Yes, Disney Will Sue You.

Business By costumeczar Updated 16 Sep 2015 , 9:34pm by Happyfood

costumeczar Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 11:48am
post #1 of 41

Disney and Sanrio (Hello Kitty) are doing sweeps online recently. Here's an article about one of the cases that's pending. I guess this guy was selling Disney and Marvel images on frosting sheets.

40 replies
Jinkies Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 1:46pm
post #2 of 41

Wow, I just checked her out.  This is NOT a big company.  Looks like she works off Facebook and Ebay.  

costumeczar Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 2:53pm
post #3 of 41

They don't care how big you are.

costumeczar Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 2:56pm
post #4 of 41

Ooh, they have an Etsy shop too. Looks like they took down a lot of their stuff, but everything that's up there is copyrighted by someone else. Here's another link to the details:

Gingerlocks Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 3:17pm
post #5 of 41

Did anyone else find it ironic how he watermarked his cake photo's; presumably so no one else takes credit for his work... I actually laughed out loud when I saw that. 

cupcakemama3 Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 4:31pm
post #6 of 41

So is any kind of Disney cake illegal? What about a buttercream plaque of a Disney characters on a sheet cake? Is that ok? I'm confused about what's legal and what's not. 

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 4:38pm
post #7 of 41

@cupcakemamma3  if you are profiting from it or using it for business purposes, then yes, it is illegal because you are infringing their copyright (unless you have permission from Disney to use the it).  There are lots of threads on here about copyright and I'd definitely suggest that you read up on it if you are selling your cakes.  Many people do it, but that doesn't make it legal.

-K8memphis Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 4:53pm
post #8 of 41

if you want to minimize your risk/danger -- you'd want to remove any and all pictures of copyrighted characters, school/sport logos, purses, etc. that you did not have written permission to use -- 

cupcakemama3 Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 5:20pm
post #9 of 41

So if you get permission to use their stuff I imagine you also have to pay a fee? I'm just a home baker. I can't imagine doing that. So, what do you do if some one comes to you wanting a Disney cake or Hunger Games cake or Dora, My Little Pony etc? That's all people want around here. 

-K8memphis Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 5:24pm
post #10 of 41

say NO or risk getting sued

-K8memphis Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 5:28pm
post #11 of 41

disney doesn't give permission to regular peeps -- food tv and duff and buddy velastro etc. do their stuff though --

yes sometimes you have an option to pay, some places will just say ok, some places never answer and some places say no --

our op has had a lot more experience with that

cupcakemama3 Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 5:41pm
post #12 of 41

Wow! This is bad. There won't be any cakes left to do!

Pastrybaglady Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 5:46pm
post #13 of 41

It's true all kids want character cakes whether it's a cartoon, movie or game.  For your own safety it's better to say no or ask them to get permission then to put your business on the line.  From the requests I've gotten most go and find someone else, but a few are understanding and allow me to do something a bit more generic or background to toys. It requires more creativity on your part.

costumeczar Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 6:42pm
post #14 of 41

You can always do some kind of decoration in a color that goes with the cartoon theme, then let the person who buys the cake put little toys that they bought themselves on it. 

You'll NEVER get permission from Disney, Sanrio, Nickelodeon, Marvel, Star Wars (now that Disney owns it) to do their characters or anything recognizable as the character. The licensing process is looooong and very specific for them. And very expensive. 

If you buy the Decopac decorations you can use those, but there are restrictions on that, too. You'd have to check with the company that sells the official Decopac kits.

for college sports teams, purse companies, jewelry (forget about using the words "Tiffany blue," they're copyrighted) liquor companies, food companies, etc, get in touch with their legal departments and ask what their policy is. I got permission from Grey Goose, Old Bay, Jack Daniels and a few other ones to use their logos as long as it was only for one cake. I got some licensing agreements from colleges and pro sports teams by asking the legal department. They usually tell you that you can only do a certain number of cakes per year with the logo, and that they don't want photos to be used in publicity for your business. Some sports teams are nicer than others, too, let's just put it that way. 

