Copyrights?

Business By l80bug79 Updated 20 Jul 2008 , 6:13am by kimmypooh79

l80bug79 Posted 8 Jul 2008 , 7:32pm
post #1 of 62

ok. where can I find info about it? what applies? what can I and can't I do?

thanks

61 replies
JoAnnB Posted 8 Jul 2008 , 7:38pm
post #2 of 62

Most characters in movies, books, tv, comics are protected by copyright. You can use them in your home for family, but you cannot reproduce and sell the image in any form.

The cake pans wilton sells (disney, etc) are for home use only and cannot be sold. It would not inlcude the lamb or doll, etc.

Any symbol that represents a company would also be protected, like a Coke label or other recognizable design.


You can add toys to cakes to represent the character, like cars or dolls. And, if you have a licensed business, there are companies that sell kits for decorating with these themes. Decopac is one.

TexasSugar Posted 8 Jul 2008 , 8:12pm
post #3 of 62

You can not reproduce a copyrighted image on a cake in any way shape or form. So that means no cake shaped like Micky, no FBCT, no Chocolate Transfer, Royal icing or Color flow piece, no candy clay or fondant/gumpaste figures, no home made edible images...

You can purchase an edible image of an image. I would also say you can use toys, but I'm not sure there is an agreement here on those.

mija10417 Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 8:40pm
post #4 of 62

I have a silly question...same goes for purse cakes like Coach, Chanel or LV? I see a lot of these on cake decorators websites.

JoAnnB Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 9:44pm
post #5 of 62

It would be unlawful to sell them.

mageliza Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 4:46am
post #6 of 62

Are there any real/widely known examples of someone being tracked down by Disney for copyright infringement that can be documented here? Aside from the ethical issues, what is the risk? I've never heard of anyone getting in trouble for selling a Pooh cake.

kelleym Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 4:57am
post #7 of 62

I have heard several anecdotal stories of cake makers being caught. Disney in particular is extremely vigorous about protecting its copyrights (in all forms, not just cake), and the fine by law is up to $50,000. Is it worth the risk?

Here's a story where they sued a mom-and-pop party place for using unlicensed costumes:
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/florida/orl-disney1008jul10,0,6764273.story

Video:
http://www.wftv.com/video/16824445/index.html

And here, they threatened to sue a stonemason over an image of Winnie the Pooh on a stillborn infant's headstone:

http://www.boingboing.net/2006/06/25/disney-we-willwont-s.html

Don't mess with the Mouse, yo.

mageliza Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 5:25am
post #8 of 62

ouch. enough said.

RobzC8kz Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 5:31am
post #9 of 62

It's rediculous to say that you cannot reproduce an image, likeness, or widely recognized symbol or character as a cake!! Not saying that I don't believe it's "Illegal" to do so...I'm saying it's stupid to sue a cake decorator for making a cake look like something popular.

I mean, the purpose of these copyrights is to protect the company from infringement of their products by competing companies selling similar products. If Coke started using Pepsi's symbol on thier cans but just used red and white instead of red, white, blue, then that's a valid case of copyright infringement.

To say that a company like Nike has a legal leg to stand on when suing a cake decorator for putting the "swish" on a cake is pushing it too far. And unfortunately, in this country...all we do is push things too far.

Unless these companies each had a baking division that pumped out licensed reproductions of LV purses, Channel bags, Coke cans, Iron Man cakes, etc and we as decorators were competing against them by using their own images and corporate mascots and selling them for significantly less than they do, how could someone be sued?

What about Vons and Ralphs that sell cakes using plastic Disney images or edible images? They're using licensed materials that were specifically produced with the intention of putting them on cakes. The person using them paid a fee for the product and a portion of that fee had to have gone to pay for the use of the licensed image. Same thing with a cake pan. If you pay for a Batman cake pan that is licensed by DC Comics or Warner Brothers or whoever owns it now, doesn't a portion of the cost of the pan go toward the use of the licensed image??

