Explaining Copyright Issues To Customers

Business By Jenn123 Updated 23 Mar 2015 , 6:56pm by Jenn123

Jenn123 Posted 21 Mar 2015 , 2:34pm
post #1 of 12

I am one of those decorators who is trying to follow the copyright laws. There are plenty of disreputable bakers out there willing to do anything for a buck! I get photos and requests every day for cakes that I feel are illegal for me to sell. Lately I have had several customers get angry because I won't "do what everyone else is doing." They seem to feel that laws are meant to be broken and want me to give in. I won't. Any ideas on how to politely explain the situation to customers? It is posted on my website and I take the time to explain when necessary... but people still get mad. They don't seem to understand that this makes my life harder too and I'm not refusing them for fun. The law is.... the law.

My usual response:

Copyright laws prohibit me from copying and selling other people's work. (I.e. Disney licensed characters) In order to decorate for your theme, I will need to use toys or candles for the characters. I cannot draw of make the figures.

Is there a better way to say it? How do you handle it?

11 replies
-K8memphis Posted 21 Mar 2015 , 2:45pm
post #2 of 12

tell them you'd be delighted to make the cake if they get permission that all they have to do is contact the legal department of that company --

point them to this webpage for an eye opener http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/content/disney-antipiracy

Jenn123 Posted 21 Mar 2015 , 2:51pm
post #3 of 12

Nice! I think I need to use that tip line!

costumeczar Posted 22 Mar 2015 , 6:55pm
post #4 of 12

If people get mad, they get mad. Too bad but it's not your fault. I tell them that it's illegal to sell a copyrighted character without a license, so I don't do it. I then add that there are probably people who will do it illegally if they look around, but that I like to stay within the law so I won' do it.

 Just an FYI, I once had that conversation with the father of a girl who was having a baby shower. His wife had told him to call and order a Winnie the Pooh cake. I gave him my little speech, and he replied "good, because I'm a copyright attorney."   =:o

Pastrybaglady Posted 22 Mar 2015 , 8:16pm
post #5 of 12

And yet he was going to order it from you?

costumeczar Posted 22 Mar 2015 , 9:04pm
post #6 of 12

 

Quote by @Pastrybaglady on 44 minutes ago

And yet he was going to order it from you?

 He was told by his wife that it was a Winnie the Pooh theme, and he was supposed to call and tell me that. I told him I could do something with Classic Pooh touches but I couldn't do Disney characters. I think he was "just following orders" and hadn't really thought the whole thing through. He probably didn't even think about the fact that there might be characters on the cake to begin with, being a man and all...

indydebi Posted 22 Mar 2015 , 9:47pm
post #7 of 12

Quote by @Jenn123 on 1 day ago

 Lately I have had several customers get angry because I won't "do what everyone else is doing." They seem to feel that laws are meant to be broken and want me to give in.


I wonder if they would feel this way if they found their child selling drugs.  I mean, after all, their kid is just doing "what everyone else is doing."  It's just a law....what's wrong with breaking it?

It's sad they honestly believe "everyone else" is doing it and won't see that only the unscrupulous are doing it.

Costumeczar .... that experience reminds me of the story a health inspector told me.  He stopped for lunch at a (national fast food chain), was standing in line and watched a girl take out the trash.  She left the back door open and he watched her open the dumpster lid, drop the bag of trash in and come back in.  She replaced the trash bag in the trash can, then walked up to the counter, and while wiping her hands on her apron, said to him, "Can I help you?"  He replied, "Yes.  You can get me your manager."  and he wrote up a violation for them.

As I always told my staff, "We never know who is in the audience, so the reason we do it right all the time is so we never have to worry about doing it wrong."

MKC Posted 23 Mar 2015 , 12:48pm
post #8 of 12

Similar to what K8memphis said you could find the exact contact person at, for example Disney and refer them to that person, with their phone number.


Is it this difficult for clients to get their permission?

Jenn123 Posted 23 Mar 2015 , 12:56pm
post #9 of 12

Some people say, "Who's going to know? I'm not going to turn you in." OK... how about all those pictures you and your guests are going to post on Facebook? How about your friend who comes to me and says "You did it for Mary... why not me?"

-K8memphis Posted 23 Mar 2015 , 1:04pm
post #10 of 12

mkc -- yes in some cases it is impossible -- as far as i know disney never grants permission to regular decorators as in the ones not on tv shows -- i'd say permissions are denied and requests are ignored way more than they are ever granted in general

indydebi Posted 23 Mar 2015 , 2:30pm
post #11 of 12


Quote by @Jenn123 on 1 hour ago

Some people say, "Who's going to know? I'm not going to turn you in." OK... how about all those pictures you and your guests are going to post on Facebook? How about your friend who comes to me and says "You did it for Mary... why not me?"

How about the person who did the cake for Mary ... and Mary's friend oooh'd and ahhhh'd the cake and asked for the decorator's name and contact info.  And then Mary's friend paid a visit to the decorator.  And the decorator found out that Mary's friend, who was a guest at the baby shower, was a health dept inspector!    ---- True Story.  

You never know who is going to be there.

Jenn123 Posted 23 Mar 2015 , 6:56pm
post #12 of 12


Quote by @indydebi on 4 hours ago

  And the decorator found out that Mary's friend, who was a guest at the baby shower, was a health dept inspector!   

Ouch! LOL You really don't know. It's best in my opinion to follow the rules to the best of your ability. I've lost a few customers over this but not enough to be that bothered. If someone is willing to break this law... who knows what else is going on in their kitchen and your food?

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