Question About Decopac And Licensed Characters

Business By love2makecakes Updated 23 Feb 2010 , 4:39am by gladysrdz24

love2makecakes Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 8:10pm
post #1 of 18

Do I need to copy the cake exactly like the pictures are shown for the kits? The reason I ask is that I do not own an airbrush and I see most of these kits require that to replicate the design. I have people ask me for licensed characters all the time and I lose business by not doing them so I am strongly considering offering these cakes. I guess that would no longer make me a custom cake decorated though either...

17 replies
catlharper Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 9:01pm
post #2 of 18

Remember that copyrighted characters can NOT be replicated in a cake that is sold or bartered. You can give them away, make them for your family, etc, but it's not legal to replicate the copyrighted characters without permission from the copyright holder. It's a total drag but there you are. I found out that you CAN use licensed plastic characters on a cake but may not sell any cake that has a handmoulded edible figure or drawing of the licensed character on it. Makes it harder for us but there you go.

love2makecakes Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 9:04pm
post #3 of 18

Right, I understand that. My question is when using those kits with plastic licensed characters do you need to replicate the kit perfectly for it to be legal.

prterrell Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 9:06pm
post #4 of 18

According to what we were told when I worked as a grocery store decorator, yes, you must replicate the cake exactly as directed in the directions that come in the kit. The copyright holder has specifically approved the design and representation of their character in that manner.

love2makecakes Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 9:08pm
post #5 of 18

thanks! that is what i was thinking. bummer!

prterrell Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 11:45pm
post #6 of 18

What you can do is offer to decorate a cake in such a way as to make a good background for a toy that the customer purchases and places on the cake after delivery.

CakeForte Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 11:47pm
post #7 of 18

I wonder what the license holder has to say about all of those cake wrecks? Especially the Batman one. lol

ETA: They need to add a disclaimer that you have to know what you're doing in order to make it.

RobzC8kz Posted 9 Feb 2010 , 11:47pm
post #8 of 18

This question made me very curious, so I called DecoPac customer service and asked them myself!!

If you order a DecoPac licensed character cake kit, you are only authorized to decorate the cake exactly as shown in the picture that comes with the kit! You are not allowed to use a DecoPac licensed character cake kit, or any pieces of it, in any manner other than that is shown in the book.

However...

If you are making, say, a Shrek cake, and you went to the store and bought a plastic Shrek toy, you can legally use that toy in any manner you wish because you have paid the license holder for the toy and not infringed upon their profit of that sale. The copyright holder only has domain over the likeness of the character, not the swamp, or tree, or whatever else you use as a background for it to stand on.

As long as you are paying for it, and not making it yourself, or drawing it on a cake, you are okay.

DecoPac is different because they have licensing agreements with the copyright holders that say that their licensed characters will only be used in a certain manner.

Katie-Bug Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:09pm
post #9 of 18

This has to be the craziest thing I've ever heard.... icon_confused.gif I had no idea.

I guess it's a good thing I just generallt pick one up from my local
Wal-Mart if I need one.


Wonder if the fact that I don't charge the customer for the kit makes any difference...I just let them us it or if they want to keep it I give them the receipt an they reimpruce me....Hum

Thanks for letting me know about this!

love2makecakes Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:15pm
post #10 of 18

RobzC8kz - so are you saying that that is the loophole around that? If I spend the money on a licensed toy and put that on a cake I sell for money I can do that legally??? I have never seen that mentioned in all of these licensed character posts before... I always just see, YOU CAN NOT DO IT!

I think shows like A O C's and things make people think that you can do it cause they do it, but lucky for them they are on national tv so they must easily get the ok to do all those licensed things and such. Too bad they are not so nice to the little people - so what if they are advertising for those companies on tv! ha!

CakeForte Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:32pm
post #11 of 18

When you buy the toy, you pay for the rights to use it how you like. You're not recreating or changing the character, and the royalties have been included in the price.

That is different that what you're referring to.

mamawrobin Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:47pm
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by prterrell

According to what we were told when I worked as a grocery store decorator, yes, you must replicate the cake exactly as directed in the directions that come in the kit. The copyright holder has specifically approved the design and representation of their character in that manner.




Yep...unfortunately...this is what I learned as well when I worked in the grocery store bakery. So many people wanted to change something about the design when they placed an order and I was told by a rep that it was illegal to do so.

mirda6275 Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:54pm
post #13 of 18

I'm confused about this, I thought I read before that as a decorator, I couldn't buy the toy to put on it but that I could make the color-scheme cake and the client could put the toy on or they could give me the toy to put on. I'm thinking it has something to do with not reselling the toy for profit/sales tax etc.

love2makecakes Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 3:58pm
post #14 of 18

mirda6275 - I am with you. That is the impression I got too from all the other posts I have read on the subject.

Hey I am all for it if I can use purchased toys without having to use the decopacs and mass decoration!

CakeForte Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 4:26pm
post #15 of 18

Decopac has certain designs that were approved by the license holder. (Although we know skill is the determining factor)

Cake pan characters are approved by the license holder - for home use only.

Toy designs are approved by the license holder. The same toy in Walmart in Arizona will look the same from a Walmart in Florida, etc.

When you buy those, you are paying for the right to use the designs as described.

You are not changing the toy when you use it, you are creating a generic (cake) scene to go with it, but toy design/ look still not being changed.

You are paying the royalties on that item to use it. You are then selling the generic cake, although you are probably adding the cost back in for the toy. Either way, the royalties were paid to the license holder.

That is not the same from making the character cake yourself, where size, colors, level of detail, is all different AND no one was paid royalties.

jillmakescakes Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 5:27pm
post #16 of 18

A point to remember with the toy issue is that once you buy it, you are buying it for personal use, not for resale. YOU cannot buy the toy, but the customer can. Once you sell the cake with the toy on it, you have resold that toy and not paid a royalty.

This whole thing is such a hassle. sigh thumbsdown.gif

djs328 Posted 10 Feb 2010 , 6:19pm
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by crlovescakes

mirda6275 - I am with you. That is the impression I got too from all the other posts I have read on the subject.

Hey I am all for it if I can use purchased toys without having to use the decopacs and mass decoration!




I thought I remembered reading a post that someone put the cost of the toy as a separate item on the invoice, not upcharging for it, so it's not really reselling for a profit...

But then again, how many people buy toys and resell them on eBay for a HUGE profit??? I don't understand all the ins and outs, but I think if I'm able to do this as a legal business, I would probably steer clear of the licensed cakes, and let the customer add toys if they so choose. JMHO!

gladysrdz24 Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 4:39am
post #18 of 18

We use DecoPac and BakeryCrafts kits almost 99.99% of the time. Once in a while we will get a custom order cake but all in all our customers want to pick a cake from a book and know that what they will be picking up will look like exactly what they picked out. I know that there are a lot of people that are anti sheet cakes and and they want to create a piece of art when they are making a cake. But for us this works. We have a small bakery and we get between 50 to 60 sheet cake orders every weekend. We only have one cake decorater so for him to have all of these cakes done that same day (we do all decorating same day) he has to have preset pictures and not have to "think" about it. So I guess all in all its good to have a preset picture when using these kits. (for us at least)

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