Copyrighted Characters What Do You Do?

Decorating By heavenlys Updated 13 Sep 2009 , 4:36pm by indydebi

heavenlys Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 1:17pm
post #1 of 18

Well I have been baking cakes for nine years now and have been breaking mother's hearts for that long too. I stand my ground about the licensed characters.
and we try to be creative and I tell the mom's we can spend $6 on an edible image or they could go buy a toy for $6 and we will implement it on the cake but lately there have been a TON of new mommies and I am exhausted with having to explain over and over again. ANd I understand their frustration I am a mommy too and I understand they want a really cool cake.
So what do you do? Just looking for creative legal ideas to make them happier.
TIA

17 replies
cylstrial Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 1:29pm
post #2 of 18

I would do exactly what you are doing! They can buy a toy to put on the top - or you can make something that resembles the character with lots of different colors and call it good. Do you have a website? I'd just put the policy on your website.

Or perhaps if someone inquires about a kids cake - the first thing out of my mouth would be - "now you know we can't do copyrighted characters".

cakegrandma Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 1:42pm
post #3 of 18

heavenlys,
In order to not get any fines for infringing on the copyright laws I would keep on doing what you are doing. It would be against the law to make anything that even resembles the character and change the colors. If it is recognizable as the character then you have infringed upon the royalties they would receive. It is not worth the chances taken to possibly be sued and it does happen, look at those that have been sued for downloading songs. Put up something explaining all of this on your website and tell what you can do to fight the negative. Show the potential what you Will do not what you Won't do. Good Luck.
evelyn

heavenlys Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 2:51pm
post #4 of 18

It is hard when on tv Duff is making licensed cakes and every food network challenge is making licensed disney this or that. It is frustrating having to educate the public. icon_cry.gif

indydebi Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 2:59pm
post #5 of 18

First, when they throw up the "but they do it on TV!" whiney reasoning, I point out, "YEah, and the Food NEtwork has lots of attorneys who obtain the proper licensing and they have tons of money so they can AFFORD to pay those licensing fees."

Second, whip out a one-page 'contract' that says, "I, the customer, acknowledged that I'm asking the cake maker to do something completely illegal and I am taking full responsibility including taking her place for jail time and paying the $50,000 fine PLUS any lost income that results when she loses her business."

THAT should get their attention!

-K8memphis Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 3:10pm
post #6 of 18

This is how I think of it--what if somebody wanted me to put Duff's logo on their cake. And say I had permission for sake of argument.

a) would I do that?
b) if I did do it (<gag> not that I don't love Duff but come on!) would I place it on my webpage?

Would I want to document the fact that I profited from someone else's name and fame? To me that's where the copyright issue conundrum lies.

For example if I buy one Tinkerbell shirt or an embroidered emblem, can I take that image of Tinkerbell and sew it onto a purse and sell it commercially? I wouldn't do that.

If I put a $6 edible image on my cake that I then profit from the sale of the cake then I'm profiting from someone else's goods. They alone have the right to market their product. When a bakery buys the Luck's kits they are bound to use the exact designs in the Luck's book too.

To me profiting from someone else's recognizable artwork is out of my box. Ain't gonna do it. Just me just some thoughts.

MrsNancyB1 Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 3:48pm
post #7 of 18

I'm confused as to how some cakes in the gallery have gumpaste figures that resemble pooh and friends, sesame street characters etc. If it's illegal, how do they do it?

Another person that comes to mind is Mayen on youtube. She has made a video of Oscar the grouch gumpaste figures, cookie monster figures etc. How can she do it and post it on youtube?

Not being snarky, just genuinely curious.

indydebi Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 4:04pm
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsNancyB

If it's illegal, how do they do it?



They may be personal cakes for family and friends where no money exchanged hands. If they are a full bakery, they may have purchased the licensing. They may not know it's illegal to make and sell these figures without proper permissions/licensing.

Or they may not care if it's illegal and just do it anyway with a "catch me if you can" attitude.

lomfise Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 4:07pm
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsNancyB

Not being snarky, just genuinely curious.



I have a 'just curious' question too. It might be stupid, but I hope someone can answer.

Is it only if you sell on a cake with a licensed character it is illegal? I mean, can I make a cake for my friend's son with Pooh and Friends on without risking fines and jail?

jamalyn1 Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 4:08pm
post #10 of 18

you can make these characters all day you just can't SELL them. I can make anything within my ability without any law breaking. It only breaks the law if you sell it for profit.

costumeczar Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 4:08pm
post #11 of 18

I just had a woman call me about making a birthday cake, and she asked if I could do Superman, I told her no, because it's a copyrighted character. She said "Ohhhh! Okay." I just think that most people don't think about it, since they do see pictures of cakes with these characters everywhere. Just stand firm and know that you're doing the legal thing.

lomfise Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 4:13pm
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamalyn1

you can make these characters all day you just can't SELL them. I can make anything within my ability without any law breaking. It only breaks the law if you sell it for profit.




Pheew (wiping sweat off my brow) Thanks Jamalyn thumbs_up.gif

lngo Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 4:42pm
post #13 of 18

This is very interesting, but what I'm confused about is how selling an edible image is different from modeling a copyrighted figure from gumpaste. It seems like both could get you into trouble. Is is that you're not really making the EI just printing it?

indydebi Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 4:49pm
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by lngo

This is very interesting, but what I'm confused about is how selling an edible image is different from modeling a copyrighted figure from gumpaste. It seems like both could get you into trouble. Is is that you're not really making the EI just printing it?




When I buy an edible image from my cake supply shop, she has to enter a code to download the image from DecoPac. DecoPac items have the licensing that permits us to resell those images/kits.

There have been a number of threads educating us on the practice of bakeries/groceries who will not create an edible image from something brought in from the customer (like if the customer brought in a Dora picture, for example).

lngo Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 4:57pm
post #15 of 18

Thanks so much for the clarification, indydebi! I figured I was missing something.

-K8memphis Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 7:16pm
post #16 of 18

Oh yeah I meant DecoPac not Luck's.

Indy, are you paying sales tax on that image?

We bought Decopak kits from Like Dawn or some big supplier

I'll admit I've not done much with those images, a little when I worked for someone else--I did buy them retail but no sales tax and they were not copyrighted characters.

Do you think the edible images are like the character pans? Where sure we can buy the pan but we can't resell it?

I'm just asking 'cause I'm not super familiar with copyrighted edible images.

heavenlys Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 3:34pm
post #17 of 18

I know it is not worth breaking the law it just gets frustrating saying the spiel over and over and over again.

We actually had someone from Wilton in our bakery once and he really looked at all our pans closely to make sure that none of the licensed ones were hung and being used.

He just happened to be on vacation and stopped in but geez that was nerve racking just thinking how bad that would have been.

We have the novelty wilton pans hanging up front so kids can pick out the fun shaped cakes if they want one for their birthday. NO licensed characters

indydebi Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 4:36pm
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

Indy, are you paying sales tax on that image?



Probably not, but I'm tax exempt on what I buy at my cake supply shop. Sometimes they forget and add the sales tax but it doesnt' make any big difference to me .... they just add it up and I pay the total. I have no idea what they add tax to or not.

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