CustomCakesBySharon Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 6:46pm
post #1 of

ok guys, i've been wondering if i should post this or not....i looked around and couldn't find any other threads on this topic (hope i didn't overlook one already out there - there's so many)

recently, i had a lady email me about the cheeseburger cupcakes that i made for my son's kindergarten class this year.....i posted them here as well as on my website back in june.....here's what her email said...

"It has come to my attention that you have recreated our cheeseburger cupcake design and posted it on your business website. We have gone to great lengths with legal representation to protect our designs from being copied and sold. Recreating our designs with the intent to sell is a violation of the copyright and intellectual property law that protects our work. Typically before someone copies a design, they contact the owner for permission which I have not received. Upon viewing your website, you uploaded the pic in June well after our design was originally posted on our website. This design which includes the fondant slice of cheese can be found nowhere else but with us. We respectfully ask that you remove the pic from your business website in a timely manner. As a baker and cake decorator, I am sure you understand the hard involved in creating new and exciting designs for your clients and the need to protect them from being copied. Thank you for your understanding in this matter and wish your business the best of luck."

can u do that? can you put a copyright on a cake design? i emailed her back and apologized that she thinks i copied her design.....i honestly had never seen any of her cupcakes until that email.....i got the basic concept from this site and made the cupcakes in my own style.....plus i didn't even sell them - they were for my son's kindergarten class!!! i told her that if she indeed has the design protected, that i would gladly take down the pic - i asked her to send me the copyright number/info and haven't heard back yet

i'm assuming that she found the pic of my cupcakes on this site and went to my website from my info here......i wonder if she's contact any of you guys.....anyone else that's made these & posted them to ur website heard from her?

thx everyone!
sharon

149 replies
tiptop57 Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:09pm
post #2 of

Honestly, this is not a unique design. I'd contact a lawyer.

kelleym Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:13pm
post #3 of

I don't think you can copyright an "idea". It sounds to me like she got her knickers in a twist because she thinks you copied her design. I would wait for documentation of her copyright before I would believe it. Those cupcakes are very cute, but as the old saying goes, "there is nothing new under the sun".

Wiltonlady Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:24pm
post #4 of

You know what we need at CC? A lawyer/cake decorator who's specialty is in US copyright law. Anyone?

Laura102777 Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:24pm
post #5 of

Seriously, if you made cheeseburger cupcakes that somehow had the Golden Arches on a wrapper or something, then I can see how McDonalds could take action, but plain cheeseburger cupcakes??? Yours are adorable, by the way. I just can't imagine why anybody would get so bent out of shape because somebody else made a similar cupcake to theirs.

JoAnnB Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:28pm
post #6 of

didn't they do one just like that on Warren Brown's show, Sugar rush?

I would reply with "I do understand you want to protect your design, but I actually copied a design from a cake I saw on FOODNETWORK."

marcy11 Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:32pm
post #7 of

I do not believe for one second that she is the only person ever who has made a cheese slice out of fondant.... Give me a break! I guess some people have nothing better to do than bother someone else. Your cheeseburger cupcakes are adorable by the way!!! How can someone say they have a copyright on that, or most cakes for that matter? If they could have the idea, millions of other people could too!

I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. first of all, if she really had a copyright, she would have jumped at the chance to send it to you proving it. She seems like the type of person that would not waste any time to prove it. I am so glad I came across this post, because it drives me crazy when people are like that.

Cookie_Brookie Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:32pm
post #8 of

Seriously???!!! What kind of crap is that! She is obviously not an educated person to not know what a copyright law is.

Doug Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:32pm
post #9 of

based on info at this site:
http://www.copyright.gov/register/visual.html

most likely NOT possible to copyright.


and as for "no where but us" google search tells a far different story.

jessireb Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:33pm

It looks like a real hamburger to me. I think you should wait for her documentation before removing it from your website. I don't know if you can copyright an idea and if that were the case none of us would be able to think for ourselves, as many can come up with a similar idea. As far as copying her cheese, I would have done the same thing without getting it from another source. Cheese is yellow and flat so fondant would have been my first thought.

