Morality In Cake Decorating

Decorating By harrisonsmama Updated 24 Aug 2007 , 2:10am by marthajo1

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springlakecake Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 6:44pm
post #31 of 114
Originally Posted by Gefion

Copying a recipe from a book is very much illegal. You have to post your own wording.

I always wondered about this. I am always surprised when a recipe from a cookbook shows up in the recipies. I don't really think it is fair to the author of the book if people post exact recipes from their book. They want you to buy the book! It might be one thing you have altered their recipe in some way or you are given permission.

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RRGibson Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 6:51pm
post #32 of 114

Really, if I ever got to the point that someone thought one of my cakes was good enough to copy, as in replicate, I wouldn't be upset. When you think about it, no one is really ever going to be able to copy your exact design from a picture. Everything will never be the same when two different people make it. And if a customer brings me a picture of something that they want and they say they want it just like that, I'm going to try my best to give them what they want. I know there are some CC members who say, "I'm not going to copy anyone's design even if a customer asks for it." So do you tell your customer that? I'm not going to give you the cake you want because somebody else already thought of this design? I mean no one has a copyright or monopoly on cake design ideas! Seriously.

Now using someone else's picture as your own is completely unacceptable, that's a whole other ball game.

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katerpillrgrl Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 6:57pm
post #33 of 114

I agree with LeahS. No copies of my designs please but I would consider it very flattering if anyone took inspiration of my designs.

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alanahodgson Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 6:58pm
post #34 of 114

I surely do not know the legalities, but it seems to me that even if you change the wording of a recipe that is still copyright infringement. That person's hard work went into developing those recipes and published that work. When copyrighting its more than the published pages that should be protected. Aren't the concepts protected? The time and expertiese the person put into developing the concepts is what is being compensated for, not the paper it's published on. Here's what it says in the back of Debbie Brown's book:

"All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the publishers."

Sounds like they've got their bases covered.

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CakeBaker Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 7:00pm
post #35 of 114

LOL --- my cake designs get copied ALL the time. This cake I made in July 2005 has been copied too many times to count:

Here's how I look at it. I'm one person. I can't even supply cake to everyone in my area let alone make deliveries to everyone in the USA. So who cares if someone copies my cake? I rarely make the same cake twice anyhow. And plus, how much can you really do with butter and sugar? Even if you think you're coming up with something completely new and original, chances are, somebody has already done it. Heck, I even recognize a couple Wilton designs on "leahs" website.

But now, if you take my pictures and publish them (website or otherwise), I'm coming after ya! ;-P

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berryblondeboys Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 7:09pm
post #36 of 114

I'm sorry but I don't understand why anyone would care if someone across the country or the world used your design. It would NEVER be exactly the same - it could be better, worse or the same quality, but a slightly different take.

Now, if it were someting I could just order from the internet from teh original designer, then sure... I would be ticked, but you can't really become a cake exporter.

it's not illegal to make your own attempt at the Monet Lisa... It's just illegal to say it was the original Mona Lisa.

Recipes from books are another matter and I'm pretty sure it says in the recipe seciton not to duplicate book recipes.


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FromScratch Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 7:19pm
post #37 of 114

Count me in the camp of "who cares".. no one will be able to replicate anything exactly and honestly what is "original".. TRUELY original.. these days? You want to put a multi colored loppy bown atop a pick cake with pink and purple fondant balls around the bottom?? I have done it.. others have done it too.. I can't say that design is MINE back off or I'll poke you with a big pointy stick. So long as they aren't taking a picture of my work and say this is mine I couldn't care less.. copy away.

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Daisy1 Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 7:21pm
post #38 of 114

First I'd like to say thank you to everyone that posts their pictures to inspire me. When idea well runs dry, this is an awesome place to come to get my creative juices flowing.

I generally won't copy a wedding cake exactly. I avoid this by asking the bride what colors they are using, what flowers, theme of the wedding, location, etc. and then put a spin on it. They ususally are very happy to have a one-of-a-kind design tailored exactly to their wedding.

