Customer Insisting She's Right About Copyrights!

Business By HannahsMomi Updated 14 Oct 2014 , 8:54pm by jgdorothy

HannahsMomi Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 6:50pm
post #1 of 25

Ugh!  Very frustrated right now!  I've been dealing with a customer all day concerning a cake she wants for a child.  She wants a cake with fondant Disney characters all over it and she insists that copyright laws do not apply to me.  I have explained to her that this is not so.  She then sends me pictures of cakes that other cake decorators have made with the fondant characters on them and says they have done it so it is fine.  Please!  I have now informed her that just because others have done it, that doesn't mean it is right or lawful.  I've told her I can make a "background" cake and she can buy characters to put on the cake or she can contact Disney and get permission.  She doesn't get it...She is a previous customer, plus I am doing a gender reveal cake for her next week.  I hate to lose her business, but come on.  I guess I will see what her next response is.  How do you guys deal with customers like this? 

24 replies
CindiM Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 7:23pm
post #2 of 25

AI would explain to her that I have to protect myself, and will honor a written release from DISNEY as soon as she is able to provide it. End of story.

-K8memphis Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 7:31pm
post #3 of 25
AZCouture Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 8:24pm
post #4 of 25

AI just briefly explain I'm not interested in creating the copyrighted figurines/details.

For me, it's just been proven time and again that the budgets that accompany the usual Disney type requests are horribly low to begin with, so that's an easy "out" for me, before we get any further with the process. ;)

I decline the request, but offer an alternative of course, which is background scenery, or patterns from the invitations they'll mail out, or matching the party decorations. I also explain that I am a designer, and I work with my clients and their ideas to create something new and unique just for their event.

So if they just want a carbon copy of some cake off of Pinterest, that's loaded up with so much copyrighted material that it looks like Walt Disney himself barfed all over it, that hundreds of other people have ordered, then I'm not the decorator for them. If they want something that compliments their event, and is thoughtfully planned out, and detailed in a fun and unique way, then I'm their gal. :D

maybenot Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 9:16pm
post #5 of 25

Yep, tell her to get the proper permissions--and that she must include all names, phone numbers, and e-mails so that you can verify.   She'll never ask you to do it again.

HannahsMomi Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 9:42pm
post #6 of 25

Thank you all for the great advice!  I guess I just needed to hear others say it as well!:)  I think I'm too worried about the customer taking her future business elsewhere.  I need to get over that! 

-K8memphis Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 9:46pm
post #7 of 25

that kind of business (and pressure) you don't need

HannahsMomi Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 11:35pm
post #8 of 25

K8memphis...you are absolutely right!

ypierce82 Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 11:50pm
post #9 of 25

I would definitely not create a cake or anything of any kind for anyone that continued to pressure me about doing something that is not legal to do. I was asked to do Toy Story cookies and cake, the lady pitched a fit because I said that I couldn't do it. If other people want to risk their business, that's on them, but no client is ever going to dictate to me what I will and will not do. I understand not wanting to lose an order, but I would rather lose that cake order than do something illegal. Best of luck!

Donnawb Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 8:44pm
post #10 of 25

Where can you find the copyright law that says what you can and cannot do?  And, what constitutes a "likeness"?  Are all the cake pops that are just a silhouette of Mickey and Minnie with black ears against the law?

maybenot Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 10:09pm
post #11 of 25

Basically, if it is recognizable as the character [uses iconic elements that "belong" to that character--like a silhouette or round black ears], then the copyright applies.

 

Disney just went after Deadmau5 because he was attempting to copyright a logo that included 2 round black ears, etc.

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/04/disney-deadmau5-deadmouse-mickey-mouse/15106939/

 

Remember, Disney may not prevail, but it takes deep pockets to defend yourself.........................

CindiM Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 10:39pm
post #12 of 25

Google Disney copyright, then go to Walt Disney Licensing and all of the information on who to contact for multiple applications are listed. 

