General Copyright Explaination For Customers...

Business By love2makecakes Updated 31 Mar 2010 , 1:55pm by love2makecakes

love2makecakes Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 2:56pm
post #1 of 37

I get so many copyrighted character request that I am considering putting a paragraph up on my website that states clearly that I can not do character cakes for copyright reasons, but would like it to sound much better than just coming out and saying that so that is sounds more professional. Or I guess it would be nice too to just have a paragraph that I can just paste into all my emails with this requests.

I am hoping to explain that easily and understandable to my customers.

I personally know of the two large cake places in my area that do do this cakes without any sort of quams about being caught doing it, I personally just do not want to take that risk. So I do hear that a lot when I tell people I can't do it and get asked why they do it and I dont? Anyways, that is besides the point, I am just looking for some wording help.

36 replies
TexasSugar Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:00pm
post #2 of 37

"I don't do character cakes because it is agains the law."

Hehe. Okay I know what you mean. I remember not to long ago someone posted something they had displayed in their shop about character cakes and why they wouldn't do them. Let me see if hunt it up, or maybe someone else remembers it?

love2makecakes Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:03pm
post #3 of 37

LOL! Yeah, that is what I have been doing and then you get the... "Oh, well I've gotten cakes from so and so in the past and they can do it." So without me responding with something like, "well they shouldn't be cause they are breaking the law". I just try to be polite and tell them sorry I can not do it.

I saw that post too and tried searching for it too, but with no such luck...

Thanks!

TexasSugar Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:10pm
post #4 of 37

I just searched and couldn't find it. Hopefully someone can point us the way.

And I know what you mean. You don't want to put the other baker down but at the same time you want them to understand why.

I also think that sometimes it wouldn't matter what you said or how you said it, cause them you'd get the "can't you make an exception for me line."

thumbs Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:13pm
post #5 of 37

I have seen people use bought charator's to put on the cakes stating that they can't mold copyrighted charactor's so do it this way instead.

Is that an option? I am still pretty new to cake decorating so don't know all the in's and out's of this topic yet.

love2makecakes Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:16pm
post #6 of 37

Oh, absoultely that is an option. I never just flat out tell the client I can not do the cake I try to give them other options, such as match party colors and themes and then tell them if they really want to use a character they can put them on the cake themselves. For a lot of loyal clients this is always fine. It mostly effects me in getting new clients though. I can understand how some people when ordering a cake just want their job to be done and not have to worry about adding to the cake they feel they just paid well for.

all4cake Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:16pm
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Quote:

...and then you get the... "Oh, well I've gotten cakes from so and so in the past and they can do it." ...




"Well, bless their hearts. They're willing to compromise their business to accomodate your request and you repay their efforts by doing business elsewhere....wow. Like I said, I don't do them."

Would a statement like...I can create a cake to COORDINATE with any party theme. However, I do NOT recreate copyrighted characters/images. ...?

Bluehue Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:29pm
post #8 of 37

All4cake - thumbs_up.gif well said.

Or you could write something up like they have on display in some shops -
A chemist in my area has a sign along these lines on display, referring to personal cheques.

"Please do not ask for copyright characters as decoration - as my refusal may offend - due to copyright Laws within this State/Country.*


Or words to that affect -

Bluehue

jenlg Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:38pm
post #9 of 37

I don't offer character cakes....but let me ask this. How do the grocery stores get away with it all? Or am I just not up to date on how it all works since I don't do this. Just curious.

costumeczar Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:44pm
post #10 of 37

Grocery stores buy the Decopacs, which let you use a kit for resale purposes.

If people ask, I tell them that I won't do copyrighted characters. If they ask about why other peope do them, I say that I can't speak for their business, but I like to do things the right way and it's illegal to reproduce the images without a licensing agreement.

jmr531 Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:46pm
post #11 of 37

I got this after googling this subject. It's a portion of Wilton's licensing guidelines. Maybe you can use part or all of it. Or at least use it as a starting point and reword it to your liking:

Generally, creating any type of image that looks like a licensed character that is sold for commercial purposes is prohibited unless there is a specific licensing agreement with the licensor for that product and royalties are paid each time the product is sold.

