morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 12:15am
post #1 of

There was a thread yesterday, with a person who did not take the copyright laws serious. So allow me to share my story:

 

I have a friend. She owned a licensed bakery, one day she re-created a purse. A very famous one, for a client. It was really really good, I mean the work was flawless. That being said, this was her most famous cake, she put it in a portfolio and on her website. A year goes by...she gets served with papers. She's being sued for copyright infringement. She tried to settle, they were not interested. They took her to court she was ordered to pay 200,000 to this company. She didn't take the laws serious enough, and she paid dearly for it.

 

I said all this to say, they WILL find you. She was successful yes, but far from famous. And they caught her. It is honestly NOT WORTH IT to recreate these characters that are licensed. I know you really want that order. But losing that one order is not so bad when you think about this could be you. I just wanted to share the story, if any of you are thinking about doing it. Don't. 

151 replies
DeliciousDesserts Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 2:22am
post #2 of

AI know you mean well.

This, like so many others, is too vague for anyone to take it seriously.

In order to really get anyone's attention, you'll need to use verifiable facts including names.

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 2:29am
post #3 of

AThe company was Louis Vuitton. Unfortunately I will not reveal the name of my friend, who it happened to (I know that you're not asking me to do that, so that's not directed at you)

I also shared the story because someone mentioned it in the other thread, and I didn't have time to explain it right then.

I guess ultimately people do what they want. But I thought being a witness to someone being prosecuted for it would deter people. And maybe it will for a few people.

BeesKnees578 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 4:03am
post #4 of

That's such BS...not your warning, but the $200,000!  Ridiculous!  I could see the amount she charged for the cake plus some extra to cover court costs (maybe THAT is why it was so high a fine).  Maybe I would feel differently if I was LV, but.....geesh!

 

I have done a few copyrighted cakes. I can count on one hand the number of them that I have gotten paid for years ago.  Any others were for gifts.  I stopped doing them once I realized that I didn't want to be "that baker", the one who does almost nothing but characters, and leaving almost nothing to my own creativity.

 

Once I found out the extent of the fines, that just firmed my resolve not to do them (unless they have purchased figures to put on the cake).

 

Maybe the key is to do crappy work if you're going to do it...obviously doing a FANTASTIC job will bite you in the A$$!

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 4:16am
post #5 of

AThey had a thing out for her (my opinion) they chose her to make an example out of it seems...it's really rather sad to see

BrandisBaked Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 4:46am
post #6 of

AUm, if it was a lawsuit and there was a judgment, then it is a matter of public record. A quick search of the internet or a legal database would prove whether this story has any merit.

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 4:55am
post #7 of

Im rather surprised at the skepticism. Who would make up a story to prove that copyright laws dont exist? Is there some history of this I dont know about. It seems that there is. 

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 4:56am
post #8 of

At any rate, It just was to serve as a warning that companies can and will do go after people. Thats all. I didnt think that there would be a discussion of the merits. I mean it is of no benefit of me to lie about it? Idk. 

BrandisBaked Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:00am
post #9 of

AWhy would anyone on the internet make up anything? I don't know. I'm just saying that if you are reluctant to share her name, if there is such a case, it can be found by searching for Louis Vuitton lawsuits. For the Google fans here, it should keep them busy for a few minutes. LOL!

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:05am

AOhhhh. YES GOOGLE lol. I guess I could always just ask her but she's kind of embarrassed about the whole thing. Id hate to have her see me using her as an example on here.

One time I said something not so nice about my sister in law in a thread and she saw it. Not fun

vgcea Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:11am

A

Original message sent by BrandisBaked

Um, if it was a lawsuit and there was a judgment, then it is a matter of public record. A quick search of the internet or a legal database would prove whether this story has any merit.

My search didn't yield anything.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:14am

A

Original message sent by BrandisBaked

Why would anyone on the internet make up anything? I don't know. I'm just saying that if you are reluctant to share her name, if there is such a case, it can be found by searching for Louis Vuitton lawsuits. For the Google fans here, it should keep them busy for a few minutes. LOL!

Searching for court cases is more complicated than just using Google, and usually involves paying a fee for access to the court records, as well as knowing which court the lawsuit was filed in. There's also the matter of LV being quite litigious so there would be a long list of lawsuits to sort through.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:18am

A

Original message sent by BeesKnees578

That's such BS...not your warning, but the $200,000!  Ridiculous!  I could see the amount she charged for the cake plus some extra to cover court costs (maybe THAT is why it was so high a fine).  Maybe I would feel differently if I was LV, but.....geesh!

If the plaintiff sustains the burden of proving infringement occurred (meaning they had a strong case) statutory damages top out at $150K per infringement. Add $50K for legal fees and the $200K judgment is what you would expect for the maximum penalty of a single infringing work.

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#504

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:20am

ASo it seems like I should have gotten all details and permission from her prior to posting this. It really was to only lend a real world verification if you will, that these things really do happen.

