I am new to doing cakes as a business. I started up as people kept telling me how great my cakes were and that I should sell them. So, after my husband and I were made redundant I thought I'd give it a go!
I have recently heard that we are not allowed to make cakes of any image that is copyrighted. Could anyone give me some advice on this as there seem to be a host of pictures out there of cakes of copyrighted images (including on this site!).
I don't want to be sued or shut down but equally, I know that a lot of people out there ask for cakes with replicas of something on. Ones I have done so far (luckily not for paying clients) include: Mickey Mouse, Rapunzel, Iggle Piggle, the London 2012 logo, and Football team badges/ coat of arms.
Am I allowed to display images on my website of ones I have made for my own family (ie not charged for) to demonstrate my level of ability and precision, or is it a complete ban? How strict is it? and, if it helps, I am in the United Kingdom.
If you put the cakes on your website then tell clients they can't order them you're going to have a hard time explaining why, at least to their satisfaction.
The rule is you can't sell anything that would have people believe it's representing a licensed character or image, at least not without permission. There are licensed decorating images you can buy, and you can also make a cake without the characters and have your clients place toys in that image on the cake if they so wish.
That doesn't mean people don't still do it, there are tons of people selling cakes using characters they didn't get permission to use, and the likelihood is most of them will never get into trouble for it. The most you can probably expect is a cease and desist letter from the lawyers for the company who's license/trademark you are illegally using. But they could take you to court, and fine you substantially if they wanted. So it's up to you whether you want to take that risk or not. Many of us don't, but many more do.
AThank you! That is really helpful :-)