Hello everyone, I've been spending a good amount of time perusing a lot of cake sites. Lots of wonderful artwork out there by some very talented individuals. It made me start thinking about cakes with themes like Disney, Spiderman, Hello Kitty etc...is it considered infringement when we duplicate some known character without getting permission or paying some kind of royalty? And if we are supposed to get permission, how would you even start to do that? Thanks for you input in advance!
This topic has been discussed on here a lot. Did you try the search?
Anyway, yes it is definitely infringement (unless you are making a cake for your own child/family member) and even then I would advise against putting a picture online. To get permission you write/email the company's PR department, usually.
It's pretty much impossible to get permission from Disney, but you could try. It's always safer, legally to make a cake with a "background" and let the customer place toys on the cake.
Disney does license a number of DecoPac products, but (at least the last time I heard) neither pre-printed nor clip-art edible printed products.
I suspect that it might be somewhat easier to get permission from cartoonists who aren't carried in a lot of newspapers, especially cartoonists who actually read and reply to messages sent to their public email addresses. (I know that Bill Holbrook was downright flattered when I sent him a picture of a computer case-mod I'd done, inspired by a running gag in his "On the Fastrack" strip.)
AI agree with hbquickcomjames, some of the 'smaller' authors etc seem to quite flattered but you can get some quite rude responses from the larger ones. At the moment I only make cakes for friends and family but am looking into starting a business...I made an 'elmo' cake for my God daughter's birthday which i was really proud of so emailed Sesame Street and asked for permission to use it in the future for marketing etc. I got a flat out 'no, we don't licence our characters to anyone' response...I was furious! The email was pretty rude and if that wasn't enough, they made a Sesame Street cake on a TV show the night before!! By contrast, another friend asked for a cake inspired by a book from an author I had never heard of and again, in anticipation of planning ahead, I asked for permission and got a lovely response.
Good luck and I hope it goes well!