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berryblondeboys Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 7:28pm
post #39 of 114


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justme50 Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 7:29pm
post #40 of 114
Originally Posted by CakeBaker

LOL --- This cake I made in July 2005 has been copied too many times to count:

Well what do you expect when you make a cake that cute?icon_wink.gif

.....Runs to get the cake pans and fondant out... icon_biggrin.gif

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johnniekake Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 7:35pm
post #41 of 114

I have to agree with CakeBaker........everytime i think Ive come up with something new and fantastic I eventually end up seeing it some where else....only to be disappointed thinking I was the ONE who discovered it or made it or whatever icon_razz.gif

By the way CakeBaker I have copied that cake of yours......and Dam It Man it never looks like yours!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

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AnythingSugar Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 8:03pm
post #42 of 114

I am inspired by many from here but not nearly good enough to "copy" any design. Although, famous cake decorators make wonderful cakes and put them in books with written instructions for others to go by. Hmmm doesn't that mean they expect others to try to make that cake? I wonder how many books they would sell IF it stated in the book "Do not copy any of my designs?"

What about when you take the Wilton classes and there are cakes in the books for inspiration and ideas...can you only make those cakes while enrolled in classes?

I totally understand using pictures and not stating where they came from. That is an entirely different creature. I also agree that commenting on someone's inspiration is wonderful. Just my 2 cents.

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gacandle Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 8:04pm
post #43 of 114

i too would like to say thank you to all the people who post their pictures here on cc. i have only been baking for about 9 months and i need all the inspiration i can get! i could never make any of the cakes on here to the point of looking exactly like the photo, anyone would be able to tell that it was mine (with all the mistakes). but i do try my best to copy some of them because they are so beautiful the colors the design everything!!!! and i do tell people that i copied it from a picture here on cc. So thank you again to everyone here at cc.

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shalderman Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 8:07pm
post #44 of 114

Well I personally don't mind if anyone ever copied something I did ~ cause as mentioned above...why does it matter if someone across the country does the same cake? And I too have had it happen where I make a cake and go and find one almost exactly like it before I even post it in the gallery! ha...not as original as we think icon_wink.gif

I do have issues with stealing photos but ideas? I think that's what CC is for...a sharing of ideas. And if someone copies yours - well that's life icon_smile.gif Its flattering to me if someone loves my design enough to want to create it to share with someone else.

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all4cake Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 8:13pm
post #45 of 114

CakeBaker, I love that design! I've not attempted duplicating it but would definitely consider it one that I would love to try!

If I were to get a portfolio together, with cakes I've done, if I duplicated someone else's design, it would include "original design by______" and include the name of whoever I got the idea from.

I think it would be vain of me to think that no one else out there had the same idea for a cake that I had had. Like the woman who claimed the hamburger cupcakes was her original idea...ain't that what she was claiming? Puhlease! That was no more her original idea than a bologna sandwich was my idea!

If someone decided to duplicate a cake I've made or used my cake for inspiration, I would be flattered beyond belief. The most I would hope for, not expect, and also be proud of, is if they noted me as a contributor of the idea.

Why bother keeping a portfolio of cakes you've done, if someone can't request that same cake? If I'm gonna design a different cake for every bride, why would I show her pictures of work that I've done?

Ya'll feel free to duplicate any cake I've posted! LOL No, for real though.

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SLK Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 8:19pm
post #46 of 114

I've had one of my pictures used on someone elses web site without my permission and I was very flattered and upset ....all at the same time. My first though was , of my cakes good enough to be stolen...then my next thought was, well why didn't they just try to make it themselves.

I have another cake that I made before I even knew what cc was (can you imagine there was a time?) and once I posted it I have gotten many request for instructions - which I send to anyone that asks. Again, I think it's awesome that someone else likes my idea and wants to try it is where I have the problem, when I send someone directions and encouragement and then see their cake posted and not being given credit for my help.

