How Much For Spongebob

Decorating By lil_ol_me Updated 27 Apr 2008 , 7:31pm by lil_ol_me

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lil_ol_me Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 7:12pm
post #1 of 19

Hello- I have a question...
I have a gril who wants me to do a SpongeBob Square pants cake with him holding a net. It will feed about 40 people and she wants it to be carved into sponge bob-

How much would everyone charge for this cake?
Thank You

18 replies
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JoAnnB Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 7:16pm
post #2 of 19

I tell them, 'sorry, Spongebob is a licensed character and I can't make them for sale."

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lil_ol_me Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 12:16am
post #3 of 19

Even if it is just to get some more experience I can't do it?
I thought that if I actually owned a business I couldn't but since I am just doing it for her daughters birthday that it wouldn't be that big of a deal.
Wow I have a lot to learn if I really can't do this cake.

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calefan Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 12:34am
post #4 of 19

Here's a question I've been wondering about when it comes to licensed character cakes. You can't charge for them, but can you accept a donation for them? The difference being not asking a certain amount, but accepting an undisclosed amount instead?

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funbun Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 12:41am
post #5 of 19

Sorry, but if you exchange money for cake it is illegal. Donation or payment is the same in the eyes of the law.

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calefan Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 12:44am
post #6 of 19

Easy enough, thanks!

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cakesbycathy Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 12:58am
post #7 of 19

You can legally do the cake if you do not charge her for it or accept any form of payment (including money just for the ingredients or the ingredients themselves or a gift card or a thank you note with a $20 inside it get the idea right? icon_rolleyes.gif )

If you are giving the cake as your gift, then it is fine!

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bigmama1961 Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 1:10am
post #8 of 19


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icer101 Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 1:21am
post #9 of 19

who is going to tell on you here at cakecentral. i,m not. who on here, has not charged for a cake, even a licensed character cake before they went legal. i know people that say they don,t , and they have a book full of cake pictures, including wedding, etc. you think i believe they didn,t charge for them. it's none of my business, i let them say what they want to say and do. i do what i want to do. this topic has been on too many times, and the same thing is always said. please make your spongebob, set a price, don,t loose any sleep. i,ve bought character cakes from licensed home decorators before. they are still decorating today. most people don,t even know the rules. especially family and friends.

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lutie Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 1:37am
post #10 of 19

Sorry to be the wet blanket, but if it is wrong, it is wrong. Makes you wonder how Wilton has gotten away with not putting a disclaimer/warning in their pans You are certainly creative enough to make something that is just as cute, if not more, and still get the effect, without "using" a licensed product. T A cartoon-looking character should fit the bill... after all, a mermaid is legal, but Arielle is not.

Remember... someone will be taking pictures, and even though the cake will be gone, the evidence will be in many places, such as You would be upset if someone took your licensed idea and used it without paying you. I know I would (I just cannot afford to pay to have anything licensed, as most of us on this site).

None of us are large corporations with overpaid lawyers... we are good people who are proud of our creations and wish to share them with others just like us. That is what makes Cake Central so wonderful.

The lady should understand. If not, then you did not want to compromise your values for her lack of them.

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funbun Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 1:41am
post #11 of 19

I use to think the same way as icer101, who was really gonna know. I didn't really advertise and it use to be just a side business for me. So who cared? I made lots of cakes under the radar but then one day I received a registered letter from the Disney Corp. telling me it was illegal to use their characters without premission and explaining that if I continued to do so they whould have no choice but to take legal action.

I have never charged for a character cake again. I explain to all my customers that ask for character cakes that it is illegal for me to do those cakes and suggest something else.
I agree that most people don't know the rules but that is no excuse in court.
Hope my story gives eveyone a heads up. At that point I was only doing 3 -5 cakes a month and they knew about me. This was pre internet too!

