Breaking Copyright Law

Business By sugarcheryl Updated 27 Feb 2009 , 12:56pm by -K8memphis

sugarcheryl Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 7:12pm
post #1 of 75

Some just called and wanted my to make a curious george cake. Am I able to make one and sell it? I need a quick reply. Thanks anyone.

74 replies
-K8memphis Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 7:13pm
post #2 of 75

Not legally.

cakesdivine Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 7:15pm
post #3 of 75

Nope, any trademarked image cannot be reproduced for a profit with the exception of purchasing a kit to place on the cake. A 3D, hand drawn, or photo copied onto a sugar sheet is illegal except for your own consumption.

sugarcheryl Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 7:28pm
post #4 of 75

Thank you guys.

springlakecake Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 8:11pm
post #5 of 75

I think that you can purchase figurines and cake toppers and that is legal since you have paid for the item.

whisperingmadcow Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 8:16pm
post #6 of 75

I read a post once where a lady had made a cake in the theme of the disney movie requested ( in the color scheme) and then told the person to add figurines to it once she got it home. Not sure if thats legal either.

rockysmommy Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 8:37pm
post #7 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

Nope, any trademarked image cannot be reproduced for a profit with the exception of purchasing a kit to place on the cake. A 3D, hand drawn, or photo copied onto a sugar sheet is illegal except for your own consumption.




icon_surprised.gif WOW! I did not know this...Thanx for the info.

adobewife Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 8:44pm
post #8 of 75

I was told once, by a vary reputable artist, that as long as you change at least 4 things from the original that it no longer conflicts with enfringment laws. Hope this helps.

kakeladi Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 9:32pm
post #9 of 75

........ was told once, by a vary reputable artist, that as long as you change at least 4 things from the original that it no longer conflicts with enfringment laws.........

These kinds of stories sure hurt the people who are looking to not break the law.

If the cake were held up in a court and *anyone* identifies the drawing/figure/scene/yard sign/or whatever it is a copyright infraction. doesn't matter if the color is different, the ears are pointed instead of round, or anything else. If it is identifiable it is an infraction.

As has been said, only what you purchase in a kit is legal. And.....then you have to copy the enclosed pic *exactly* w/no changes at all.

Carolynlovescake Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 11:36pm
post #10 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by adobewife

I was told once, by a vary reputable artist, that as long as you change at least 4 things from the original that it no longer conflicts with enfringment laws. Hope this helps.




Not true.

The rumor also is floating around out there about "changing the picture 33%".

When I asked my lawyer about this his reply was "if it's got a C,T,R or other ownership mark on it you better just say no. If you insist on chancing it and doing a copyrighted image plan on being caught and start saving for the fines now so when the day comes you are caught you'll have a decent sized down payment towards not only my retainer but for paying your fines." (notice he said that plural).

Point made. I say no.

And yes you can do it in colors to match a Disney theme, Nick cartoon etc. you can not recreate the images that will go on it.

You also can't purchase the images from a toy section and mark it up and sell it to your customer for profit.

cakesdivine Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 1:59pm
post #11 of 75

Also, all those character pans that Wilton sells are illegal to make a cake from for sale. They even tell you on the lables that you can only use these pans for home consumption purposes and cannot sell the baked goods resulting from them. I know many people who do buy these pans, make cakes from them and sell them to the public...BAD IDEA!

I use to work for a private bakery for a short while that didn't use kits, they drew characters on the cakes. They are no longer in business because they got caught. The fines bankrupted them because they had photos of each representative cake in their portfolio books, and they had been in business for over 15 years, so they were charged with many many counts of copyright infringement. Really sad.

flourgirlz Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 2:22pm
post #12 of 75

So all of the character cakes posted on this site, such as Elmo, HSM, Winnie the Pooh, etc. are all illegal?

I ask because in reading the description on most of these you can assume the cakes were sold. Just wondering if anyone has gotten in trouble for posting these pics.

My SIL is wanting me to make a Batman/Superman cake for my nephew's birthday. I guess I will have to insist she not pay for it! I have aready tried, but she insists she give me something for it!!

sahrow Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 3:38pm
post #13 of 75

I only do cakes for my family and friends.