Doesn't your purchase of those items automatically imply consent from the parent compay to use them in the way in which they were intended??

Now in the case of cakes where you carve the image, make it 3D, hand draw it, or whatever, that's gotta be protected by some law as one Artist's rendition and interpretation of the likeness, right?

Are we that letigious of a society that we would sue a cake decorator for reproducting a Luis Vuitton purse for a 13 year old's birthday party?!?!

If so, I quit right now. This is an art form to me. I can draw, paint, sculpt, and do so in many different mediums. To me, cake and fondant and BC icing are just another medium I use to produce works of art.

And unless Luis Vuitton has an entire staff of cake decorators that you can go to in order to get a replica of your favorite purse, I don't see how they can sue anyone.

I'm sure I'm wrong legally, but it's my opinion...

BCJean Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 6:12am
post #10 of 62

These people are very protective of their copyrights. Whatever their reason may be, the have that right.
If Walt Disney were to let all decorators use their designs then they would lose the sales of their own products. It would no longer be a design just for them and would be free form for everyone. What if a videographer decided he wanted to make his own cartoon and use the Disney characters in it. What if he sold that cartoon and made lots of money off of it. Would that be fair to Disney? What if that videographer was poor and could not see how his making money off of his cartoon could make any difference to a wealthy company like Disney. What if 10,000 poor videographers decided to do the same thing because they thought they wouldn't get fined.

You may say, but a cake is not the same thing. Disney is not putting out decorated cakes for sale. If they don't take steps to protect their copyright each and every time it is violated, they lose their copyright. They have to show that they took steps to enforce it.

I recently was making a video and wanted to use the word "Starburst" in the video and show how to make something using one of their candies. I emailed the company asking if I could do so. Starburst's reply was, no.

I have worked for two different companies who were fined in the 80's (very stiff fines) for doing copyrighted cakes. Commercial bakeries will no longer do these cakes. Should it be okay for home decorators to go ahead and accept these orders, since they are a small operation. Is that fair to commercial bakeries to tell customers no but you can go to a home decorator and they will do your order for you.

Is it not a law no matter how big or small you may be. No matter how wealthy or poor. I venture to say that if you count up all of the home decorators you will have as many cakes being done by them as there is by commercial bakeries. You are one person, but so are each of the 100,000 other home decorators.

The cake pan issue....you pay for the pan one time. You could bake and sell hundreds of cakes from that same pan. The original price would hardly pay the royalties for that many cakes.

Being creative is a part of our business. Let's all come up with our own designs, which kids will love, and not depend on using a design created by someone else.

JenWhitlock Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 1:01pm
post #11 of 62

I'm not guilt free on this issue, but my 2cents...

people here are often write contracts that don't allow anyone else's cakes at an event, because they don't want to be represented by an unknown person nor do they want the responibilty if something goes wrong. it's completely understandable.

same goes for these images, Disney and others work hard to set a standard and a look that they want to convey and they don't want anyone messing with it.

"fly home Buddy, I work alone" Mr. Incredible.

FromScratch Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 1:08pm
post #12 of 62

These companies (no matter how affluent they are) have spent millions of dollars developing and marketing their creations. It's only logical that they would want to protect the images they have worked so hard to create. They also want to protect the integrity of the design. It is their right to do so. You can make as many tinkerbell cakes as you want, but the minute you sell one you are breaking the law.. even if it seems silly. And like BCJean said.. part of having the copyright is protecting that copyright. If you don't protect it.. you lose it.

There are zillions of other cakes you can make.. you can make a cake to compliment the character.. a sky blue cake with clouds and a rainbow and stars for a care bear theme.. or an ogre hut for a shrek theme.. they could even put toys on that cake if they wanted to.. but you cannot make a fondant care bear to sell them. You could aquire the rights to reproduce the characters.. but it's very expensive to do so and not something the average person could afford.

endymion Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 1:16pm
post #13 of 62

On the one hand, I realize why they do it (they are very protective of "their image" and "their look"), but on the other hand, I do think it's a bit absurd. I mean, people request these characters on their custom cakes because of the popularity of the characters, right? And one would think (judging from the Food Network's Cake Challenge shows) that there are quite a few cake decorators out there who would do fairly accurate representations and would be respectful with the characters.

