Legal Question

Business By KCakeSide Updated 7 Aug 2009 , 1:01pm by alvarezmom

KCakeSide Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 2:09pm
post #1 of 26

Hi all.
I'm new to CC. I only discovered you guys about a month ago. I've seen how you feel about the "under the radar" types of operations and feel the same. I've spent the last year or so getting legal and just last week had my HD inspection and approval, so I'm good to go.

My question is about another type of legality.

What do you guys think about copyright infringement? How do you handle it when someone asks you for a Disney character or Spongebob or Scooby Doo? If you were to do the cake, do you take and post pictures of it? Has anyone ever been caught or heard of anybody being caught?

25 replies
-K8memphis Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 2:19pm
post #2 of 26

Since you are careful enough to get all legal you don't want to do copyrighted stuff. It's a big deal. Yes some have been caught and it's not pretty.

When I did cakes for sale, I just briefly explained the copyright thing and avoided doing any. But you can request permission too like for sports teams and whatever.

On the other hand, you can get the approved kits from --hmm, can't remember the name--but you can get products from the bakery supplier that are ok to use. That does not necessarily authorize you to go off on your own and do a Harry Potter Castle or something--you have to stick to their game plan but there's that too.

Someone smart will post the name of the supplier--Blah can't remember...

jardot22 Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 2:25pm
post #3 of 26

If you took the extra steps to get legal and feel strongly about that, then in my opinion, illegally selling copyrighted characters shouldn't be an option for you either. Just do what you feel is the right thing to do.

JoJo0855 Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 2:44pm
post #4 of 26

I just checked the Wilton site regarding their pans for popular characters. Each copyrighted figure (Barbie, Batman etc.) has a note ... "FOR HOME USE ONLY".

-K8memphis Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 2:55pm
post #5 of 26

Are they Luck's kits??? Somebody help me...

indydebi Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 4:06pm
post #6 of 26

KCake, welcome to CC, fellow Hoosier!! COngrats on getting all licensed and everything! where are you located? We should get together sometime!

I just tell people that it's illegal to do a copyrighted material. They are usually ok with that, once those who had no idea, get over the shock. K8, I think you're trying to come up with the name "DecoPac", who sells the licensed kits that grocery stores make.

I have a couple of cakes that have, for example, MIckey Mouse on motorcycles. I made the cake with a road and grass, etc, then the client placed their Mickey Mouse on the cake. When I post it in my pics, I label it "figures provided by client".

alvarezmom Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 5:36pm
post #7 of 26

I recently did a character cake and normally I just buy the figures from Wal-Mart and then add them. I dont know if that is considered copyright--Gee I hope not. Or the customers will give me there own toys and I'll place them on the cake. Where ever..

So Deby, if I continue to do that with the figures--buying them from a store and then placing them on a cake is that copyright infringment?

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 6:02pm
post #8 of 26

That would not be considered copyright infringment because you bought those toys. The toy is yours, you can play with it, put it on a cake, run over it with you car, anything. I did the same for a cousin who's daughter wanted a Tinkerbell cake. I just made a flowery cake and we sat her own Tinkerbell doll on the top of the cake.

indydebi Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 6:05pm
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by alvarezmom

I recently did a character cake and normally I just buy the figures from Wal-Mart and then add them. I dont know if that is considered copyright--Gee I hope not. Or the customers will give me there own toys and I'll place them on the cake. Where ever..

So Deby, if I continue to do that with the figures--buying them from a store and then placing them on a cake is that copyright infringment?


From my understanding, it can be. (how's that for nice and vague? icon_biggrin.gif )

Here's a thread with some good info: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-609224-.html

And an older one (hope it still comes up): http://forum.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=3679353#3679353

warmshade Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 6:14pm
post #10 of 26

What about using the copyrighted visage in a carved cake? I don't do cake professionally, I hope to someday. But I recently did a carved Lightning McQueen on a 18X26 that I iced to look like a track. It's strange the thought had never crossed my mind before.

KCakeSide Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 6:40pm
post #11 of 26

Thanks guys, I've taken the stance for years that it's wrong to make money on another artist's work. I've done cakes of copywrited characters before but never to sell, only as favors or gifts.

I wonder how the heck Duff gets away with selling movie inspired spaceships like the ship from Firefly and Star Wars and then puts it on TV too. Is it his celebrity status? I mean, does he just pick up the phone and call George Lucas and say "Hey man, it's just Boba Fett's ship, wanna golf?" Or are the spaceships different from an actual character like Spiderman?


Indydebi: Hi, I'm on the South side of Indy. We should get together sometime. Although I'm so new you would probably end up feeling like you were teaching school. icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 6:56pm
post #12 of 26

I'm pretty sure the food channel, TLC, etal make sure all the legal T's and I's are crossed and dotted.

KCake, CC'er "jillmakescakes" is also on the south side. Maybe we can all do a breakfast or lunch thing sometime?

alvarezmom Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 7:10pm
post #13 of 26

I wanna have lunch too! icon_cry.gif

Thanks for the thread info.