What I did so I felt better about it was to tell friends that the cakes I make for their kids are birthday gifts. I don't give another gift besides the cake. When I do Cakes like this I tend to buy action figures or something like that to go on the top so the child receives something small that they can keep.

I worked in a grocery store bakery 22 years ago, and they were very adamant about not making cakes with copyright images. They would show the copycake book, which had images that were legal for them to reproduce as well as the kits. Since I'm aware of this, I don't do anything to jeoprodize my standing legally.

I'm working on getting my kitchen certified, so don't do anything for sale right now. When I do, though, everything will be legal.

jammjenks Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 4:07pm
post #14 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by flourgirlz

So all of the character cakes posted on this site, such as Elmo, HSM, Winnie the Pooh, etc. are all illegal?




They're only illegal if they were't given away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flourgirlz

I ask because in reading the description on most of these you can assume the cakes were sold. Just wondering if anyone has gotten in trouble for posting these pics.




Most of the CC members are hobbists, so you can't really assume the cakes on here were sold. I've never heard of anyone getting in trouble for pictures posted on CC, but I sure wouldn't want to run the risk of being the first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flourgirlz

My SIL is wanting me to make a Batman/Superman cake for my nephew's birthday. I guess I will have to insist she not pay for it! I have aready tried, but she insists she give me something for it!!




You're probably safe with family. It would take someone turning you in and your SIL more than likely won't do so. Just give the cake away. If she insists on giving you something, I'd say she isn't going to turn you in. [/quote]

-K8memphis Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 4:12pm
post #15 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by jammjenks

Quote:
Originally Posted by flourgirlz

So all of the character cakes posted on this site, such as Elmo, HSM, Winnie the Pooh, etc. are all illegal?



They're only illegal if they were't given away.




Kinda. But if a licensed business gave away Mickey Mouse cakes and Disney caught wind there would be aytch to pay. kwim

The licensed bz was not selling those cakes but they were using someone else's property to reflect the MM image and therefore bolster thier business.

There's actually more to it than just money.

sugarcheryl Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 4:52pm
post #16 of 75

From a business point a view it's best to not do them at all. 1. It is not worth the trouble. 2. Why give someone to question whether you gave it away or sold it. I will just tell people no we can not do those type of cakes. And for the most part a lot of cc members are doing those cakes for a hobby. I would not say none are charging but it's there choice and there business.

mkolmar Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 10:25pm
post #17 of 75

To tell you how serious Disney is about copyright law: I was at a cake class and one of the assistants worked at Disney full time for the past 15 years. Only certain bakeries in Disney can do certain character cakes, even though they are owned by Disney. She was allowed to do Nemo, Cinderella and a few others. She said Disney gets most upset by someone making anything Winnie the Pooh. It's also common practice for them to look online and call bakeries all over the world to see if they will make one of their character cakes. Then they get fined or sometime sued depending on the situation.
I asked about edible images and such and she said "Don't go there, still illegal." She was really cool about everything and talked to me for a while about the legality of it all.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 1:21pm
post #18 of 75

Does anyone know if we can sell cakes made with Wilton pans of non-copy written characters? I got a box of Wilton pans... snowflake, guitar, etc and was hoping to use them in my business. I can't imagine them being a problem...

cakes22 Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 1:47pm
post #19 of 75

If you check Wiltons site it shows the list of pans that are "home use" only. All of them are character pans. I would think the pans you mentioned (guitar, snowflake) would be alright because those images aren't "owned" by anyone. You may want to double check though.....

indydebi Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 2:07pm
post #20 of 75

mkolmar .... very interesting info that I am saving in my CC file. I'm sure I'll be referencing this info a lot in the future. That's pretty much the bottom line on this whole issue, right there!

-Tubbs Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 2:31pm
post #21 of 75

This is all such good information. I had a lady call last week who wanted a "princess" cake. I asked "Do you mean Disney Princess?" She was quite surprised when I said I couldn't do it, but I talked her round to a really pretty cake with a tiara and jewels, which is nothing like she could get at a grocery store bakery. (I wouldn't want to make anything Disney anyway - I think they're tacky!!)