Pitchers_Bakery Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:11pm
post #12 of 37

i honestly don't agree with either sides of this forum. See, on one hand I understand everyone's point of view for copyright issues if you are making a disney character, or whatever. However, on the other hand, wouldn't a duplicate of a fender guitar, or a copy of a logo, say disney, harley, gucci, coach, and so on and so forth be a copyright issue as well. So, in the end wouldn't it all be copyright? So, everything we do would pretty much have to be logo free, and character free???? Seriously, if you wrote into coach and asked them if it was a copyright issue if I re-created their purse, shoebox, or shoe EXACTLY as I see it, do you really think they would say its cool? I just don't think we can make cakes, WITHOUT crossing some shady lines of the copyright... right?

costumeczar Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:16pm
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitchers_Bakery

i honestly don't agree with either sides of this forum. See, on one hand I understand everyone's point of view for copyright issues if you are making a disney character, or whatever. However, on the other hand, wouldn't a duplicate of a fender guitar, or a copy of a logo, say disney, harley, gucci, coach, and so on and so forth be a copyright issue as well. So, in the end wouldn't it all be copyright? So, everything we do would pretty much have to be logo free, and character free???? Seriously, if you wrote into coach and asked them if it was a copyright issue if I re-created their purse, shoebox, or shoe EXACTLY as I see it, do you really think they would say its cool? I just don't think we can make cakes, WITHOUT crossing some shady lines of the copyright... right?




Uh, no. Don't reproduce logos or characters without permission and you'll be fine. It's not shades of grey, it's illegal to use someone else's copyright for commercial use, so you either choose to do it illegally or you don't. Personally, I get permission from the teams/ logos/etc that I use. Most people will give you permission for a one-time use if you ask. Some won't.

dalis4joe Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:20pm
post #14 of 37

I was just at the AC Bakers Expo and one participant told us she was sued for copyright infrigement (sp?).... and they fought it for a while but settled at $60,000.00... that means they stopped the proceding because it would have been too expensive to fight it.... and there was another one (small cake studio in a small town) she got sued and fined $70,000.00 per cake for 2 cakes she did... she had to close her studio and lost her business due to the lawsuit... so it's very very serious...

we were told that some lawyers focus all their energy on just these type of things... they will send people to order liscensed things, and if u do it... then you get sued... that's how some of the laywers make money... it's not as much the O. itself but the lawyers that do this and make the CO's aware....

I won't do it.... the last character I did... after finding out about all this through CC... I called her and gave it to her AS A GIFT.... as long as you are not making money... it's okay...

HTH

thumbs Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:33pm
post #15 of 37

So what if the customer buys some charactors that can be purchased anywhere (we are not buying them) can we put those on a cake decorated to match color wise?

The customer pays for the cake but we are not charging for the charactors cause we didn't buy them?

Sorry, just trying to get my head around it. I guess the next trick is to learn which one's are copyrighted.

cfao Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:51pm
post #16 of 37

I have this posted on my web site under FAQ:

Can I bring in a picture to be scanned on a party cake? Yes and No. If your picture is of a family member, friend, your car, pet, etc. that you have taken, then yes, we can recreate it on a cake for you. We can not legally reproduce a picture of a celebrity, cd cover or any other item or logo that has a trademark or copyright. We can not copy a picture from a book, magazine or an internet site. We do keep many licensed characters in stock, so call to see if we have what you are looking for.

Carolynlovescake Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 6:05pm
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

"I don't do character cakes because it is agains the law."

Hehe. Okay I know what you mean. I remember not to long ago someone posted something they had displayed in their shop about character cakes and why they wouldn't do them. Let me see if hunt it up, or maybe someone else remembers it?




I am the one.

Just taking a break from forums and focusing on family due to a family crisis.

Let me search my files and find it and repost it for ya'll.

Carolynlovescake Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 6:13pm
post #18 of 37

Here ya go!

_____________________________________

Copyrighted Items for your cake



Character Pans/Character Images
All licensed character shaped pans, candy molds and cookie cutters are for consumer home use only. Stores/Shops/Decorators cannot make cakes, cookies or candies from licensed or copyrighted images and sell them to consumers.

These "mold-making" items are strictly prohibited from any type of commercial use since the licensor has neither the method to control the quality of the reproduction of the character nor the ability to earn royalties on sales of the "made" products. Free-hand or copies of character designs cannot be drawn or iced on top of a cake, cupcakes or cookies and sold for any type of commercial purpose. Once again, the licensor cannot control the quality & is not earning a royalty on the product created around their characters.

