Copywrite Question

Business By DefyGravity Updated 15 Sep 2009 , 1:04am by prterrell

DefyGravity Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 4:49am
post #1 of 8

I have a question about using licensed images and whatnot. I've seen a lot of professional cakers do Star Wars, Star Trek, etc., but wouldn't that be copywrite also, not just on cartoons? Do they call up George Lucas and say "Hey man, can I make a Death Star?"

What exactly are the boundries for something like that? I know you can't use images without permission, but are you supposed to call their respective marketing departments, or a different office?

7 replies
playingwithsugar Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 7:34am
post #2 of 8

This is a touchy subject here on CC. It has been known to cause an arguement or two in it's time.

Yes, you are supposed to request permission before making cake from a copyrighted image, but honestly, I don't know which department at the owner's offices to contact. Some people have been successful in making such inquiries, others, more often from what I've read, are not.

Disney will threaten to sue/prosecute, and has carried that threat out in the past. Disney now owns the rights to Marvel Comics characters now, too, so Spiderman, Hulk, etc, are also now out of the question.

The choices --

Don't do them without owner's consent
Do them, but don't post them
Do them, but don't tell anyone you sold them

Let your conscience be your guide.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

PinkZiab Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 12:41pm
post #3 of 8

As just mentioned, Disney is pretty much locked down when it comes to producing their characters and they will prosecute. On the flip side, George Lucas is very liberal with the use of stars wars characters and items (Millenium Falcon, Death Star, etc) for cakes and such because he likes to keep the fans happy in that way. But when it gets down to it, anytime you do anything copyrighted without permission you are taking a gamble... some think it's worth the risk, others do not. Up to you.

DefyGravity Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 2:01pm
post #4 of 8

Thanks for the answers. I wasn't looking to make one, these are just the things I wonder about when I'm awake at 2 am and can't sleep icon_wink.gif For the record, I wouldn't sell a cake using images I didn't have permission to use, I was just wondering what steps had to be taken to get the OK (ie, calling Marketing or Public Relations)

For the future, though, its good to know that Disney is a solid no-go and that asking probably wouldn't get anywhere. Anyone know about Nickelodeon?

PinkZiab Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 3:39pm
post #5 of 8

Generally speaking most of your "characters" are going to be hard, if at all possible to get permission to reproduce, and they're not going to give you permission for free (or cheap)! Some colleges and things have been known to grant one-time-use copyright releases of their logos or mascots for a groom's cake or something similar, and occasionally you can get permission from some larger companies for a charity-related project, but there are many hoops to jump through for all this, and for the average birthday cake, etc., it's unlikely you'll get permission from Nick, WB, etc.

Win Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 3:48pm
post #6 of 8

This is always fascinating to me as well. So, Tara, do you think it's easier for say, Duff, to get copyrights because he is Duff (or any of the big time people... Elisa has a Thomas Tank Engine on her website...?) I was especially wondering about it when Charm City Cakes did a Vera Bradley purse for a customer and they blew up the pattern to recreate from the website. Is it just the "little people" who struggle to get permission?

PinkZiab Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 6:31pm
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Win

This is always fascinating to me as well. So, Tara, do you think it's easier for say, Duff, to get copyrights because he is Duff (or any of the big time people... Elisa has a Thomas Tank Engine on her website...?) I was especially wondering about it when Charm City Cakes did a Vera Bradley purse for a customer and they blew up the pattern to recreate from the website. Is it just the "little people" who struggle to get permission?




I definitely think it's easier for someone like Duff, and the like because of their notoriety. I will say I do know a couple "name" designers (no I won't name lol) that do character cakes for their customers, but they don't out them up on their sites and they don't advertise that they do it... essentially flying under the radar to avoid entanglements. But I definitely think if you have a show on Food Network and the like, they're a lot less likely to hassle you. I have no basis for any of this, of course... just my opinion!

Now I have heard of some designers (little people, not big shots) getting hassled by LV and Coach for cake purse replicas (because of the Logo/Trademark issue)... you always hear stories... it basically comes down to what kind of chance you're willing to take with your biz. As i said before, a gamble. Anything that is a copyright or trademark held by someone else runs the risk of causing problems... some companies/rights holders don't care and don't pursue it, but how do you know which will or won't? this is why a lot of designers choose to just flat-out stay away from it because it is such a grey area.

Again, I'm NO expert in copyright law or anything, just stating what I know/have heard.

prterrell Posted 15 Sep 2009 , 1:04am
post #8 of 8

I only do copyrighted things for friends or family as cakes for them are gifts.

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