So for me, copy away.....but give credit or thanks for the help (if you have actually helped the person). I would even go as far as giving credit for the inspiration. I did not do that when I was new to CC....but once I cought on, I do it every single time.

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all4cake Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 8:25pm
post #47 of 114

Now, if someone swiped my picture of a cake I made, I'd be madder than a wet hornet. Let them make one and take their own picture!

Mind you, I know my picture taking skills need attention...still...let 'em get their own picture of their own cake oh yeah, and not their own picture of my cake!

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rajinaren Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 8:46pm
post #48 of 114

birthday.gif I would be flattered if somebody copy my design...Many of my cakes has been inspired by cc members.
When you are just strating we try to take all the good things we come across. Publishing photos of somebody is illegal.
I noted that somebody publised WBH recipe...Hope they take it out soon.

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tobycat Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 8:48pm
post #49 of 114

I think we can all agree that no one wants a picture of their cake used on someone else's web site. Okay, that's a no brainer.

But, to say that someone shouldn't use a cake design is just too much. So no one is allowed to create a package cake with a bow on top and ribbon? (I'm doing one this weekend.) Oops, I've been asked to make Tiffany Blue - is that okay, or am I infringing on the Tiffany company? Now, I couldn't make my cake and call it a cake by the Tiffany company (and man is that color hard to make anyway!!!). Attaching their name to my cake would be illegal. But, it's not illegal or immoral for me to use that color. Nor is it wrong, imho, to use a style someone else did -- I just can't say that it's a cake by THAT particiular decorator -- say Toba Garrett or Colette Peters. Now THAT would be wrong.

I hate to add this can of worms, (and since it's buried on pg 4 and so long in my post most won't see it, but I think it's important), but I am really getting a sense of a "better-than" attitude about the idea of "artist", "decorator", "designer" and "creator". Some of us are amazingly creative artistic types who love to create everything about their cake from the colors, to the style, to the -- well, everything. Others are decorators who take pride is their ability to make a bow or use mmf or actually pipe a straight line. Both have a place in the cake decorating world. But, if every "decorator" had to be an original "artist" too, then this would be a very limited cake world indeed.

Okay, now I'm not very popular, but I just had to throw in my 2 cents. I love the gallery here on cc, and I love reading opinions by others and looking at the fabulous cakes here. I think there are many on here who are multi-talented. I just ask those of you who are to remember that there are those who are trying to do the best they can to learn and grow.


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onceuponacake Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 8:59pm
post #50 of 114

well said sonomoa!!!

love your signaure scripture too

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Price Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 9:03pm
post #51 of 114

I have had a couple of people pm me and ask questions about different cakes I have made. I don't mind at all if someone wants to copy or take ideas and make them their own. As a matter of fact I'm flattered.

If I see a cake or technique that I really would like to try I usually pm the person and ask for permission to use their idea. All of the CCers have been extremely nice and very helpful. I've had people tell me, it wasn't really necessary to ask their permission! I am teaching myself and learning as I go. I find when I am able to copy something it helps me to learn. It's very rewarding when I come up with a design of my own, but the inspiration I have from the pictures on this sight is amazing!

I have along way to go with my decorating skills, but copy away if you desire to do so! lol

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SLK Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 9:03pm
post #52 of 114
Originally Posted by sonoma9

I hate to add this can of worms, (and since it's buried on pg 4 and so long in my post most won't see it, but I think it's important), but I am really getting a sense of a "better-than" attitude about the idea of "artist", "decorator", "designer" and "creator". Some of us are amazingly creative artistic types who love to create everything about their cake from the colors, to the style, to the -- well, everything. Others are decorators who take pride is their ability to make a bow or use mmf or actually pipe a straight line. Both have a place in the cake decorating world. But, if every "decorator" had to be an original "artist" too, then this would be a very limited cake world indeed.