PinkZiab Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 7:19pm
post #14 of 26

I am NOT condoning it (I don't do any copyrighted characters for profit--only for my own kid and family members), but I will tell you that some "name" decorators (and no I won't name names lol) DO make these cakes. They don't advertise that they do it, and you won't ever see the pics of it on their websites, but they do it. But the risk to me is too high, because what if the client then posted the pics of the cake on their own facebook or website saying "Look at the fabulous Mickey Mouse Cake I got at XYZ bakery" and your "cover" is blown!

To warmshade, regarding your Lightning McQueen carved cake: Sorry to say, but yes that is infringement IF you made that cake for profit (it's fine if it was for personal use).

Anytime you CREATE a replica or likeness of a copyrighted character (fondant figure, cut-out, FBCT, unauthorized edible image printed at home, etc) or image (corporate logo, product packaging, etc) or unauthorized edible image you are infringing on coyrights and trademarks and are at risk of being caught and HEAVILY fined. The only safe way around it are decopac kits, purchased figures and toys, or authorized/licensed edible images.

ccr03 Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 8:22pm
post #15 of 26

A note on the Star Wars cakes, George Lucas is GREAT about allowing Star Wars cakes. He knows the strong following Star Wars has and is very friendly with fans and such.

costumeczar Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 8:27pm
post #16 of 26

I've phoned local colleges to find out what their policy on team and mascot logos are, and they're usually pretty accomodating, too. Call their PR departments and ask if they have any set policy about making cakes for alumni.

alvarezmom Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 8:45pm
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I've phoned local colleges to find out what their policy on team and mascot logos are, and they're usually pretty accomodating, too. Call their PR departments and ask if they have any set policy about making cakes for alumni.




WOW I didnt even think to consider schools/mascots were about of the copyright... Thanks for sharing!

kakeladi Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 8:58pm
post #18 of 26

.........buying them from a store and then placing them on a cake is that copyright infringment?........

I haven't read all the replies but you CANNOT legally resell a copyrighted item. That is what you are doing. What one must do is sell the cake to the customer and *THEY* must buy and place the item(s) wanted. It cannot be included in the price of the cake.
I know this sounds hardnosed but.......you want to cover yourself from any possible expensive problem.
How do you know that customer isn't a Disney (or such) employee's cousin or grandkid? Or that such will be a guest at the party?

kakeladi Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 8:59pm
post #19 of 26

Oh yes, schools and pro sports teams off all kinds icon_sad.gif

Carolynlovescake Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 9:23pm
post #20 of 26

Another thing too that I'd like to add is payment includes but is not limited to the following:

I bake you cupcakes at $45 and you get a free character/copyright images cake with it.

You not being provided money, but instead they buy you cake supplies to equal what you would charge for the cake. (Exchange of goods).

They do it for "just the cost of ingredients" (Exchange of goods).

They buy you the ingredients, drop them off at your house and you bake & decorate the cake. (Exchange of goods).

Tips, gratuity, or any type of monetary donations to you for doing a "free gift".

Any exchange of something for something is considered a legal business transactions and that translates into copyright infringement.

kelleym Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 10:04pm
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

.........buying them from a store and then placing them on a cake is that copyright infringment?........

I haven't read all the replies but you CANNOT legally resell a copyrighted item. That is what you are doing. What one must do is sell the cake to the customer and *THEY* must buy and place the item(s) wanted. It cannot be included in the price of the cake.
I know this sounds hardnosed but.......you want to cover yourself from any possible expensive problem.
How do you know that customer isn't a Disney (or such) employee's cousin or grandkid? Or that such will be a guest at the party?




I am not sure this is true, please read this article and tell me what you guys think of the "first sale" doctrine:

http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/folder/Selvage.shtml

indydebi Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 12:17am
post #22 of 26

wow, kelley, that was VERY interesting, to say the least.

kelleym Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 12:20am
post #23 of 26

If that article is true, I think Wilton may have hoodwinked us all with their "For Home Use Only" stamp on the character pans.

Yankie Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 1:23am
post #24 of 26

I Was wondering if I make a hello kitty from fondant and it looks identical is that copyright infringment?

cheatize Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 4:00am
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccr03

A note on the Star Wars cakes, George Lucas is GREAT about allowing Star Wars cakes. He knows the strong following Star Wars has and is very friendly with fans and such.




I totally wanna call up George and say, "Dude, Ima make a cake. Want some?" LMAO

Anyone else?

alvarezmom Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 1:01pm
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheatize

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccr03

A note on the Star Wars cakes, George Lucas is GREAT about allowing Star Wars cakes. He knows the strong following Star Wars has and is very friendly with fans and such.



I totally wanna call up George and say, "Dude, Ima make a cake. Want some?" LMAO

Anyone else?




I'm in!!! Cheatize we should start a "Call George List".

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