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 2:47pm
post #22 of 75

Here's something just to show how far Disney will go to protect its copyright.

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2008/07/10/Disney_sues_couple_on_public_assistance/UPI-46861215720594/

-Tubbs Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 2:56pm
post #23 of 75

Wow, for "the happiest company on earth" or whatever they are, Disney sure is ruthless!

saberger Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 3:00pm
post #24 of 75

Okay, here is a question: What if I make cookies for my ds or dd pre-school party with the characters on it? Obviously I am not charging. Or what if I used a Disney coloring page that one of them colored in and put that on the cookie?

dsevans Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 3:03pm
post #25 of 75

I just avoid the issue by either say they want curious george, i say how about just a cute monkey and then they can but their party supplies in curious george, if they are insistant on wanting a liscenced item i just tell them they will have to choose a decopac kit and i will of course make a nice cake in colors that match but as far as the character it will have to be their decopac item that won't put me at any law suit risk, i haven't had anyone have a problem with this because while i do use the plastic decopac for the character part, the rest of the cake is original and just sets a nice scenc for the figures.

-Tubbs Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 3:04pm
post #26 of 75

The key thing is charging. If you charge for something, you're making money out of their characters, which they don't get a cut of.

As pp said, it's probably fine if you're a hobby baker, but if a business regularly *gave away* copyrighted items, Disney would probably have a case.

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 3:11pm
post #27 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by TubbsCookies

Wow, for "the happiest company on earth" or whatever they are, Disney sure is ruthless!




Yes. I guess it's because they know from experience how taking somebody else's idea can make one very rich and successful. After all that's how Disney was built.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080711/1407011650.shtml

Besides that, their most popular charactes and movies are based upon works by others: Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, for example, are Fairy Tales that can be traced as far back as the 1630's and even had versions written by The Brothers Grimm; The Little Mermaid, as many might know, was actually a story by Hans Christian Anderson; the Jungle Book is a group of stories by Rudyard Kipling; etc., etc. Disney got most of its characters and stories from the works of others. It's a good thing those others were willing to share!

Oh, and I'm not saying that Disney has not copyrighted their stuff and are entitled to compensation when their stuff is used, but I think they go way too far for what they ask for others to use the likeness of their characters and their penalties for using said characters without permission is ridiculous. JMHO

dsevans Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 3:11pm
post #28 of 75

think the cookies fr class should be fine becasue they sell the character cookie cutters so of course they know you are gonna make them, as long as you are not using them to promote your business interest or mass producing them, and i think the suit in the above link was because the couple was operating out of Florida which is "disney territory" and they were doing it for profit, alot of costume places have disney character costumes that they rent for halloween and birthday parties ( of course they have permission to rent the costumes, but it would be different if say someone rented the costume and the charged someone to have "mickey-mouse" at their kids party. anyways, as long as it is for home ( or class) use and not for business use i have been told it is okay because if they didnt want you to use it at all they wouldnt sell it.

I will check more into this disney thing, my mom has alot of private events there so her on site planner will know all the legalities. when i find out more i'll let you know!

rockysmommy Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 3:18pm
post #29 of 75

Nice to know that you can use their stuff for home and family functions without being sued...especially when they put it out there for you to purchase. My husband bought me several character pans for my grand children. We never gave a second thought about any of it being legal...but, we are not selling the products, only using them for family. So, I would assume that we are not doing anything illegal.

Thanks so much for ALL of the info...very interesting.

Wing-Ding Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 3:33pm
post #30 of 75

I haven't read every post on here so I'm not sure if this was addressed, but what about "donations". I'm making a Bugs Bunny cake for my Warner-Brothers-Freak-Fan-Sister and I usually don't charge my friends or family for my cakes. My sister, however, says that she just wants to make a "monetary donation" (her words) because she doesn't want me to be out "all that money" as she put it.

So, if you don't charge, but someone makes a donation to you, does this break the copyright law?

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