So that's really the gist.

JWinslow Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:21am

Quote:

Originally Posted by morganchampagne 

They had a thing out for her (my opinion) they chose her to make an example out of it seems...it's really rather sad to see

Can she appeal the fine amount?  Seems excessive.  There is also the matter of collecting on the judgement.  Just like with traffic fines, one cannot be forced to pay the entire amount all at once.

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:24am

AThis isn't a recent thing...it's all been settled it was about 5 years ago....she didn't appeal the fine.

To pay the judgement she liquidated her business. Idk if that's the right word but she closed up shop and sold everything.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:25am

A

Original message sent by JWinslow

Can she appeal the fine amount?  Seems excessive.  There is also the matter of collecting on the judgement.  Just like with traffic fines, one cannot be forced to pay the entire amount all at once.

If the defendant had an LLC (and maintained it correctly) they should be able to pay out the assets of the LLC (leaving personal assets untouched), dissolve the LLC, and start a new LLC as a brand new bakery with no debt.

It would be difficult to appeal the fine amount since it is within statutory limits. I'm just curious what kind of legal representation OP's friend had...didn't her liability insurance company provide a lawyer?

BrandisBaked Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:26am

AI believe there are a few lawyers on this site. Since I no longer work in the legal field, I no longer subscribe to LoisLaw and haven't had to do any legal research in years. Google would take longer since you usually have to connect the dots, but it can be done - otherwise, maybe one of our legal-eagle cakers could do a quick search on their database. :D

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:32am

ACould I ask what the big deal is? I mean what's the concern with finding the judgement? I welcome it but I'm just curious why it's such a huge deal. Especially considering it was a warning to help ppl. I didn't accuse anybody on this site of doing anything...so I'm wondering why it seems so important to prove it to be false.

I may have the wrong impression so correct ms if I'm wrong

jason_kraft Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:36am

A

Original message sent by morganchampagne

so I'm wondering why it seems so important to prove it to be false.

Cognitive dissonance. If someone strongly believes that copyright law does not apply to them, they will do everything they can to ignore, avoid, bury, or explain away evidence that there are sometimes consequences to infringement in the real world.

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:39am

AAh I see. Well I find it hard that anybody would really find this particular judgement. Seeing as how you don't know her name or company. At any rate, I do hope the warning helps someone. That's all I'm about.

JWinslow Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:40am

Quote:

Originally Posted by morganchampagne 

Could I ask what the big deal is? I mean what's the concern with finding the judgement? I welcome it but I'm just curious why it's such a huge deal. Especially considering it was a warning to help ppl. I didn't accuse anybody on this site of doing anything...so I'm wondering why it seems so important to prove it to be false.

I may have the wrong impression so correct ms if I'm wrong

Your warning is not lost.  I was just curious.

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:41am

AOh I didn't see your question Jason. I am not sure about her liability insurance or if she had it. I'm not intimately familiar with her details. She's a family friend so I know the general story.

BrandisBaked Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:49am

AIt's so important because people want to base their decisions on facts. We've heard/read many times the "it happened to a friend of mine" but no evidence is offered. If you really want people to KNOW that these lawsuits happen, why not offer up the case law?

There's a reason Snopes.com exists - because there are a lot of stories that are simply made up.

I don't believe or disbelieve you. I am just answering your question.

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:53am

AWell that's fair, and I do understand. I was just curious.

Maybe it's on me for not gathering the info. I had the idea to tell the story in a post because it was mentioned in another thread, and wanted to elaborate. But I do understand what you're saying. My moms an attorney, my aunts an an attorney. So I am used to people wanting all the details!

I was just curious if there was something about my particular story that was unsettling or something. You saying that also helps me to understand Mimis comment too.

vgcea Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:59am

A

Original message sent by JWinslow

Your warning is not lost.  I was just curious.

Ditto.

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 6:02am

:D Im happy to hear that. If i would have known the history of alot of these stories being made up, i would have gotten prior permission from the friend to go into detail and maybe even scan the documents or something. However I now have an idea for a blog post. When/if I tell the story there ill be sure to have verifiable details to be sure the warning is 100% effective. I dont want to see anybody else lose their business over something like that

vgcea Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 6:12am

AKellym had something similar happen to her. It only went as far as a cease and desist letter though because she complied. She's been very vocal about copyrights since then sharing the story with CFL bakers to educate them that these character cakes can come back to bite folks in the tush years after they were made and forgotten. I did find that Louis Vuitton has been sue-happy in recent years. There were quite a number of lawsuits to sift through.

morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 6:18am

AAnd this one was 5 years back! So it would take a dedicated person to find it. LV has been going after a lot of people for all kinds of infringements. There's a popular part of town here that sells knock offs. LV came through and rounded them all up!

BrandisBaked Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 6:23am

AWouldn't your friend want to warn others? If I had to close my business, I would want it to serve as a cautionary tale.

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