Shockolata Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 7:20pm
post #15 of 41

They are obliged to sue people under the terms of their copyright. In a sense it is good to get publicity over it because people do ask for cakes that infringe copyright laws and they will get them one way or another. There are so many people making a profit using someone else's brain child. It is theft, no matter how you look at it. It is the same as downloading illegal copies of film/music/software or eating from the pick n mix without weighing and paying for it, or taking photocopy paper and pens from work for your home use... But the companies should make it easier for people to buy a licence to use the characters. There should be a clear page on each corporation's website that lays down the different types of licence you can buy: one-off,  one year, one character only, all characters... It should be easy to just fill out a form with your details and which character you want to use and payment should be made immediately via PayPal or card - end of story. In the case of a person who wants to print out fondant with characters, obviously it will be an ongoing licence deal. I had a look at Disney's website and it is not clear how you can apply for licence. Is it because they themselves hide how much money they make out of licensing their products?

Pastrybaglady Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 7:35pm
post #16 of 41

My husband and I were having lunch with some of his friends and they were asking me about cake.  In the conversation my husband mentioned I do not do copyrighted stuff and have turned away a lot of business because of it.  Their response was pretty typical and so WRONG.  They dismissed the whole idea that Disney would come after an individual small baker like me, but only if I were doing high volume.  One said it's not my responsibility to abide by their copyright but their responsibility to uphold it meaning police it.  Really?  It's not my responsibility to not rob a bank it's only the bank's responsibility to keep me from robbing it...  But clearly this what Disney and friends are doing - making a point that they are serious about copyright.  

costumeczar Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 8:07pm
post #17 of 41

Disney does have the requirements somewhere on their website, I found it once when I was searching. It took a lot of digging, though. I got the impression that it's so difficult because they just want to do quality control, which is understandable. I've had people ask to see my website before they gave permission to use their logos, since they probably wanted to make sure the cake I made wouldn't end up on CakeWrecks.

I love the argument that it's not your problem to be concerned with the pesky legalities...I always wonder what those people are teaching their kids as far as honesty goes. It's a very "ask for forgiveness, not permission" and "the rules don't apply to me" perspective, which I'm way too much of a control freak to understandstuck_out_tongue.png

Kim1182 Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 9:43pm
post #18 of 41

What about the character pans sold by Wilton, like spiderman, Winnie the Pooh, etc.?

Singerssoul Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 9:47pm
post #19 of 41

They are for home use only, meaning not to be created and sold.  I think they usually even state that on them.

melmar02 Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 11:24pm
post #20 of 41

The Wilton pans are stamped "For home use only" meaning you can make a cake for your personal home use...not make a cake in your home to then sell.

Amps.prkns Posted 8 Sep 2015 , 12:18am
post #21 of 41

I was asked to make a Mickey cake recently. Knowing all the issues that could come up with this I did some research. I called Disneys copyright attorney. She was very nice but seemed shocked I even called. She said she's never received a call asking about purchasing rights to make a Mickey cake. How she isn't the right person but also doesn't know who to direct me to. Seems like I'm the only person whose ever called? I guess not very many people asks for permission. I didn't do the cake because I work for a larger company and with my luck I'd be the person they pick out to sue.  Just thought it was interesting how the copyright attorney had no clue where to direct me .

costumeczar Posted 8 Sep 2015 , 12:43am
post #22 of 41

I know that at one point I found a list of categories that Disney licenses on their corporate website, but it took a lot of digging. "Bakeries" was one of the categories so cake decorators didn't escape. I bet you were the first person she ever talked to who wanted permission, though. I once sent money back to FEMA because we didn't use all of a payment we got to do repairs after a flood. I got a call from FEMA asking why I'd returned the money. I told her that we did some of the repairs but not all, so the balance was what I repaid. I think I was the first person to ever return money to them, she didn't know what to do.

costumeczar Posted 8 Sep 2015 , 12:54am
post #23 of 41

Here's the licensing page, but it isn't the same one I found before.

