Morality In Cake Decorating

Decorating By harrisonsmama Updated 24 Aug 2007 , 2:10am by marthajo1

MommyEdzards Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 12:46am
post #61 of 114

I am so HAPPY to see Cakebaker with such an awesome attitude!! I LOVE her cakes!!! I try to be as original as I can.....but there is always the customers who bring you a picture and want THAT cake. As hard as I try, it never looks exactly like the original, and I will give credit where credit is due.
I would be flattered if someone copied my design..... but I am most likely "not in that race" icon_lol.gif


KitchenKat Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 1:13am
post #62 of 114

I just always try to give credit where it's due. I'm a beginner so I don't have a huge portfolio. When a customer asks for a design I've never done before, I email her pictures I pull from the net, CC included. I specifically note that the cake I make her will be inspired by these designs. I tag the pictures with the line "lion cake by so and so". I tell the customer "I didn't make this cake but I can make you one similar to it. It will be inspired by this cake this but it's not going to be an exact copy. I can guarantee that the quality for the finished cake will be as good as or better than the one in the picture." I only use pictures of cakes I know I can make just as good or better.

I figure that people who post pictures online know that others will copy them or draw inspiration from them. The net makes pictures available to all for viewing. I could give my customer a bunch of links to click on but attaching the photos is just an easier way of presenting information.

I do think that passing pictures off as your own or using them uncredited s truly unethical. No excuses.

On the issue of posting recipes, what makes it any different from lending your book to a friend and her copying (writing down) recipes she likes?

The internet is a minefield of copyright issues. My lawyer friends and friends in publishing say the law hasn't caught up with the internet yet and probably never will.

JodieF Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 1:16am
post #63 of 114

I think a lot of you VERY artistic people don't realize is that there are many of us out there that could never visualize and "invent" an original design! I'm one of those people! I'm amazed at those of you who can take an idea and turn it into a gorgeous cake. It baffles me that you can see a ribbon, a color, an ornament, a ANYTHING, picture a cake in your head and then create it! I just don't have that ability. icon_smile.gif

That's why it thrills me to see all the cakes in the gallery! I can't come up with an original cake, but it's SO helpful to see the wonderfully creative cakes YOU'VE made! I can see what colors look great together. I can go "wow....those stripes are perfect that way!". It never occured to me to make booties out of fondant, or snowmen, or what fun you could have with an impression mat and little cookie cutters until I found this site and all your cakes!

Believe me, it's a HUGE compliment if I try to recreate one of your cakes! I do it because I'm so impressed with what you made! That's my intention, anyway....... thumbs_up.gif

BCJean Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 1:33am
post #64 of 114

First....I do not do works of art to enter in a contest. I decorate cakes which are to be eaten and enjoyed as such.
Coming up with the design is the fun part of decorating for me and once I have done it I am ready to start planning the next design.
Once a design has been done....all of the cakes made after that are no longer originals...they are copies, even if it is the original decorator making it.
If I was going to advertise that I do only original designs..I would use it on a cake one time and never repeat it again. For the hundreds of decorators and customers who do not care if their design is original..they can copy my old designs as many times as they want. I am finished with them and ready to move on to the next creation.
You should be very proud if you are able to come up with original designs...not every decorator can do that. Let's give them a break and let them try to recreate a cake which was original the first time it was made and is now up for grabs.
I would think if you were making an original design you also would not want to use molds, cutters, mats, or anything else in the making of it, as that is using what someone else came up with.
I also do not allow my photographs to be used and claimed by someone else as their own. My designs, copy all you want. It is like someone else said earlier, you can paint Mona Lisa...and sell it, you just can't state that your painting was done by have to sign your name to it.

jeffer01 Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 1:35am
post #65 of 114

1st ....sonoma9 - well said, I agree with you. I love seeing all the designs posted in the gallery. You all give me such inspiration! I am the 1st to admit I am learning and I love looking for ideas and tips to help me learn!

I would never copy someone's pic and say it was mine! I may attempt to decorate a cake in the image of another cake, but NO ONE can ever duplicate another's work. That is impossible! And it was mentioned earlier that you should ask for permission to use someone's idea, design, cake, etc. before attempting. Well,,,,,,I have asked before (by PM) on several occasions and the CCer's never answered my pm. What do you do then??????? icon_rolleyes.gif Do you forget about trying a new design because the person didn't answer you and give you permission?

