Copyrights? May Lose A Customer Anyone Know A Good Thread?

Decorating By CocoaBlondie Updated 22 Jun 2011 , 11:20pm by cakesbycathy

CocoaBlondie Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:03am
post #1 of 25

Hi There, I know there are threads on her somewhere? I can't seem to find them. I have a customer wanting a Perry the Platapus cake. I told her I could do a cake in similar colors but that Perry is a licensed character. She basically said if you won't do it I will get someone who will. Am I wrong? How can I get around this? Any idea's?

24 replies
crushed Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:10am
post #2 of 25

I had this happen to me and I had to just tell them I was sorry but I couldn't do the licensed character. I offered a "background" cake that they could put toppers on, but they weren't interested.

You basically have to make a judgement call. I was unwilling to take the risk.

VaBelle Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:18am
post #3 of 25

You can do the cake if you are not charging. If you plan to charge, you need a license. I only bake for friends and family, but had a friend refer me to someone and she wanted a character cake and I wouldn't do it. I know me. I'll be the one to get busted.

sari66 Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:23am
post #4 of 25

I had this happen recently and just told them sorry if they don't want the colors and toy topper then they need to find someone else.

Texas_Rose Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:24am
post #5 of 25

You've got a few copyright characters in your photos...so I'm guessing you were doing them until you found out you couldn't. Just tell the customer that you can't take the risk...if someone else wants to do it, let them. (If they get caught, they probably won't be your competition anymore icon_biggrin.gif)

CocoaBlondie Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:31am
post #6 of 25

No, Always knew it was a no no. These clients happen to be fam. & super close friends. Anyway... sounds like from everyone to just give up on this one.

CocoaBlondie Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:34am
post #7 of 25

Just got an e-mail from her. She wants me to make a teal cake with the Perry hat on top. Ehhhh I think that's pushing it.

madcobbler Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:41am
post #8 of 25

I have to agree with Crushed. Tell the customer you don't do licensed characters and offer a scenic cake with toy toppers or character candles. I also recommend not doing an exact replica of another cake decorators work. When you get customers who bring in pictures of cakes from magazines, books, internet, etc. offer to do a cake that's similar with some of the decorating elements but put your own spin on the cake. It's better to lose 1 customer than risk being sued for copyright infringement and maybe lose your business as well.

jason_kraft Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:48am
post #9 of 25

When customers ask us to reproduce a copyrighted character on a cake, we say we can either purchase a licensed topper of the character (or one can be provided), or the customer can request permission from the copyright owner and send us the approval in writing.

You are doing the right thing, kudos for sticking to your principles and the law.

CocoaBlondie Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:49am
post #10 of 25

Here's the thing I kind of feel almost like she baiting me in now. I don't know maybe I'm just paranoid. But to keep sending me e-mails to still get the same outcome I said no to already. It just makes me nervous thumbsdown.gif

CocoaBlondie Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:52am
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

When customers ask us to reproduce a copyrighted character on a cake, we say we can either purchase a licensed topper of the character (or one can be provided), or the customer can request permission from the copyright owner and send us the approval in writing.

You are doing the right thing, kudos for sticking to your principles and the law.




Thanks, So your saying I can actually purchase the character for her? That I would be willing to do.

jason_kraft Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:54am
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by CocoaBlondie

Here's the thing I kind of feel almost like she baiting me in now. I don't know maybe I'm just paranoid. But to keep sending me e-mails to still get the same outcome I said no to already. It just makes me nervous thumbsdown.gif



I doubt she's baiting you, the cake is probably for one of her kids who really wants the character on the cake, so she's trying to press the issue. Just keep reiterating that you require approval from the copyright owner before you can copy someone else's work on the cake.

jason_kraft Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:56am
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by CocoaBlondie

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

When customers ask us to reproduce a copyrighted character on a cake, we say we can either purchase a licensed topper of the character (or one can be provided), or the customer can request permission from the copyright owner and send us the approval in writing.

You are doing the right thing, kudos for sticking to your principles and the law.



Thanks, So your saying I can actually purchase the character for her? That I would be willing to do.