I did find more information on another message board. One of the things Disney requires is that you've been in business for five years before they'll give you a license. I do remember reading that on the other page I had found, but I just can't find it now.

costumeczar Posted 8 Sep 2015 , 12:58am
post #24 of 41

I found the text of it, talk about some dry reading material...This was posted somewhere two years ago but I assume that most of the information about requirements etc is still correct: 

The Walt Disney Company is committed to the promotion and maintenance of responsible international labor practices in its licensing and direct sourcing operations throughout the world. Contracted Disney licensees are responsible for adhering to the same practices. For more information on this program, visit our corporate website.

How to Submit a Proposal 

Disney licensees should meet the following requirements:

1) Your company must have a minimum of five years experience in manufacturing and distribution.

2) Your company must be a manufacturer, NOT a middleman or distributor.

3) Your company must have five years prior experience in the product category being proposed.

Please note: Meeting these qualifications in no way implies or guarantees that you will be granted a Disney license.

If your company meets the above criteria, please send us the following information:

(please note that we do not accept fax or email submissions)

Information about your company 

Company name: 

Company address: 

Company phone number: 

Executive contact: 

Key executive biographies: 

Past company experience in consumer products



Top line public financial information about your company: 

Short explanation of why you want to become a Disney Licensee: 

Send us your product catalog or sell sheets 

Proposed product category (see below for category descriptions): 

Do not send proprietary creative ideas

Divisions and Categories:

Please identify the division and categories to whom you would like to make a proposal.

Apparel, Accessories & Footwear






Consumer Electronics


Audio player


CD Player

DVD Player


Karaoke Player





Ice Cream maker

Ice shaver

Popcorn popper

Smoothie maker


Waffle maker

Food, Health Beauty


Baked goods


Breakfast foods



Frozen Novelties


Health & Beauty

Bath Products

Cosmetics & Fragrance

Dental Hygiene


Homeopathic Products


Home & Infant


Automotive Accessories

Bath Accessories

Bedding & Textiles


Garden and Outdoor Living

Gifts & Collectibles

Home Décor, Lighting & Furniture

Kitchen & Tabletop

Paint, Stamps & Stencils

Seasonal Décor


Diaper Bags & Gift Sets

Infant Feeding

Infant Bedding & Textiles

Infant Travel & Furniture

Toddler Bedding Décor & Furniture



Comic Books



Back-To-School supplies

Disney party goods

Social expression


Action Figures


Board Games






Role-Play (dress up)

Ride-Ons (bikes, skateboards, etc.)

Sporting Goods


If you are located in North America, please send the above information to one of the following. 

Please allow up to ten weeks to receive a reply. Disney is not responsible for lost submissions. No fax or email submissions will be accepted.

Apparel, Accessories & Footwear:

Licensing Proposal – Apparel, Accessories & Footwear

Disney Consumer Products

1201 Flower Street

Glendale, CA 91201

Consumer Electronics:

Licensing Proposal – Electronics

Disney Consumer Products

1201 Flower Street

Glendale, CA 91201

Food, Health and Beauty:

Licensing Proposal – FHB

Disney Consumer Products

1201 Flower Street

Glendale, CA 91201

Home & Infant:

Licensing Proposal – Home & Infant

Disney Consumer Products

1201 Flower Street

Glendale, CA 91201


Licensing Proposal – Publishing

Disney Publishing Worldwide

Attn: Business Development

114 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10011


Licensing Proposal – Stationery

Disney Consumer Products

1201 Flower Street

Glendale, CA 91201


Licensing Proposal – Toys

Disney Consumer Products

1201 Flower Street

Glendale, CA 91201

If you are located outside of North America, please send licensing inquiries with the above information to one of the following. 

Please allow up to ten weeks to receive a reply. Disney is not responsible for lost submissions. No fax or email submissions will be accepted. Be sure to include the line of business or product category you are proposing in the "Attention" line.


Licensing Proposal – [CATEGORY]

The Walt Disney Company (Australia) Pty Limited

South Yarra, Victoria, Australia 3141

Asia Pacific

Licensing Proposal – [CATEGORY]

Disney Consumer Products

The Walt Disney Company (Shanghai) Ltd.

