend from purchasing the products.  In fact, maybe if she likes it, she'll buy her own.  I might actually be doing some free advertising for this company.  Maybe I should ask to be compensated.  Maybe I should tell my friend, "I'm sorry, but I can't lend you that stamp for those baby shower invitations you're making.  The company wants you to buy your own."

We must draw the line when it comes to companies trying to tell us what we can and can't do with what we purchase.  It's bad enough that many stamp companies don't want you to sell the things you make with their tools (yes, stamps are tools to me), but telling me that it's wrong to share my things with others because I'm taking money out of their pockets is going too far.

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