So one would think Disney would develop some sort of system whereby cake decorators or bakeries could apply to be a licensed custom Disney-character cake shop. Could be worth big bucks to both Disney and the bakery! And would remove this huge onus of illegality from everyone.

LisaR64 Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 1:33pm
post #14 of 62

What about cakes donated for charity raffles? I don't sell cakes, but I often donate cakes for charity raffles, etc. Does anyone know if normal copyright laws apply in situations like that?

kelleym Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 1:42pm
post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaR64

What about cakes donated for charity raffles? I don't sell cakes, but I often donate cakes for charity raffles, etc. Does anyone know if normal copyright laws apply in situations like that?




I wouldn't risk it.

Cops crack down on cooks over cakes.

It's not that hard to work around copyrighted characters. Embrace the challenge! There are a million ways to decorate a cute cake around a theme, like this Cars cake I made for a customer (explaining to her what I could do without getting sued by Disney). She LOVED it!

Image

So for your paying customers, be creative, and save the licensed characters for your kids or close family/friends (ie: FREE). And if you make a copyrighted cake for free, don't put a picture of it on your web site, just for safe measure. Even if you're proud of it icon_wink.gif (I have several I'm proud of but don't display). The Disney lawyers found that party place I linked upthread through their pictures on the internet.

wgoat5 Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 1:52pm
post #16 of 62

I was gonna say... I thought we could decorate without any of the logos or anything but once the cake gets to the customer's house they can put whatever plastic do dads on it that they want...

Like for example..

Someone calls me and wants me to make a Tink cake....I say well I can't make a tink cake but... I can make a stacked cake with the colors...flowers...leaves..etc... and I'll leave a space at the top that you can put your figure... I'll just decorate in the coordinating colors....

That shouldn't be a problem....

leah_s Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 1:57pm
post #17 of 62

Somebody has got to explain to me how Charm City Cakes openly replicates mascots and logos of professional sports teams so frequently.

Santa_Kitchen Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:15pm
post #18 of 62

I see a bunch of mix opinions is this topic, but for the one that are not that rigid, see Duff cakes, he has the exposure in the Web and the TV show and he have done so many in this category. The Lego proposal cake, de M & M cake, the Louis Vutton purse, but he is wise, he named the cake different, like the purse instead of Louis Vutton purse, the name is Vutton, ha!! tricky, but wise. Like the Starbucks coffee cake, the Converse tennis shoe. I know we all are small companys, or homebase, or just fur fun...I hard as I see, we also encourage ourselves to do everything like others dictated. This is something I can not understand but true, yesterday I was watching a Walmart documentary about how the monopoly of big companies have controlled US laws. Look at something like this US Walmart employees can't not paid health insurance because it's too expensive, and they have the minimum days for vacations and sickness. But in Denmark the Walmart employees have 32 vacations days and the health insurance is 100% paid by company...by law. AHA...shocking. In China, the employees are paid $3 per day in a Walmart factory in which they HAVE to live in the factory dorms(which are not provide for free, the rent and utilities are deducted from their checks, and the one who don't want to live in the 1 rooms 1 bath(share) small room, still have to pay the rent, nor the utilities). I invite everyone to see the documentary the name is Walmart:High Cost presented by Movie Plex. It will make you think about this topic, very much....and have fun making cakes in the way you want it to.

loriemoms Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:19pm
post #19 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

I have heard several anecdotal stories of cake makers being caught. Disney in particular is extremely vigorous about protecting its copyrights (in all forms, not just cake), and the fine by law is up to $50,000. Is it worth the risk?

