Character Cakes And Copyright

Business By klutz Updated 28 Feb 2014 , 5:18am by SweetMelissa730

klutz Posted 27 Feb 2014 , 6:59pm
post #1 of 10

After seeing today's post with that awesome Minnie Mouse cake I became very, for lack of a better term, upset.  My understanding of copyright laws when it comes to licensed characters is that a bakery absolutely CAN NOT recreate a likeness of a licensed character without risk of prosecution by the licensing company.  So...day after day...I find myself turning away business from customers who want Ninja Turtles, Lalaloopsy, Pixar and Disney character cakes after finding a perfect picture online.  If this is against the law, how are there so many bakeries posting pictures of their incredible character cakes?  It's very discouraging for both me and my customers, who can type a character name into google and find hundreds of cakes created in that character image, but I am standing here telling them I can't do it because it's against the law.  Is there some kind of exemption or something I don't know about? If anyone who has done these cakes or who can shed some light on this subject would be kind enough to comment, I would be extremely grateful.

9 replies
kellyk1234 Posted 27 Feb 2014 , 7:55pm
post #2 of 10

I would like to know too, because I've seen several bakeries who advertise character cakes on their websites.  How do they get away with it?? 

maybenot Posted 27 Feb 2014 , 11:12pm
post #3 of 10

Some get away with it because..................................................they don't getting caught.  It's that simple.

 

No, they're not getting permission from Disney--or some of the other big names, either.  They're biding their time, hedging their bets, and breaking the law. Period.

 

Many know and don't care.  A few likely don't know.  All are open to big troubles if caught.   No amount of liability insurance will shield them if a big money company comes after them.

 

You can always contact a company and ask.  Some will say OK--usually for a 1 time use--others may say fine any time, and still others may say no way, ever.

 

To help a customer understand the issue, ask them to contact the company--and then verify the answer yourself before going ahead with the cake.

klutz Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 12:30am
post #4 of 10

ASee....thats what my understanding always was. Im just surprized that so many of them plaster those pictures all over the internet; and equally surprized that cc leaves them upsupports that and uses them as part of their email blasts. I would figure that would make them open for lawsuits too somehow. Not at all trying to make trouble for anyone, just really dont understand where the lines are I guess.

SweetMelissa730 Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 1:36am
post #5 of 10

Just because the cake is on Cake Central doesn't mean it was for sale. I for one have made many Disney and Marvel character cakes for my godchildren but not for sale. I understand your frustration, I've seen many themes or cakes I'd love to do. Although, I have 5 godchildren and no children of my own yet, so maybe I'll get a chance to do some of them still. lol

klutz Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 3:39am
post #6 of 10

ASorry...i wasnt trying to offend. I know that is the case sometimes. I usually tell customers that licensed characters are usually one of 3 things : decorators making cakes for family and friends, bakeries who have acquired copyright permission or payed licensing fees, or bakeries who have chosen to take a chance that I cant afford to take. Most of them understand, but I still feel like i'm letting them down by saying no. :(

BeesKnees578 Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 4:03am
post #7 of 10

Quote:

Originally Posted by klutz 

See....thats what my understanding always was. Im just surprized that so many of them plaster those pictures all over the internet; and equally surprized that cc leaves them upsupports that and uses them as part of their email blasts. I would figure that would make them open for lawsuits too somehow. Not at all trying to make trouble for anyone, just really dont understand where the lines are I guess.

 

Yes, I wonder about this waaaay too often!  I worry that if the wrong person ever got a hold of this website, it's a freaking gold mine of sue-worthy material.

LeslieBruckman Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 4:20am
post #8 of 10

I was contacted about a character cake I did. I had to ensure it was a family cake (even though it was on my website at the time, mostly there to show skill and expand my portfolio because I was new to cake decorating) and show on my site the disclaimer that I couldn't make character cakes available to be sold to the public. They were total assholes about the whole thing, and I get it... but seriously. Then like you said, you see other bakeries doing it and are like... wth?
If I do character cakes, it's strictly for family and they don't go on my website at all. I will post on my facebook, but I'll say something in the caption about it being "x family member's" cake.

maybenot Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 4:22am
post #9 of 10

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeesKnees578 
 

 

Yes, I wonder about this waaaay too often!  I worry that if the wrong person ever got a hold of this website, it's a freaking gold mine of sue-worthy material.


I agree.

 

Sadly, I think that stopping the offenders is so spotty that many people are willing to take the risk. 

 

I know of a west coast ex-pat Brit baker who has over 90,000 likes on FB.  She is now building her new bakery on the back of Disney.  She has been quoted publicly as saying that she'll continue to break copyright laws until they stop her.  I reported her to Disney 6 months ago...........and as of today, she's still posting on FB all of her mouse-eared creations. 

 

I check FB periodically and I'm waiting patiently to see all of her Disney cakes disappear... and read her rant about receiving a cease-and-desist letter...............THAT will make my day!

SweetMelissa730 Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 5:18am
post #10 of 10

A

Original message sent by klutz

Sorry...i wasnt trying to offend. I know that is the case sometimes. I usually tell customers that licensed characters are usually one of 3 things : decorators making cakes for family and friends, bakeries who have acquired copyright permission or payed licensing fees, or bakeries who have chosen to take a chance that I cant afford to take. Most of them understand, but I still feel like i'm letting them down by saying no. :(

No offense taken! Sorry if I made you think otherwise! :-)

It is disappointing to tell people no. Plus I love Disney so I'd be thrilled to be able to make Disney themed cakes all the time but it is what it is. I just have to hope the kids in my family want the cakes I'd actually like to make! :grin:

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%