RRGibson Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 1:37am
post #66 of 114

I'm in it for the business of it as well but I mean geesh, who gets to put a copyright on a design? I hate to say it's just a cake because I know how people hate that but even if it's your likelihood, it's still just a cake! A cake that you are going to make and your customer is going to love whether you came up with the design on your own or if it was inspired by another one or if the customer asked you for a specific design, etc. Like someone mentioned earlier, 9 times out of 10, no design that you even think is original really is. Somebody somewhere has done it before.

Again, I in no way, shape or form condone stealing another person's pictures. I believe that is completely dishonest. Before I would even think of doing something like that, I would just make my own and photograph it.

alanahodgson Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 2:11am
post #67 of 114

[quote="BCJean"]First....I do not do works of art to enter in a contest. quote]

someone recently asked me for advice on making the cake that is in my avatar. She said she's trying to come up with an idea for the fair and was thinking about using my cake as an idea. I don't mind sharing but I was a little put off by the fact that she would be entering a cake she didn't design into a competition. I have to say that cake was certainly not my idea, I got inspiration from others here at CC (and Collete Peters, of course). I thought to myself, "I guess its ok. She probably does not live in Michigan". Of course if she took the idea and made it her own, that's ok.

indydebi Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 2:14am
post #68 of 114

Does fair judging include original design or just decorating skill and technique? I've never entered in one so I don't know if this is a criteria or not.

tobycat Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 2:20am
post #69 of 114
Originally Posted by tiptop57

Don't worry Sonoma9 I won't sling mud, but want you to know I can have an attitude and you're entitled to your opinion. icon_lol.gif No matter what way we look at it...a knock off is a knock off......whether your the artist or the decorator and have an attitude or not - right?

And yes, there are attitudes, icon_biggrin.gif (And mine is a biggie,) but I believe I earned the right. I'm past practicing "decorating" cakes, I now create and design cakes and sugar sculptures. And then put them in Art Shows. I spent 6 years in college with a Master degree in Art and paid for it with my own hard earned money. Whereas there are other wonderful artists that set-up their bakery and sweated over their business and earned their bragging rights also.

It's all a matter of how we define ourselves. icon_wink.gif

"We all know plenty of people that don't qualify in the race also but also have big it goes both ways. icon_biggrin.gif "

You know I LOVE you work! You have a right to be proud of your accomplishments too. And, I very much appreciate your sense of lightheartedness/attitude all at once. YOU are NOT obnoxious! That's what I really can't stand.

That said, I've been thinking about since I went to the gym and had a kid-free hour to think --

Most of us are in the amateur/quasi-professional-but-not-famous brackets. We are a big pond (the amateur/quasi-pro-but-not-famous group, and most of us couldn't make a Colette Peters or Mike Mcleary (forgive the spelling) as well as they do. Otherwise, we'd be in their bracket -- the super-famous-highly-talented-amazingly creative/inventive-paid-a-fortune-for-a-cake club. If I were in the top tier, I would never recreate someone else's cake because that would be an peer-level no-no. It would be embarrassingto do that if I were on that level.

But, I, being a humble home baker, would have no problem trying to replicate a pro's cake for someone who wanted it. That said, I recognize that people on cc really get into their creations, so if I use someone's design, I give credit - though sometimes I forget exactly where I saw it because I didn't save the pic. But, that's a courtesy and a nod to everyone's hard work -- not because I think it's immoral.

At the end of the day, there are no copyrights allowed on a cake design. You just can't say that you are someone else who made it. It would be like replicating a Monet and then selling it with the fake Monet signature you put on it. As long as you don't call it a Monet, you can paint it.

Okay, I'm almost finished icon_smile.gif If you've read this far, I'm amazed and flattered! icon_smile.gif The only 2 immoral things I think someone can do on cc or elsewhere is to publish an actual pic and pass if off as their own or to copy a cake and then in the description lie and say that they created it all by themselves when they know in their heart that they didn't -- if that's the case. THAT is immoral. And a lie like that betters no one. It cheapens your potentially beautiful work and dampens your spirit.