Here's a story where they sued a mom-and-pop party place for using unlicensed costumes:
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/florida/orl-disney1008jul10,0,6764273.story

Video:
http://www.wftv.com/video/16824445/index.html

And here, they threatened to sue a stonemason over an image of Winnie the Pooh on a stillborn infant's headstone:

http://www.boingboing.net/2006/06/25/disney-we-willwont-s.html

Don't mess with the Mouse, yo.




This is the one that is also quite famous:

http://www.snopes.com/disney/wdco/daycare.asp

As far as Ace of Cakes, if you watch the ending credits, they often give the trademark...so I suspect they did ask for permission to show these cakes. Who knows. I know the cakes for Harry Potter and such..they were done for the production company, so I assume they said it was ok!

Mike1394 Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:20pm
post #20 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

Somebody has got to explain to me how Charm City Cakes openly replicates mascots and logos of professional sports teams so frequently.




I would think he gets permission. NFL properties is pretty tuogh on that stuff.

CakesByLJ Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:27pm
post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santa_Kitchen

I invite everyone to see the documentary the name is Walmart:High Cost presented by Movie Plex. It will make you think about this topic, very much....and have fun making cakes in the way you want it to.




Where can we see this documentary?

CocoaBlondie Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:31pm
post #22 of 62

WOW, I never knew how big of a deal this was icon_eek.gif I almost feel like what can I really do icon_confused.gif Certainly not Disney, It almost makes me not like them at all anymore. There are so many people that airbrush on coloring pages of licsenced charcaters, purses, cars in general like the little mini coopers are these copyrighted? How do you know what's safe?

leah_s Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:46pm
post #23 of 62

To sum it up briefly, nothing's safe.

Santa_Kitchen Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:47pm
post #24 of 62

My cable provider is Comcast, and if you have OnDemand you can access on the Drama section. Believe me I was very impress and really dissapointed. Anyways I do not support Kmart, either Sams Club. I know better places in which I can save money.

CakeRN Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 3:03pm
post #25 of 62

I know that for ICES convention this year if you make a cake with the Disney characters or logo's it is ok to do so for the show BUT...you can't have your cake photographed and put in the ICES magazine.

Santa_Kitchen Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 9:16pm
post #26 of 62

Here is the link were you can find the documentary online;
http://tvshack.net/documentaries/Wal_Mart__The_High_Cost_of_Low_Price__2005_/

to all those who want to open their eyes of the monopoly system in our free land!!!!

lilmiz Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 10:10pm
post #27 of 62

I remember that daycare story from when I lived in Florida as a kid. That has stuck with me. Don't mess with Disney! icon_eek.gif

I have made character cakes (if you see my pix) but would never sell one or if I ever have a business/site show my pix. icon_sad.gif

CakesByLJ Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 11:20pm
post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santa_Kitchen

Here is the link were you can find the documentary online;
http://tvshack.net/documentaries/Wal_Mart__The_High_Cost_of_Low_Price__2005_/

to all those who want to open their eyes of the monopoly system in our free land!!!!




Thanks Santa_Kitchen..

mija10417 Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 12:40am
post #29 of 62

I'm so bummed. I've made one purse cake (Coach) that I was so proud of and really wanted to put it on my website. But being as paranoid as I am I'll just keep it in my photo album.

robinscakes Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 1:16am
post #30 of 62

Yea, Disney is the biggest dog out there. Don't mess with them!

I know of several different companies that use "copyrighted" characters on their products. We rented a bounce house for my son's birthday from a local company. They rent a bounce house with a square yellow sponge character (hmmmmm.....) that they call "Sponge Boy." One letter difference, and it looks nearly exactly like Spongebob, but all the kids who rent it know it as Spongebob. There's also a indoor play area around here with Disney-ish characters painted on the walls. There are no names, and they're slightly different--ever so slightly--and all the little girls know that it's Cinderella and Snow White. I've also noticed that the dollar stores sell books and toys that look very much like licensed characters, but they're slightly different and they have different names. They're all made in China. So, I guess there are ways around the copyright laws. But, unless you are a copyright lawyer or know a good one, it's probably best to purchase the licensed plastic toys or allow the customer to use their own and just decorate to coordinate colors.

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