NancysFancy Posted 31 Jan 2007 , 11:42pm
post #1 of

Here's a question I bet most people here have had to deal with, but it's fairly new for me so I'd love some experienced insights.

A CC friend has pointed out to me a decorated cookie business whose web site clearly shows designs that are mine. Almost laughably, the typeface this site uses is exactly the same unusual font I use!

It's not possible to not show one's wares, so "hiding" one's designs is nonsensical -- this is how I get orders. I am inspired by all kinds of things I see, including pictures in magazines and online, but these are always just jumping-off places for me. I am simply not interested in copying other people's designs. I think stealing someone's designs is unethical but probably not preventable.

My question is: is there anything to be gained by contacting this decorator? Has anyone ever sent an "Hey -- what are you doing?" email, or gone as far as to ask/insist that the party cut it out?

Thanks for any and all comments/advice.

Nancy
Nancy's Fancy Cookies & Cakes

55 replies
mitsel8 Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 12:06am
post #2 of

Gosh, I don't know what the answer is, but I can't believe the nerve of this person.
I think you should contact the "thief," I would love to know how they respond.

ps-you make the most gorgeous cookies I have ever seen!

missyv110 Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 12:08am
post #3 of

I would be tempted to email the person. It's infuriating, IMHO.

bella9 Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 12:11am
post #4 of

Like the cookie in your avatar? Yeah that is clearly your trademark and very particular and shouldn't be sold by another business.

babynewyear Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 12:15am
post #5 of

Have you ever thought of water marking your photos to protect them? It would be harder to have someone hijack them. Sorry I don't have any ideas about what has already happened though.

SugarplumStudio Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 12:21am
post #6 of

Unfortunately, without a registered trademark, all of our designs are vulnerable to replication. The only that you can fight is someone using one of your photos and passing it off as one's own.
I can understand your frustration. Your work is gorgeous and so detailed, it must take hours and more patience than I can ever hope to possess!
On that note though, I'm sure none of us intentionally 'steal' other people designs. We're just so insipred by thier creativity, that we want to capture it ourselves. Seriously, how many of us have made whimsy cakes with Polly Schoonmakers permission? Even though she's registered the term, it only protects her from having other professionals market cakes as "Whimsy"
All I can say is keep doing what you do. Any copied version will be totally pale in comparision and any consumer with half a brain will be able to tell your product from an imposter icon_wink.gif

antonia74 Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 12:28am
post #7 of

It's the risk everyone takes when they put any text or images on to the web. Unless they are actually using your images, not using your cookie designs to inspire them when making their own, I don't think there is much that can be done.

It IS infuriating, I agree. I have admired your incredibly detailed & unique cookies and anyone doing something like them has probably seen them on your site or somewhere online...I mean really, the likelihood of anyone doing those exact designs is pretty "one-in-a-million", right? icon_confused.gif

I agree with the watermarking. It not only prevents people from passing your photos off as their own...but even hinders them from showing the images to other potential clients for orders.

If you have to get it off your chest and let them know how you feel, I'd do it pretty gently, like:

"I had a client come across your website recently and they pointed out how similar our work was. I have to agree! I am flattered that you find such inspiration in my work, but I do ask that you not imitate my designs this closely. Your work is well done and creative and I certainly look forward to seeing some of your own work on your website soon."

ValMommytoDanny Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 12:38am
post #8 of

Antonia,
I think approach you propose is very well worded. Nancy,
I think that if someone uses anothers work as inspiration (as many of us do w/ credit being given of course) it is flattering but not an exact duplicate. If is an exact duplicate you have every right to approach that person and express your concern. Your designs are so very original and unique that it would be (1) very difficult to duplicate and (2) easily recognizable if they were. If these are the same then someone went through great pains to study your designs and in essence take your designs on as their own. I would contact them in my opinion.

I hope all goes well, once again your designs are quite remarkable.
icon_smile.gif

RisqueBusiness Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 12:46am
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by NancysFancy

Here's a question I bet most people here have had to deal with, but it's fairly new for me so I'd love some experienced insights.

A CC friend has pointed out to me a decorated cookie business whose web site clearly shows designs that are mine. Almost laughably, the typeface this site uses is exactly the same unusual font I use!

It's not possible to not show one's wares, so "hiding" one's designs is nonsensical -- this is how I get orders. I am inspired by all kinds of things I see, including pictures in magazines and online, but these are always just jumping-off places for me. I am simply not interested in copying other people's designs. I think stealing someone's designs is unethical but probably not preventable.

My question is: is there anything to be gained by contacting this decorator? Has anyone ever sent an "Hey -- what are you doing?" email, or gone as far as to ask/insist that the party cut it out?

Thanks for any and all comments/advice.