Units 514-521

One Corporate Avenue

222 Hu Bin Road

Shanghai 200021

People’s Republic of China


Licensing Proposal – [CATEGORY]

Disney Consumer Products

The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd.

ARCO TOWER, 1-8-1 Shimomegeuro

Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-8922, Japan

UK - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Gibraltar, Malta

Licensing Proposal – [CATEGORY]

Disney Consumer Products

The Walt Disney Company Ltd.

3 Queen Caroline Street


London W6 9PE


Benelux - Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg

Licensing Proposal – [CATEGORY]

Disney Consumer Products

The Walt Disney Company (Benelux) S.A./N.V.

Tour & Taxis

Havenlaan 86C B217 avenue du port

1000 Brussels



Licensing Proposal – [CATEGORY]

Disney Consumer Products

The Walt Disney Company (France) S.A.S

1 rue de la Galmy - Chessy

77776 Marne-la-Vallee Cedex 4


Germany, Switzerland and Austria

Licensing Proposal – [CATEGORY]

Disney Consumer Products

The Walt Disney Company (Germany) GmbH

Kronstadter Strasse. 9

81677 Munchen



Licensing Proposal – [CATEGORY]

Disney Consumer Products

The Walt Disney Company Italia S.p.A.

Via S.Sandri, 1

20121 Milano 


Iberia - Spain, Portugal

Licensing Proposal – [CATEGORY]

Disney Consumer Products

The Walt Disney Company Iberia, S.L.

Jose Bardasano Baos, 9 - planta 11

28016 Madrid


Nordic - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden

Licensing Proposal – [CATEGORY]

Disney Consumer Products (Nordic) A/S

Ostergade 26A

DK-1100 Copenhagen K


Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa 

Licensing Proposal – [CATEGORY]

Disney Consumer Products

The Walt Disney Company Licensing (Europe Middle East & Africa) S.A.S.

1 rue de la Galmy – Chessy

77776 Marne-la-Vallee Cedex 4


Latin America 

Licensing Proposal – [CATEGORY]

Disney Consumer Products

The Walt Disney Company - Latin America

Antonio Malaver 550

4th Floor

1636 Vicente Lopez

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Shockolata Posted 8 Sep 2015 , 9:21am
post #25 of 41

Well that rules out most of us! Five years experience and all the other requirements! Like I pointed out yesterday, they make it really hard to become a licensee and then they wonder why people do use their copyrighted products to celebrate special events? Why can't they be like Rovio who encourages people to use Angry Birds/Piggies etc to bake cakes and show them off at their FB page? 

Does anyone know if the same issue persists with electric guitar cakes (e.g. Fender) or cars (e.g. Lamborghini cake)? To me people will request something that they aspire to own but cannot, or something they do own and want to rub it in even more (e.g. a designer bag or pair of shoes) or something that represents them (e.g. a hero or a cute cartoon character). With TV promoting cakes that imitate reality, people want to have just that. Who is the moral accomplish/instigator then? 

As for the guy who is facing court because he was selling images with copyrighted characters, I take it he was using a computer and printer to lift off images and produce copies of them on edible paper. He was not hand designing each one of them. He was not sculpting each one of them. He was merely copying them in big quantities for his own profit. Now that is worse (in my opinion) than a cake baker sculpting a cake in the image of Queen Elsa, for example. At least with the sculpture, the baker has put in his/her skills to reproduce a work of art of something that everyone admires. He/she has not done a carbon copy of it. If someone, on the other hand, bought an Elsa figurine and then used silicone patty to make a mould which he/she would then use to cast innumerable copies of Elsa, that would be theft, too. But I am not a lawyer and copyright law is very specific and very hard to fathom. What we feel is right/wrong and what is right/wrong are two different things. 

At the end of the day, the best piece of advice given was to make a generic cake with colours that would match a figurine and ask the client to purchase the figurine and stick it on the cake... (which would raise issues such as ... is the plastic used to make the figure in some far flung country food contact safe? What about the paints used on it, are they food contact safe or do they contain lead, for example? Would Disney or other companies accept liability for someone becoming ill because a licensed product of theirs came in contact with a cake? Probably not!)