Specifically, creating any type of image that looks like a licensed character that then is sold for commercial purposes is prohibited unless there is a specific licensing agreement with the licensor for that product and royalties are paid each time the product is sold.

Additionally a customer cannot bring a character pan/mold they have bought or a toy topper for a cake to a decorator or store/shop, and ask them to make the cake/candy/cookie in exchange for money. This is considered the same thing as above, because money is exchanging hands without the licensor earning royalties.

Edible Images
A copyright protects an original work or creation and gives exclusive right to that work or creation to its author. Copyright law protects the author's/creator's work by prohibiting anyone else from using or profiting from that creation in any way without the owner's permission.

In reproducing copyrighted figures, it does not matter if the character is drawn by hand, added using an image projector, put on a cake with a computer cake machine, or by creation with fondant/gumpaste. If the item carries one of the following symbols then it is protected ( ©, ®, ). Although most copyright materials will contain either © or ® or , U.S. law does not require it.

Copyrighted Photos for Edible Images: Obtaining the release

_________________ will contact the photo owner/photographer requesting a release for the one time use of their photo. If there is a charge for _________________ to use the requested image you, the customer will be notified and given the option to pay the photographer (a confirmation to me from the photographer in writing is needed) or the cost can be added to the cost of your cake and must be paid in full prior to pick up.

Can it really hurt?
The answer is yes. Some copyright holders may be satisfied with a cease & desist order, others could choose to file a lawsuit. Ignorance of these laws will not dismiss the suit, or get you out of trouble with a cease & desist order. The court could find you guilty and award financial damages plus attorney fees. The copyright owner can collect damages without having to prove that your infringement actually cost them monetary harm. Fines can vary. Some may only sue you for a small amount of money but some well known companies are very aggressive in going after anyone and be as high as they feel their image use is worth. It could be $10,000 and it could be $1,000,000.

How will they know?
In actuality they may never know if I were to do a copyrighted image on a cake. Some companies though do have legal teams dedicated to searching out their images being used with out permission. There are some well known companies who do focus on the cake decoratoring industry. In turn let me ask, how do I know you are not part of one of those legal teams who are testing me to do your image? I pride myself in my work, and running my business legally. If you are part of a legal team looking for me to break the law, please rest assured its not going to happen at this place of business.

Why can you do a Character Image from the Deco Pac book?
Deco Pac has arranged to cover the cost of royalty fees for use of their products. Because of this the cakes MUST be recreated exactly as shown in the book.

With that said If you really want to have a copyrighted image on a cake, I will design a cake to match your theme in any way possible. You can purchase the items you want to go on top of the cake and leave your items with me. I can mark where they go on a cake and you can place them on the cake when you reach your destination.

_____________________________

leily Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 6:21pm
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfao

I have this posted on my web site under FAQ:

Can I bring in a picture to be scanned on a party cake? Yes and No. If your picture is of a family member, friend, your car, pet, etc. that you have taken, then yes, we can recreate it on a cake for you. We can not legally reproduce a picture of a celebrity, cd cover or any other item or logo that has a trademark or copyright. We can not copy a picture from a book, magazine or an internet site. We do keep many licensed characters in stock, so call to see if we have what you are looking for.




You don't have it mentioned here, but you may want to clarify the picture of their friend/family member. If a professional photographer took it then it is still copyrighted. Many professional photographers will give you written permission to scan and use as an edible image though. When I worked at wal-mart we would call around to all of the photographers in april (trying to beat the graduation rush) and get written releases for us to use any photo that was taken by them to use on a cake. Most of them then sent along a release along with some of their own labels that we put on the box that the picture was done with them.

I also always get a copy right release from the photographer that takes our family photos. I have to pay her for it (b/c this also allows me to go elsewhere and get my pictures printed) but it's worth it to avoid a lawsuit.

cfao Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 9:57pm
post #20 of 37

leily,

I don't touch any pictures that you can tell a photographer has taken - not worth the headaches. But I did have a customer take the part literally about a picture taken by them and thought they would get around the copyright issue. She had her kid hold the actual box guitar hero comes in and brought the pic in. It was a close up of the box and you could barely see the child's fingers. She said it should be ok because it was a picture of her kid who just happened to be holding the box.