Nancy
Nancy's Fancy Cookies & Cakes




if they are your cookies, by all means they are breaking a copywrite law or two! I would email and let them know that you are aware of the imitation, but nicely like Antonia74 posted.

I too like the CURLS font and I use it a lot..lol ..so fun.

But, your cookies are a work of art and I wouldn't be too happy with someone putting them on their web site without your permission.

KHalstead Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 12:46am

NancysFancy........I'm amazed by your cookies.......I noticed you make your own cutters......I make my own too......where did you get your rivetting gun???? I'm assuming that's what you're using to hold the ends together.........right now I just use an adhesive and it works well enough......but I'd love to have them rivetted!

ladyonzlake Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 12:48am

I have to say that I am guilty of "copying" other people's designs but I do try to give credit to the person that it belongs to. I guess I am so inspired by those who have such creative minds and I want to "try" it too. I personally am always flattered if someone copies what I have done but then I do not have a store front and I'm still very small doing cakes and cookies for family, friends, and refferrals. You have wonderful cookies and it would be hard to do as good a job as you do.
Jacqui

baergarivera Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 12:57am

I agree that doing this is wrong but at the same time someone was inspired by your creations. i know that i am guilty of at times making pictures of other creators work but under no circumtances i would say i done this cake i would always tell customers i saw the design on this person website and i could do this type of cake or at times they have come to me with pictues of other peoples cake for me to do. Its all how you look at things.

Good luck
Michelle icon_biggrin.gif

mitsel8 Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 12:59am

It's one thing to be inspired by others, like we all are, it's another to copy your very detailed unique designs. I've never seen cookies that look like yours. Your style stands alone.

indydebi Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:04am

This is why I have 2 books for brides to look at. One book is photos of cakes I have actually done. The 2nd book is photos of cakes that have been brought in to me by brides; photos from the Wilton books; photos downloaded from the internet. The 2nd book is to give ideas. When it's downloaded from the internet, I always print the internet address on the page with the pic so I know where it came from.

But I keep 2 separate books so there is no confusion over "this is my work" vs. "this is other people's work".

beany Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:09am

I agree with what antonia74 said....but ultimately, they haven't broken any laws and you can't prevent them from copying your designs.

Some people actually promote the fact that they can replicate a cake for you.

This from carriescakes.com:

Q. Can you copy a picture from a magazine?
A. We do it all the time!! Many people like our reproductions better than the original we are copying. We love to see new ideas.



And this from thebigday.com:

Can you copy a design from a magazine?

Yes, I do it often. Many brides come to me with a design they have their hearts set on. A talented Cake Designer should be able to construct a wedding cake from a single photo, or from a combination of photos. I would have to say that 60% of the cakes I create are copies of photos brought to me by brides.


This from maisiefantaisie.co.uk:

Ive seen a wedding cake in an American magazine. But I cant find it in the UK. Can you make it for me?

If you can provide us with a photograph of the wedding cake I would be happy to recreate it for you. Some brides do come to me with a design that they have fallen in love with. All the wedding cakes on the website are bespoke but we are equally able to recreate a copy.

missyv110 Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:10am

Being inspired by someone is one thing. Copying designs down to the exact detail and then selling them is another, I can see that no one could copyright a scalloped heart, but I have NEVER seen cookies like Nancy's anywhere. Also, like any good illustrator, her drawings are immediately recognizable. I guess it is just so frustrating to see someone else SELLING these incredibly original designs. Sorry for the rant, but I am a big fan of Nancy's artwork.

keriskreations Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:19am

Nancy, I'm sorry to hear that someone is copying your stuff so close - like others, I've been inspired by people's creativity, especially on this site, and have done some stuff very similar, but when I post things, I'm always giving credit to that person, and would never try to pass of something I didn't come up with as my own. That's terrible! When I'm meeting with customers, I'll show them pictures of what I've done, and then pictures of what I think they are looking for, from what we've talked about.

You definitely should feel flattered that they are copying you - and if it's something that you need to bring to their attention, do so, but without being rude, like Antonia mentioned. Delivery is everything - you can get something negative out, but with the right delivery, it's not a bad thing.

