Because I've only done cakes for family and friends I didn't worry about using licensed characters. I'm getting ready to launch my cakes business and now need to worry about it. Is it possible to get permission to do licensed characters or can only big business stores afford it? If anyone has gotten approval how do you go about it? If it's impossible how do you handle orders with liveware character requests.. Which I imagine is a big majority of birthday cake orders..at least that is my experience. Do you just say no or try and do a less obvious copy cat?
Years ago there was a decorator in our cake club that lost her business and home because someone reported her doing licensed characters and she was slapped with an incredible fine! Therefore, I just said no - or had the client bring in a cake topper figure that I could put on.
The other option is to have an account at DecoPac and use their edible images/set-ups. I haven't gotten any requests for licensed characters and have a section on my website stating that I won't make those cakes, but this is my work-around if someone is really insistent. You do, however, have to decorate the cake EXACTLY the way it's shown with the Deco-Set (& I admit to thinking that some of the designs are ugly...), but it's a small price to pay for not getting slapped with a copyright violation suit.
Thanks for the information and advice! That is really scary! I think I smash avoid doing any licensed character cakes completely!