CoinUK Posted 8 Sep 2015 , 10:15am
post #26 of 41

I still think it's crazy, especially from Disney. 

They actively make it harder by selling this magazine.

Which my wife and I have been getting since issue 1 in the UK, it's now over 100 issues, with several specials and a new Frozen spin off mini-series of 12 issues. Every single issue comes with an official Disney mold or decorating item and some of them are excellent. They give explicit instructions inside on how to accurately model a lot of their characters and some of them are stunning. Their own Facebook page has people showing off some of the cakes they have made, many of which are clearly baking companies. hell, one of them is a woman who's page is full of wedding cakes and they made it Cake Of The Week! (Scroll down to see it, looks stunning!)

They can't seriously expect people who buy this magazine to be all home bakers making cakes for fun for their lilttle boy and girls birthdays. Not with this much stuff included. 

It's almost like they released this magazine as a honey trap to sue people who use them for profit!

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 8 Sep 2015 , 10:39am
post #27 of 41

They are in it to make money.  THey sell magazines which people will buy to replicate their characters for home use.  It's not their fault if people sell them and breach their copyright laws.

I used to think it was all grossly unfair on the home bakeries but now, I don't.  People spend millions on building up their brand and reputation.  Think of it this way...bakery A seeks a licence from Radley to make a Radley bag cake.  They are an experienced baker and make a stunning replica.  Radley gets the licence fee and appreciates the quality of the cake which is synonymous with the quality of their brand.  On the flip side, someone takes a picture of that cake to bakery B without a licence and with little cake decorating skill (who probably charges a slap down price for it).  They make the bag 'cake' which is badly finished.  Still, baker B is making money from the brand which Radley spent money on building but not giving Radley a share of the profit.  Similarly, they are degrading the brand by making something which looks pants.

If you had spent years and lots of money creating a character which someone then started to sell replicas of (in whatever format) without cutting you in on the profit, wouldn't you be a bit p*****?  I know I would.  I also wouldn't give permission to anyone who would not do a very very good job of it because it demeans my product.

CoinUK Posted 8 Sep 2015 , 11:26am
post #28 of 41

Oh I understand it, hell, I even agree with it to a degree. I'm an aspiring writer and I'd be very pissed if someone ripped off my work. I just think it's crazy the way it's dealt with. 

Maybe it's the copyright laws at fault, they need to be clearer and better dealt with. Maybe Disney needs to make it a little easier to get permission to use their likeness. The whole argument about the standard of the cakes reflecting Disney is a little wonky to me. If I ordered a Mickey Mouse cake from a bakery and it was a bad likeness, I wouldn't be blaming Disney, I'd be blaming the bakery and reporting it to Disney.

The magazine they sell just muddies the water to me. It's one thing to sell a book with 20 or so designs in it, it's another to do a magazine with that many issues that costs literally hundreds to collect and not expect people to use it for more than the occasional cake. 

Like I say, the whole thing is crazy :)

costumeczar Posted 8 Sep 2015 , 11:28am
post #29 of 41

Exactly...If you give permission to everyone to do your stuff, this is what you'll get, and that's not good to represent your brand.


I have no problem with Disney or anybody else suing people for selling their intellectual property without permission. The guy they're suing in the article ignored a cease and desist letter, then tried to close his ebay shop and open one on Etsy under a new business name, still selling the same things. That's a blatant ripoff and deliberate act, so the argument that "he didn't know" can't be used. 

I just think it's amusing that when someone does a copyrighted image on a cake people say it's no big deal, but if someone takes a photo off a website and puts it on their facebook page everyone goes crazy and gets out the torches and pitchforks and starts harassing them online. It's no big deal until it happens to you, then you see how annoying it is.

CoinUK Posted 8 Sep 2015 , 11:34am
post #30 of 41

Ok, I'm trying to work out what exactly that cake is supposed to be :D

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