I agree with you and I'm not gonna sling mud or throw worms your way.

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step0nmi Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 9:15pm
post #53 of 114

OK! I may seem weird or different but, I am both flattered and hurt when I see that someone has copied some element of my design. WHY NOT ASK!!?? Is it really that hard!? I did have someone do this to me and they apologized but, I still don't have credit for the original design! I love to give credit from anyone that has inspired me OR duplicated something! I think it's hurt full that someone wouldn't even consider asking to use something.

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berryblondeboys Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 9:17pm
post #54 of 114

Just to put things in more perspective. A piece of writing is so completely different than art forms. Your words speak for you - are a part of your being... someone else using them is stealing your identity in a way... The way we say things, the way we phrase them are intricately TIED to a person.

However, what if I really love the pictures of say, the Bridges of Madison County, but I wanted to take my own photos... is that stealing? what if I want a certain perspective of a daisy and I saw a painter did just the angle I like. If I paint it and sign my name and say it's by me, did I steal something or get inspired by it? What if I bought a photo and said it was taken by me? Now it's wrong, but taking a similar one with my own camera is not.

I can TOTALLY understand though how it would be terribly frustrating to be a legal baker, barely making it, and having an illegal baker down the street stealing very similar designs as you for 1/2 the price because they don't have the overhead costs of a bakery.... of course it's flattery, but it could be seen as hurting business... but IS IT? Would these people come to you in the first place? If the home baker is better, maybe you need to fine tune skills or get out of the business because it's not about the home baker... it's about being not as talented as the competition... it's competitive.

But if someone is wanting to steal your designs (and it's usually the brides that are asking, not the other baker) then it means you ARE good...just out of their price range... you wouldn't have had their business anyway.


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Ginnycakes3 Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 9:33pm
post #55 of 114

I remember years ago making an angel food cake from scratch and giving it my own creative twist. My family and friends loved it. It became my signature dish that I took to special events and family gatherings. I always made it when we got together with the inlaws too. Well my mother-in-law had previously asked for the recipe once which I graciously gave her. She said she would like to make it to take to the senior center Christmas party. Well when it was time for our Christmas party with the in-laws one year, I made sure to bring my signature angel cake. (Which I usually do) Well lo and behold Guess what my mother -in-law decided to make for our family gathering? You guessed it! My signature angel food cake icon_mad.gif , she not only did this once to me but twice at two different gattherings with family icon_cry.gif . Needless to say I didnt mind sharing the recipe but she should have showed a little more respect for me then that. But thats just her style. Anyway's that was the last time I took that cake to family gatherings.

Another time I was hosting a party and racked my brain trying to come up with some kind of a dip/combo for nacho's that wasnt the same ole same ole recipe you see. So after weeks of experimenting in the kitchen I came up with something pretty fantastic. Sure enough it was a big hit at the party, and everyone asked for the recipe which I gave out. Week's later one of my friends and coworker's (who was at the party and got recipe) gave her own party which I was invited to. Sure enough she had made the same exact dip and everyone at her party raved about it and asked how she came up with the recipe and she said "Oh it's just a little something I came up with one day!" Uggg!! No credit for me whatsoever!I kept my mouth shut because I did not want to embarress her cause that's not my style. She never said a word to me about it.

Years ago I had my own little business doing craft's and would do craft show's in the area. I created a very unique Item that I had never seen anywhere and it became one of my bestseller's. Within a month or so a lot of the crafters that had booth's at the samecraft shows as I, started making the exact same replica of my Item. I had a funny feeling at the first craft show that was gonna happen eventually because a lot of the vendor's purchased this item from me for themselves. They copied it, and started selling it too. We all went to the same show's. So I always try ed to come up with something unique and different and I quess my point is is that their is nothing wrong with getting ideas from people but please have a little decorum! Everyone should try to get a little more creative and take ideas you see and put your own little creative twist to it. Or at least give that someone you took the idea from a little credit.