But in the end we must follow the law and it is now up to her to provide the proof.

CustomCakesBySharon Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:35pm

thx guys! i feel lots better now! icon_biggrin.gif i was really worried....everyone loves those cupcakes and i'd really hate to take the pic down....and that was my thinking 'how the heck can she copyright an idea i've seen done a million times?!' if it was her pic that i was posting, that's one thing.....but i made them! icon_lol.gif

Wiltonlady - right on! we need a CC lawyer around to answer all copyright/business/legal questions!!! thumbs_up.gif

thx again for all ur support!

julesn20716 Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:37pm

I would send her a link to every cupcake cheeseburger you can find. Even my local grocery store sells cheeseburger cupcakes - did she copy them from Safeway???????? How on earth can she believe that she invented fondant "cheese"?

FeGe_Cakes Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:37pm

I would not be too concerned. I think you did great about asking for the copyright number, then you would remove your design from your website.

Every one copies ideas, unless it is trademarked or has a copyright. If you are truly concerned, contact a lawer which specializes in Copyrights and/or Trademarks.

CustomCakesBySharon Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:43pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessireb

It looks like a real hamburger to me. I think you should wait for her documentation before removing it from your website. I don't know if you can copyright an idea and if that were the case none of us would be able to think for ourselves, as many can come up with a similar idea.




haha, that's what my friend said.....after telling her about this, she called to play a prank on me.....i answered and she said 'ah yes, i was calling because u've posted a cake on ur website that i feel needs to be removed. u see, i thought up that idea in my head last week and i believe u stole it with ur psychic abilities' icon_lol.gif

i love u guys! thumbs_up.gif

tiptop57 Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:43pm

Ohhhhhhh Noooooooo
My first post is wrong.....if she can prove hers was published first and if she can prove she filed a copyright she is in the right regardless if you came to the same design independently.

The courts apply three basic criteria to determine the existence of an "original work."

1. Originality: The work must be independently created by the author, but it need not be novel.

2. Creativity: The work must possess a minimal degree of creativity.

3. Fixation in a tangible medium: This refers to the actual expression of an idea, rather than the idea itself. This occurs when the work appears, by or under the authority of the author, in a sufficiently permanent state to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated to others.

I would contact a lawyer immediately.

FeGe_Cakes Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:44pm

I would not be too concerned. I think you did great about asking for the copyright number, then you would remove your design from your website.

Every one copies ideas, unless it is trademarked or has a copyright. If you are truly concerned, contact a lawer which specializes in Copyrights and/or Trademarks.

julesn20716 Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:50pm

I just did a quick search in the galleries and there are 6 cheeseburger cupcakes - all of which have fondant cheese! Not original at all.

Maria071 Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:53pm

You do not need a lawyer she doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Here's a good example:

Another example, suppose you had an idea for a movie about an African prince who comes to the U.S. to find a bride, and you wrote it into a story outline. The written story would qualify for copyright protection. However, under copyright, there is nothing to prevent another author from using that same idea to do his or her own movie script. To protect your "idea" you could insist upon entering into a confidentiality agreement before disclosing the idea to anyone, thus protecting your idea as a "trade secret".

This very thing happened to Art Buchwald, the humorist. Buchwald presented his story outline about an African prince to a movie studio. Then the studio ripped it off and produced "Coming to America" with Eddie Murphy. Buchwald sued the studio for breach of its agreement with him. The court found that Buchwalds idea was protected through the confidentiality agreement he was smart enough to insist on before disclosing the idea to the studio. If it can happen to someone famous, it can also happen to you.

SharonZ Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:57pm

I asked that very question to the copyright office in March of this year. This is the reply I received.
Sharon

There would have to be original 2- or 3-dimensional artistic elements in order for the cake design to be registerable. If there is an original 2-dimensional pictorial work applied to the cake, or if the cake has a unique shape that has original sculptural elements, the "work" may be eligible for protection.