I really like the idea of two separate books - one with your work, one with others. Maybe that's something you could suggest to this person. Keep us posted!

melissablack Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:22am

Well they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery icon_rolleyes.gif lol. I imagine that would be irritating to find someone had copied your design EXACTLY, but we all get our inspiration from somewhere, I know I have 'copied' designs I have found online and in the Wilton magazines, etc... Most of the time I take several concepts from a bunch of different cakes and then come up with my own design, but not everyone is that creative and they need to have an example to look at to make stuff.
If someone was taking pictures of your work and passing it off as their own, now that would be a different story. What I don't understand is if this person is good enough to make cookies that look as good as yours, Nancy, why they can't be creative enough to come up with their own designs?? I couldn't copy your cookies if I tried! lol

pinkyEm Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:25am

I just took a peek at your cookies and I just have to say I LOVE them!! I can't believe they are cookies! I think if it were me I would have to say something to this person. Your designs are so unique that if I saw them on someone elses website, I think I would know they were actually your designs. I don't know exactly what I would say but I think you absolutely should. Maybe they will reply with a sorry and take the images off their site and it will be over. Hopefully it would be that simple.

missyv110 Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 10:04am

pinkyEm is right; this person will realize their error and just remove the pics. It IS likely based in the same admiration we all have for excellent work. Sorry for sounding so angry. Benefit of the doubt, right?

yankeegal Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:06pm

I like Antonia's approach...always best to give someone the benefit of the doubt and the chance to correct their error. I have used others designs for inspiration-always try to give credit or get permission first, if it is possible.
I was showing my family your pictures-all I can say is WOW!

jen1977 Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:12pm

Is she using your designs, or your photos?

nalyjuan Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:19pm

I am sorry your going thru this. I would go with Antonia's approach. On another note...your cookies are FABULOUS!!!! Wow..is all I can say!

Ladivacrj Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:24pm

Your cookies are amazing!!! Keep up the great work.

I doubt very seriously that anybody can get close to being as good as you are at your own creations.

Personally, I don't think I would have the patience to do what you do.

If you don't mind me asking, How long does it take for some of these? And what price range are they in?

Welcome to CC. I'm sure many people will be asking for advice.

darandon Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:27pm

I peeked at your cookies and I just WISH I could copy your designs! They are great and you are very talented. I would contact the person that is showing them on their web site. They should be giving credit to your designs

indydebi Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:29pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jen1977

Is she using your designs, or your photos?




Yeah, I'm getting confused on this thread with the above question, too.

Making1stCake Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:33pm

Antonia's advice to send an email is great advice. But I wouldn't expect the person to really respond politely. Copying or getting inspiration from someone's work is one thing, but copying someone else's designs down to such detail is another. I haven't seen the cookie in question, so I don't know how intricate the design is. But more than likely if it's a pretty intricate design, the person knows they are benefitting financially from a pretty unique piece of intellectual material. Although, I'm someone who is big on the benefit of the doubt, so there is the chance the person just didn't know they were being slightly unethical. I used to come across this debate all when I made candles for a business. Copying another's work is a matter of common sense. It really isn't that hard to figure out. It's one thing to get inspiration from someone else's design, or even mimick the work closely. It's also difficult to come up with an original design or name to very common designs, like if Yankee Candle Co. copyrights the name Strawberry for their candles, which they were trying to do when I was stopping making candles, that's just completely unreasonable and other candlemakers can't figure out what they're supposed to name a candle that's Strawberry scented. But copying a very intricate design is another thing.

But here's what I don't understand. Isn't it really silly that we can copyright our pictures, which is just an image of an actual design, but can't copyright the actual design? LOL!

-Heather

Vicky30 Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:38pm

I am not one who normally post, but this topic was interesting to me. If the person is using your pictures well that is just wrong and they should stop. But if they have designed the product that is in the site then well maybe great minds think alike! I have only been a member here since around Aug 06. The funny thing is I have been doing cake for family and friends for around 8 years now. I was amazed when I started viewing the pictures and themes and compared them to things that I have done over the years. I agree your cookies are unique and it is probable your design was there inspiration. But if I could figure out how to load some of my photo (some need to be scanned) it would probably be assumed that my cakes where inspired by the "talents" on this sight! That is what makes CC so great there are so many wonderful people with great ideas and skills and it would be a shame if someone used your pictures. Your work is amazing! Maybe deception was not there intent!

NancysFancy Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 1:51pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by jen1977

Is she using your designs, or your photos?



Yeah, I'm getting confused on this thread with the above question, too.




To clarify, this is an instance of using my design, not using a picture from my site. The company I refer to made their cookies of my designs, took their own pictures and posted them as examples for sale.

paolacaracas Posted 1 Feb 2007 , 2:03pm

In the fashion Industry theres a saying dont worry if they copy you, worry if they dont copy you
I had a competitor pretend she was a bride at a bride show, just to find out all she could about me. Then copy one of my cakes for her presentation card, move to the same mall as meTHE NERVE icon_mad.gif
But to me and to all, she will always be the copy, and me the real thing. icon_wink.gif
Brides come with Martha Steward Mag all the time for cakes they cant find here. Its ok, is good too. I never copy anything local, if I know who did it, Ill even give them the phone number myself

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