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tiptop57 Posted 22 Aug 2007 , 9:51pm
post #56 of 114

Don't worry Sonoma9 I won't sling mud, but want you to know I can have an attitude and you're entitled to your opinion. icon_lol.gif No matter what way we look at it...a knock off is a knock off......whether your the artist or the decorator and have an attitude or not - right?

And yes, there are attitudes, icon_biggrin.gif (And mine is a biggie,) but I believe I earned the right. I'm past practicing "decorating" cakes, I now create and design cakes and sugar sculptures. And then put them in Art Shows. I spent 6 years in college with a Master degree in Art and paid for it with my own hard earned money. Whereas there are other wonderful artists that set-up their bakery and sweated over their business and earned their bragging rights also.

It's all a matter of how we define ourselves. icon_wink.gif

"We all know plenty of people that don't qualify in the race also but also have big it goes both ways. icon_biggrin.gif "

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LiliS Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 12:13am
post #57 of 114

I personally think that even if two people follow a recipe to the letter, the final dish will always taste slightly different. It's the same with decorating. You can use a picture to inspire you, you can try and copy, but each decorator has their own specific 'signature' to the way they do things which will make the cake individual.

But then again, I am a newbie so what do I know???? icon_wink.gif

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alisoncooks Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 12:34am
post #58 of 114

I'm just curious after having read all these posts: what do ya'll do with the "My Favorite Photos" here on cc. do you collect pictures of cakes you just like or cakes you would like to make? do you email each person whose picture you save to your favorites, asking permission for possible future usage? Cause I can tell you there are about 10 different pictures I've saved with the hopes that someday somebody will ask me to do it. and quite honestly, i'm not that good yet, so mine is probably gonna look pretty SIMILAR (I couldn't get it the same if I tried) to the original.

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amberhoney Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 12:45am
post #59 of 114

I personally would never do it. It has has happened to me, one of the earlier cakes I posted here was copied almost exactly, I spotted it in the gallery and the poster did say 'inspired by' but should have put 'copied from'. I left a comment - along the lines of 'wow, great job! I almost thought this was the one I did...' Then the same person did another copy of the same cake, but this time only said 'a copy of the one I made a while back'. I'm all for inspiration - the cake I made was inspired (extremely loosely) by another cake I saw somewhere years ago - but in this case it is an almost exact copy, you couldn't really tell them apart. They were only different because I had some unique candles on mine. Yes I admit I was a bit peeved. I get PMs and emails from time to time asking for instructions, which I always give, but I'm not expecting them to make a cake exactly like mine. I think if they have the talent to make a perfect copy they have the talent to come up with their own 'take' on a design.

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maria892 Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 12:45am
post #60 of 114


I think there are two factions here. The serious, make money out of it cake decorators and the poor little people (like me) who do it for family and friends just for love.

I don't agree with using photos directly from a website - make your own cake and photograph that.

As for copying cakes, I have hundreds of books, well a few anyway, and I always look through them. For my daughters bithdays I always made the exact same cake 'coz that's what she chose out of the book.

BUT if I had a business then there is no way I could make the exact same cake without a certain twist and call it my own - Know what I mean....

Everybody copies recipes and everybody uses them. If I get a recipe off a friend then it goes in my recipe book as "Leanne's banana cake" or "Natalie's Orange cake" or "Mama's Cherry cake" see????

these are for personal use only. I find also that there are waves where recipes are passed around and everyone is making them. I purposely go out of my way to not take a "fashionable" meal to a friends place 'coz they get done to death. We had a noodle salad going around that was so popular EVERYONe was making it.

This was taken off the back of a fried noodle packet - (anyone want it??? icon_lol.gif )

I respect the business CC-er's point of view that they don't want their creations copied and sold.

But a give a break to the learners who delight in being able to come anywhere near as close to re-creating a design they love. It's all for the sake of gaining experience, not for stealing your thunder. thumbs_up.gif

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