Please see http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl103.html for further information.

kansaslaura Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 7:58pm

I had to laugh out loud at this one. I've been doing cheeseburger cakes before I ever had an internet connection. It was something I thought would be cute for my DH's 10th b'day and since then I've made a bunch of them.. complete with peanut butter fudge french fries!!

No, she can NOT copywrite that. It is not a unique or orginal "idea" It doesn't take much to come up with using yellow fondant for cheese. Please!! She needs to unbunch her panites and learn to choose her battles more carefully! icon_rolleyes.gif

CustomCakesBySharon Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 8:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiptop57

Ohhhhhhh Noooooooo
My first post is wrong.....if she can prove hers was published first and if she can prove she filed a copyright she is in the right regardless if you came to the same design independently.

The courts apply three basic criteria to determine the existence of an "original work."

1. Originality: The work must be independently created by the author, but it need not be novel.

2. Creativity: The work must possess a minimal degree of creativity.

3. Fixation in a tangible medium: This refers to the actual expression of an idea, rather than the idea itself. This occurs when the work appears, by or under the authority of the author, in a sufficiently permanent state to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated to others.

I would contact a lawyer immediately.




wow, what research! thx again! thumbs_up.gif

CustomCakesBySharon Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 8:03pm

kansaslaura - peanut butter fudge french fries?! mmmmmmmmm, what a great idea! don't sue me if i use it, okay? icon_lol.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 8:03pm

Yes, most definitely ask for copyright information. That's funny - Whoopie pies have been getting made for over 100 years, so now they think they invented something because they painted it a different color? So now, this person wants to take you on because they came up with a glorified whoopie pie?

And on top of that, there are so very many cheeseburger cakes around, that they would have to sue all of us!

PM the web address of these people to me. I want to see theirs.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

nrctermite Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 8:14pm

I had a cheeseburger cake from Publix bakery about 8 or so years ago wonder if they copied from this lady too??

southerncake Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 8:14pm

This is crazy!!!

I think the first cheeseburger cake I did with fondant cheese was in 2001 or 2002 and have the pictures to prove it. The directions used to be on Earlene Moore's site and probably still are -- they have been on there for years!!! I'm sure they were there long before this chick posted them to her website!!

I could understand if this were some revolutionary cupcake or cake that had never been seen, but cheeseburgers!!!!

ckkerber Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 8:22pm

I agree with most everyone here. She is totally in the wrong. Email her a list of all of the cheeseburger cupcake sites you find through google and explain to her that you've never even SEEN hers before. Thank her for admiring your work and tell her you're quite proud of yours and are glad people are noticing them. But ask her to refrain from sending you inane emails that have more holes in them than a sponge cake.

playingwithsugar Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 8:23pm

Something I did learn this week, which I will share with all of you. All materials that are copyrighted in the US are cataloged in the Library of Congress. Therefore, if the item is truly copyrighted, you would be able to go to the LOC and look at it. To claim a copyright that does not exist is punishable for misrepresentation under federal law.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

RoseCitySugarcraft Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 8:27pm

ok, if this IS indeed a case of copyright infringement (which, arguably, it sounds like it is NOT), then why would this woman not have had her lawyer contact you in a "formal cease and desist order" context? That's how these things are done in the "real" world...not in a "Hey! You stole my idea! Stop it!" manner.

Sounds not entirely on the up-and-up to me...GEEEEEZ, the nerve of some people!

FeGe_Cakes Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 8:28pm

Not sure if all copyrights are searchable but you can do a search on this website if she provides you more information:

http://www.copyright.gov/records/

But of course she would have responded if she did.

zenu Posted 6 Jul 2007 , 8:30pm

I have an old Betty Crocker cookbook for Kids from 1979! My mom got it for me and I loved it- I still treasure it as a special momento. Well, in that book is a recipe for a Cheeseburger Cake and a picture of the finished product! Trust me! Cheeseburger cupcakes and Cheeseburger cakes are not unique designs! I think that lady is nuts!

By the way- those cupcakes are sooooo cute- I love them!

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