Ok -- offically stepping of my soapbox.... no self-righteous attitude -- just a long-winded gal who knows it and has stopped trying to hold my breath!


luvtocreate Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 2:23am
post #70 of 114

I agree with cakebaker. There could be more than one person creating a cake that they feel is a unique design only to see it someplace else.

My son had a TMNT birthday theme. When trying to design a "unique " cake for his birthday I thought of a turtle coming out of a manhole cover.

After joining CC I searched for TMNT cakes to see what "other" designs I would find. And there it was, the cake I had envisioned. Made me realize that many people can and will envision the same thing when designing a cake or anything else. And here I thought I had a creative mind icon_biggrin.gif .

( by the way, hers was awesome)

Taking a picture and passing it on as your own is wrong. However, I don't believe that using a desgin for inspiration is wrong as long as you give credit to where it is due.

snarkybaker Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 2:26am
post #71 of 114

For the love of Duff people.........IT'S CAKE No one is taking a kidney from your dying 8 year old. No one is reposessing your house.

If you you post a bunch of pictures on the net....someone is going to poach them, either another decorator or a bride that will take your picture to her aunt Tillie to be copied.

That's why the rules of sales are " First, sell yourself, then sell your company, THEN sell your product" If you've done this well, you'll have no problems. The one thing your client can't get elsewhere is YOU!

cake-angel Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 2:28am
post #72 of 114

I guess this is why I do not spend too much time browsing the gallery. Any cakes that I have seen tend to be forgotten by me and I might have vague memories of colors or shapes but not details by any means. I have noticed though for instance that when I made Cinderella's carriage for my daughter's birthday I thought I was being original. Then 3 days later I saw a carriage that was a million times better than mine posted and was in awe. It just goes to show that with me never seeing a carriage cake before and thinking I was so clever -- another person somewhere out there had the same idea and made one. It gets difficult to give credit to people if you do not even know another cake similar to yours exists.
Besides that -- I don't mind people trying to copy cakes of mine. Go for it. I will give you whatever details you want. I personally choose not to look at the galleries too much because i like to create my cakes specific to a person and sometimes spend months perfecting the design in my head. I have that luxury because I am a hobby baker (never sell my cakes).
I basically fall into the oppinion that taking a posted photo of someone elses work and declaring it to be your own is definately wrong!! I can't seem to find fault with people for imitating design elements or even a whole cake as long as it was made by their own two hands and not just a photo they stole and put their name on. I don't expect to be noted as inspiration but would be quite flattered if I was.

step0nmi Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 2:30am
post #73 of 114
Originally Posted by txkat

For the love of Duff people.........IT'S CAKE No one is taking a kidney from your dying 8 year old. No one is reposessing your house.

If you you post a bunch of pictures on the net....someone is going to poach them, either another decorator or a bride that will take your picture to her aunt Tillie to be copied.

That's why the rules of sales are " First, sell yourself, then sell your company, THEN sell your product" If you've done this well, you'll have no problems. The one thing your client can't get elsewhere is YOU!

While that is true...there is a positive, delightful community here! If we are respectful of one another stays that way! If we start just taking and not including the person you receive, inspiration, design, or otherwise you are breaking that positiveness that we all posses!

indydebi Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 2:35am
post #74 of 114
Originally Posted by txkat

For the love of Duff people.........IT'S CAKE No one is taking a kidney from your dying 8 year old. No one is reposessing your house.

If you you post a bunch of pictures on the net....someone is going to poach them, either another decorator or a bride that will take your picture to her aunt Tillie to be copied.

That's why the rules of sales are " First, sell yourself, then sell your company, THEN sell your product" If you've done this well, you'll have no problems. The one thing your client can't get elsewhere is YOU!

At the end of this very long thread, we finally have it .... the whole thing in a nutshell!

BINGO, txkat!

(bolding added by me in txkat's quote above)

tiptop57 Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 2:53am
post #75 of 114

See Txkat that is where I can repectfully disagree with you, but do understand where you are saying. But you probably haven't met the likes of me before icon_cool.gif me it is not just cake. It is sugar art and sugar sculptures. I traded in ceramics and media arts to create my pieces. I had a ten year dry spell in my studio until I found sugar and cake and now I'm there every day. To me, its about my creations and they are my life blood and my art! Check out my blog and you will see how Ms. Muse tickles my creative bone. To some it is more then just cake! And to people like me it is not clients, or a company but art shows, juries, selection, grants and awards and being recognized as a artist - ALWAYS. icon_wink.gif But in the end I believe just like Sonoma9 that there are no copy rights on a cake, but don't pass off some elses work with your signature either!