She gets an A for effort, but I still wouldn't do it lol.

JulieMN Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 10:25pm
post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolynlovescake

[

I am the one.

Just taking a break from forums and focusing on family due to a family crisis.

Let me search my files and find it and repost it for ya'll.




That's it! Thanks so much for reposting!

jenlg Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 11:27pm
post #22 of 37

Ok, I may be stupid with this question but I'm going to ask it anyways. I understand the whole character pan copyright issue. But what about people who have made cakes like the Tom & Jerry as shown in Debbie Brown's book? Or made cookies to look like Hello Kitty? Some of these I've seen here on CC. Are they in the wrong? I'm not trying to start a holy war or anything...I just really would like to understand this better as I am starting up my own business. Thanks for any info.

indydebi Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 12:27am
post #23 of 37

jenlg, when you see a photo of a cake, you have no idea if the cake was sold (illegal w/o approval); given as a gift for no charge (totally ok); if the licensing was paid for (totally ok); or if permission was obtained from the copyright holder.

I made a cake with the Mickey Mouse sillouette for my grandson's birthday. Totally legal to do for my personal family celebration..... absolutely will NOT do that cake for money.

Assumptions shouldn't be made about a cake just because there is a photo posted.

The_Lil_Cakehouse Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 12:45am
post #24 of 37

Copyright....Just another word for lurking lawsuit icon_wink.gif Thanks for the awesome Written Statement Carolyn, definitely something to hang on to!

kellertur Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 12:53am
post #25 of 37

How about unlicensed bakers posting on a website (Thomas, Hanna Montana, Beer brands, Disney cakes) saying they can replicate "any cake for any theme" and prices? It makes it that much harder for the legitamate bakers when cusomters say "but so and so does them...". Everytime I've done one of these cakes, I had to climb though red tape and barbed wire hoping someone faxed or called me back in time.

I have a notice that I won't do them unless the CUSTOMER gets writen approval. I'd rather be doing cool cakes that people recognize too, but my home is too important to lose over a cake. JMO.

indydebi Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 1:03am
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellertur

How about unlicensed bakers posting on a website (Thomas, Hanna Montana, Beer brands, Disney cakes) saying they can replicate "any cake for any theme" and prices? It makes it that much harder for the legitamate bakers when cusomters say "but so and so does them...".


I never had a problem responding to this one. Stand there, cross my arms, look them square in the face and tell them, "THEY may be willing to go to jail and lose their home for you, but *I'M* not! Here's what I CAN do ....."

Never had to argue past this point.

emrldsky Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 8:41pm
post #27 of 37

I'd be tempted to put something like,

"I know Elmo is cute, but that little guy packs a BIG fine. I'm sorry, but I cannot do anything that violates copyright law."

The rest of the advice on copyright in here is pretty sound. icon_smile.gif Good luck!

tavyheather Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 9:24pm
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfao

leily,

I don't touch any pictures that you can tell a photographer has taken - not worth the headaches. But I did have a customer take the part literally about a picture taken by them and thought they would get around the copyright issue. She had her kid hold the actual box guitar hero comes in and brought the pic in. It was a close up of the box and you could barely see the child's fingers. She said it should be ok because it was a picture of her kid who just happened to be holding the box.

She gets an A for effort, but I still wouldn't do it lol.




hahahaha wow...yeah A PLUS for effort...what a sneaky mom!

tavyheather Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 9:51pm
post #29 of 37

this is interesting...I'm looking in flikr for Coach purse cakes for ideas for my sister's 40th bday cake...

and Coach themselves comment asking them to add the pic to their fan page...

One decorator did state it was "for a client" so they got paid..not sure about the other...

Moral? dunno but I guess it proves they are out there watching us...

leily Posted 27 Mar 2010 , 3:43am
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfao

leily,

I don't touch any pictures that you can tell a photographer has taken - not worth the headaches. But I did have a customer take the part literally about a picture taken by them and thought they would get around the copyright issue. She had her kid hold the actual box guitar hero comes in and brought the pic in. It was a close up of the box and you could barely see the child's fingers. She said it should be ok because it was a picture of her kid who just happened to be holding the box.

She gets an A for effort, but I still wouldn't do it lol.




ahh.. gave me a good laugh. At least she tried icon_smile.gif

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