AZCouture Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 11:27pm
post #13 of 25

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donnawb 
 

Where can you find the copyright law that says what you can and cannot do?  And, what constitutes a "likeness"?  Are all the cake pops that are just a silhouette of Mickey and Minnie with black ears against the law?

It's super simple. If it's anything recognizable, consider it off limits. Period. Unless you want to contact the copyright holders and try to get permission.

costumeczar Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 11:35pm
post #14 of 25

Quote:

Originally Posted by HannahsMomi 
 

 She then sends me pictures of cakes that other cake decorators have made with the fondant characters on them and says they have done it so it is fine.

Did you say she's reproducing? Because this is the argument that every parent hears from their kids and tells them it's garbage. "everyone's doing it!"

cakesbycathy Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 12:11am
post #15 of 25

Sometimes you need to cut the client loose.  I know you have done cakes for her in the past and have one coming up, and that you'd hate to lose a customer.  But you are in charge of your business and the client needs to respect that, even if they don't agree with you.

 

If she's being that insistent and you don't want to do the cake I would simply email her that while you love having her as a client you are not going to be able to make the cake and understand if she wants to find another decorator.  It's then up to her.

HannahsMomi Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 12:43am
post #16 of 25

Yes, she is using the "everybody else is doing it" argument.  We will see how she responds.  I told her I cannot and will not do it.  I will not put my business at risk.  So far, I haven't heard back about this cake.  Hopefully, it stops here and she'll just accept it.  I guess we will also see if she keeps the other cake order she has with me for next week...

Fahrenheit Posted 28 Sep 2014 , 1:05pm
post #17 of 25

AAny update?

HannahsMomi Posted 28 Sep 2014 , 8:25pm
post #18 of 25

No update yet!  The customer is still getting her current order with me, but has not mentioned anything more about the future Disney cake....I'm betting she will "discuss" it with me when she picks up her current cake order from me on Thursday.  Can't wait...

cakesbycathy Posted 5 Oct 2014 , 6:39pm
post #19 of 25

What happened when she picked up her cake???

HannahsMomi Posted 5 Oct 2014 , 7:29pm
post #20 of 25

Ha, ha!  Well she picked up her current order, and as expected she brought up her Madagascar/Toy Story cake.  I held my ground and told her I love doing cakes for her but I will not do a cake for her containing copyrighted figures.  She gave up because I was not budging.  Very proud of myself!  I have a history of always wanting to make people happy and not say not.  She then asked if I would be willing to do the cake with similar characters (ie a lion, zebra, hippo, etc).  I said yes to that, but I made sure she understood that they would not look like the Madagascar/Toy Story characters.  She seems fine with it.  Lets hope this all goes smoothly...8-)  Thanks again to everyone for your advice and input!!!! 

-K8memphis Posted 5 Oct 2014 , 7:36pm
post #21 of 25

that's shaping into a win/win -- good for you

HannahsMomi Posted 14 Oct 2014 , 7:49pm
post #22 of 25

I have a funny update...customer finally agreed to my terms of not doing copyrighted material and now she did not meet her deadline for her 50% deposit on her cake in order to secure her date!  And I just know she is going to call and expect me to let her put her 50% down late.  Nope.  Not doing it.  She is giving me too many headaches...

jgdorothy Posted 14 Oct 2014 , 8:46pm
post #23 of 25

Buddy of Cake Boss has a good discussion regarding copyrights on his website:

 

http://www.cakeboss.com/Cake-Stuff/Articles/Copyrighted-Cakes

thecakewitch Posted 14 Oct 2014 , 8:51pm
post #24 of 25

A

Original message sent by jgdorothy

Buddy of Cake Boss has a good discussion regarding copyrights on his website:

[URL=http://www.cakeboss.com/Cake-Stuff/Articles/Copyrighted-Cakes]http://www.cakeboss.com/Cake-Stuff/Articles/Copyrighted-Cakes[/URL]

That's not Buddy's Cakeboss.

jgdorothy Posted 14 Oct 2014 , 8:54pm
post #25 of 25

AOops sorry to misquote the source. I just thought it had very good info on copyright questions.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%