....and indydebi I quess I'm the exception to the nutshell rule. icon_rolleyes.gif Right?

indydebi Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 2:59am
post #76 of 114

tiptop, with your talent, you're just the exception, period! thumbs_up.gif

tiptop57 Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 3:11am
post #77 of 114

Thanks Indydebi thumbs_up.gif And you certainly win on the business side like nobody else! Ahhh if only I could deal with bridezilla's and future MIL's and pricing like you do........

nefgaby Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 3:20am
post #78 of 114

I do the happy dance when someone asks if they can "copy" one of my cakes!!!!!!! I get sooo excited! And well, I'm not nearly as talented as most CCers here but I did have an issue with a fellow CCer... (actually, my sister did, with one of my cakes, she is my personal cake police) she came across a pic a fellow CCer had posted and was EXACTLY my cake (SB on my photos and avatar) down to the border and then she claimed it was her unique and original design (or something like that, I honestly don't remember) oh well... let her/him have it!
I know I did NOT come up with SB but it sure was MY take on it.
Anyway, I do go to the gallery for inspiration and when I see I cake I really like and want to "copy" I do PM the person and ask for permition and then thank them when I post the cake.
As many have already said, there is nothing new under the sun and we all go to each other for ideas.
Now, to take a picture (of someones cake) and claim it is MY cake, ohhh BIG no no!

edited for spelling... icon_redface.gif

lovely Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 3:43am
post #79 of 114
Originally Posted by maria892

We had a noodle salad going around that was so popular EVERYONe was making it.

Ohhh yes, I remember the noodle or asian salad. Everyone made it too death. detective.gif
Sorry back to the cakes


Phoov Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 3:56am
post #80 of 114

....First, forgive me for not reading every post on this thread. I may be repeating the sentiments of several. This whole thing just makes me double over laughing. IT IS A LIE TO CALL SOMEONE'S PHOTO OF THEIR ORIGINAL WORK YOUR OWN. THAT IS WRONG....BUT, IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE COPIED.....OR BE AN INSPIRATION TO SOMEONE ELSE, THEY WHY THE %^&* DO YOU PUT YOUR PHOTOS ONLINE????? lololOLOLOLOLool There is very little new under the sun.... We all are inspired by others whom we admire in whatever medium we choose to create. For goodness sakes ~ grow up and be nice! Be flattered of someone chooses to emulate your fine artistry. SHARE!!!!! I've been around this site for long enough to have heard this topic make the rounds many times. The end result is always the same. Cake Central is about sharing ideas. Like it or leaveicon_smile.gif))))))))) Quite sincerely ---- phoov.

jtallen4 Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 3:56am
post #81 of 114

As a designer, you just have to be flattered that people get inspired by your work. I'm a former graphic artist and my husband is a pool designer and we all looked at magazines and advertisements to get our next new idea. Even big companies get ideas from their competitors. I think it's silly if people take offense to others mimicking their original creation and making it their own.

Cassie1686 Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 4:12am
post #82 of 114

great points phoov. I am very surprised at how heated this topic always becomes . . . . to me, it just seems SO obvious that we are all here to help each other and take ideas from others to use in our own work. I used to be a hairdresser and it used to infuriate me when other hairdressers would try to trademark their techniques. I was always open to sharing my trade secrets, if it helps someone else in their business, good for them!! We all need a helping hand or a mentor at one time or another. I was confident in my work and that my clients were loyal to me so I had no problem helping others. I would take it as a compliment if someone copied my work rather than feeling that someone was "stealing" ideas or creations from me.

twooten173 Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 4:18am
post #83 of 114

Take from this what you will....
I was recently at the Louvre in Paris and an artist actually got permission from the gallery to copy a picture. I mean stand in the middle of the floor, look at a picture, and paint it exaclty. I watched him for a little while and found significant differences from his version and the original.

Even when you try to copy someone's work, it comes out at least a little different in the end.