If you can find a licensed Perry the Platypus cake topper, it is perfectly legal to purchase that topper and include it on a cake you sell, since the copyright owner has already gotten their cut from the sale of the topper.

leah_s Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 3:12am
post #14 of 25

I do exactly what Jason said. The customer has to get the permission in writing and forward it to me.

"I know we just met, and I already luv ya, but I won't break the law for ya."

If I had a dollar for every time i've used that line . . .

CocoaBlondie Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 3:13am
post #15 of 25

Thanks again, I'm going to do some searching on line for a topper. Then I'll run this by her.

CocoaBlondie Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 3:16am
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I do exactly what Jason said. The customer has to get the permission in writing and forward it to me.

"I know we just met, and I already luv ya, but I won't break the law for ya."

If I had a dollar for every time i've used that line . . .




To Funny icon_lol.gif I'll have to use this line next time.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 3:26am
post #17 of 25

I think if you did a teal cake with gold trim and a brown fedora, you would not be infringing on copyright. If you made it look like a platypus yes. The other would just look good with any other plates and accessories. Toys R Us sells small plush that would look good on a cake.

FromScratchSF Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 5:41am
post #18 of 25

Believe it or not, check Amazon for cake toppers. I am constantly shocked the stuff I find on there (Tappits! Pearl molds! Leaf veiners! For cheep! And free shipping with my Prime membership).

Jen

warchild Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 7:46am
post #19 of 25

I agree with the PP, a teal cake with a brown fedora should be fine. Perry the Platypus's hat, is your every day detective or gangster hat you can rent on Halloween if you want to be Michael Jackson, Eliot Ness or Al Capone etc. Fedoras have been around forever, my Dad and Uncles wore them when I was a youngster, they're not exclusive to Perry the Platypus.

sweettreat101 Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 8:44am
post #20 of 25

Target sells the toys. You could put one on the cake as a cake topper and the child can play with it when the party is done.

CocoaBlondie Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 12:43pm
post #21 of 25

Thanks guys for all the input. Everything I'm finding on-line is going to take to long for delivery. I'll have to check Target out.

sugarxosugar143 Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 1:04pm
post #22 of 25

i just had basically the same conversation with someone! I only do cakes for family and friends and they only pay me for the ingredients and supplies i need to make the cakes because i am not yet legal, its just a hobby for now but a friends friend just asked me yesterday if i would do a minnie mouse themed cake for her daughter and i had to explain to her that i could only do it if she bought a minnie mouse toy or topper to put on the cake and she wasnt to happy at first, she kept insisting but i wouldnt budge lol. I also just recently found out about the copyright law on character cakes and i know im not selling them but i have also heard even if you dont sell or profit from the cake its still illegal to do a character cake unless you have permission or use a toy/topper. anyone know if this is true?

jason_kraft Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 1:59pm
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarxosugar143

i have also heard even if you dont sell or profit from the cake its still illegal to do a character cake unless you have permission or use a toy/topper. anyone know if this is true?



That's correct, it is still a copyright violation even if you don't accept any compensation for the cake. The chances of the copyright owner pursuing a case against someone for a non-commercial transaction are pretty slim though.

However, since you ask for money for ingredients you are engaging in a commercial transaction (whether you are making a profit, breaking even, or selling at a loss is irrelevant as long as the sale price is above $0).

sugarxosugar143 Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:12pm
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarxosugar143

i have also heard even if you dont sell or profit from the cake its still illegal to do a character cake unless you have permission or use a toy/topper. anyone know if this is true?


That's correct, it is still a copyright violation even if you don't accept any compensation for the cake. The chances of the copyright owner pursuing a case against someone for a non-commercial transaction are pretty slim though.

However, since you ask for money for ingredients you are engaging in a commercial transaction (whether you are making a profit, breaking even, or selling at a loss is irrelevant as long as the sale price is above $0).




okay, thanks for the info icon_smile.gif

cakesbycathy Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 11:20pm
post #25 of 25

Make sure you charge the additional cost for the topper.

I make my clients purchase them and bring them to me ahead of time.

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