BTW.... I give credit to "my CC crew" when I copy - or at least attempt to - one of your cakes. Thanks!

springlakecake Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 12:14pm
post #84 of 114

I use people's cakes as inspiration all the time. I never thought of it as wrong or inconciderate, but after reading this thread I realize that some people do take it personally. I always give credit to my inspiration, because I just feel it is the right thing to do, especially if it is a near copy of a design. But still I hope no one has been offended. I personally feel flattered when someone uses my cake as inspiration...I will admit is is nice to receive credit for it too! I think a lot of problems would be solved if people took the time to note the decorator of a design before posting their pics. I just go back and look in "my favorites." It is usually that easy!

harrisonsmama Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 12:47pm
post #85 of 114

Wow, I am so surprised at all of the response to this topic. This has been a great education for me. I have learned that should I use a cake on this site for inspiration and then post a picture, I should credit my muse. An unwritten rule, but certainly good form. I must admit that I have never copied a cake- but I browse the gallery to learn when the well runs dry. I also own (I kid you not) every freaking cake decorating book on the planet. I am a visual learner.

I think CC is such a great resource and when I am in a pinch and post a "help" topic- I thank my lucky stars that I have all of you to call on. I have learned from the best here on CC, both professionally and artistically. So, thank you to all who post not just to show off your work and talent, but to teach.

Oh, and if someone ever copies one of my cakes- I will raise my glass and toast. The best form of flattery!

spongemomsweatpants Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 1:25pm
post #86 of 114

I have to agree...this is just silly. icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Stop taking your selves so seriously, honestly, life is too short thumbs_up.gif

We have cakes that look like cars...Ford or Chevy isn't getting their panties in a bunch. We have cakes that look like pocket books and shoes...the designers arent getting their panties in a bunch...We have cakes that look like crowns...the queen mother isn't getting into a tizzy... why we even have cakes that look like cameras icon_wink.gif wonderful cakes no question...but original designs?? I don't think so. Nikon isn't getting all worked up are they?
Yes you did not use their exact design or logo but is it a close resemblance? Of course it is. Conversantly when someone takes inspiration from one of your designs how is it any different? I have yet to see two cakes come out exactly the same, like was previously mentioned not even from the same designer.

Taking someones picture and claiming it to be yours is wrong, using someone elses design as inspiration is human...and very much a part of art. Just like Life imitates art, so too does art imitate life.

tiptop57 Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 1:35pm
post #87 of 114

Note to Cassie1686 - Hmmm heated topic? I really didn't read heat. Did anyone else? icon_wink.gif I read good sound beliefs and personal insight maybe, but nooo real heat. And I think this thread clarified a lot of group beliefs here at CC that needed to be clarified such as:

**That almost everyone agrees that we use other avenues and sources for inspiration and to tickle our Muse, such as CC, books and other websites.

**That we almost all agree that when a design seems to really favor another artist that you give credit to that person for their design and for their inspiration because it is good form.

**Finally, that we all agree that using someone else picture and claiming it as your own is a copyright violation and a strict no-no.

Side note to Harrisonsmama - You don't own every book - I do!!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Side note to Spongemomsweatpants - Yup, yup Nikon better not get worked up by my Avatar camera cake cuz it's a Pentax! Haha. icon_rolleyes.gif

harrisonsmama Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 1:39pm
post #88 of 114

tiptop- Oh yeah? Hee hee. Yes, I agree, this has definitely cleared up the unwritten rules of conduct in our trade, which was precisely the point. The whole pictures stealing thread really got me thinking, and I wanted to put the question out there.

spongemomsweatpants Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 1:40pm
post #89 of 114

"Side note to Spongemomsweatpants - Yup, yup Nikon better not get worked up by my Avatar camera cake cuz it's a Pentax! Haha."

I stand corrected

(lol shows how much I pay attention)

Cassie1686 Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 1:55pm
post #90 of 114

I consider six pages of opinions in one day "heated". Yes, all good points, I'm not trying to imply that anyone is getting out of control. I can just see that many people feel incredibly passionate about this. I also think that most of us came in to this discussion agreeing with your points as far as giving credit, copyright laws, etc. Most of us aren't disputing any of that. I was just surprised to see the few people that said they do not even want people to use their ideas. That, IMO, is borderline arrogant to expect no one to ever use your idea on a cake whether it is across country or down the street. If someone feels that threatened by others using their ideas, like indydebi said, you had better start working on your people skills and business skills. Because, there will ALWAYS be someone better than you.

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