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cakesbycathy Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 1:41am
post #12 of 19

Wilton does have a disclaimer on the pans...something to the effect of
"for home use only"

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FromScratch Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 1:46am
post #13 of 19

Ignorance doesn't mean that it's not illegal. Playing dumb will not get you out of a fine if you are caught. They DO go after the little guy and they don't care and the fines can be HUGE. If you accept anything for a cake with a licensed character (be it money, or a pan, or anything accept a thank you) you are breaking the law.

I would tell her that you can make her a cake that will compliment a spongebob theme.. make a blue cake with flowers (like they have floating in the sky) and she can put some toys on it. That way she gets a cake that goes with her theme and you can happily know that you aren't doing anything illegal.

Someone said "who on here, has not charged for a cake, even a licensed character cake before they went legal." Well I can stand up and say that I haven't. I wanted to do things the right way from the beginning. So don't assume that we all do it.

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Mommaskip Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:00am
post #14 of 19

instead of everyone getting somewhat nasty about this subject....why didnt everyone just say nicely that im sorry sweety you have to tell her its illegal for this reason.....then proceed to say here is another idea that your customer may the idea with the toys. seriously cant we share information and be nice about it. geezzzz

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FromScratch Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:04am
post #15 of 19

Who's being nasty? I see nothing nasty in this thread. icon_smile.gif

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lil_ol_me Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 3:25pm
post #16 of 19

Wow- It looks like I have stired the pot a little on here. Sorry didn't mean to do that. icon_redface.gif
I guess since I did the Stewie- (Not knowing it was illegal) I didn't even think that I couldn't do the SpongeBob.
Maybe I will just do Cupcakes with a sea background or something like that.
I appreciate all the feedback and will let you know what I come up with.

Thank You

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lil_ol_me Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 3:51pm
post #17 of 19

Actually- I did Stewie for my Brothers birthday and didn't get a single penny for it. I did not charge anyone anything for that cake. I just wanted to make that clear on here icon_biggrin.gif Don't want the big guns to be pulled out on me. icon_smile.gif
You all have a great weekend and Thanks again for all the feedback.


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Carolynlovescake Posted 27 Apr 2008 , 5:54am
post #18 of 19


You didn't do anything or post anything wrong so don't worry about big guns. We've all been there and had to ask this question here at some point.

Yes it is illegal to do any licensed or copyrighted images. This includes cartoon characters, school logo's, professional sports team logo, and believe it or not... reprinting pictures onto an edible image for a photo cake.

Even carved cakes are a no no. If it looks like an image and you can randomly ask a stranger and they can say "it looks like Mickey Mouse" or "It looks like Elmo" then doing it would be breaking the law.

You can do them, just as the others said. No exchange of goods, no exchange of money. The only thing you can get for the cake is "thank you".

Here is what I have hanging on my wall (I have a legal kitchen in my home). Hopefully this will help you know how to explain it or answer any other questions you have.

I have it in a word document that has colored text and highlights etc. so if that's easier for you to read please PM me and I'll e-mail it to you.

Happy Caking!



Character Pans/Character Images
All licensed character shaped pans, candy molds and cookie cutters are for consumer home use only.
Stores/Shops/Decorators cannot make cakes, cookies or candies from licensed or copyrighted images and sell them to consumers.

These "mold-making" items are strictly prohibited from any type of commercial use since the licensor has neither the method to control the quality of the reproduction of the character nor the ability to earn royalties on sales of the "made" products. Free-hand or copies of character designs cannot be drawn or iced on top of a cake, cupcakes or cookies and sold for any type of commercial purpose. Once again, the licensor cannot control the quality & is not earning a royalty on the product created around their characters.

Specifically, creating any type of image that looks like a licensed character that then is sold for commercial purposes is prohibited unless there is a specific licensing agreement with the licensor for that product and royalties are paid each time the product is sold.

Additionally a customer cannot bring a decorator or store/shop a character pan/mold they have bought, and ask them to make the cake/candy/cookie in exchange for money. This is considered the same thing as above, because money is exchanging hands without the licensor earning royalties.

Edible Images
A copyright protects an original work or creation and gives exclusive right to that work or creation to its author. Copyright law protects the author's/creator's work by prohibiting anyone else from using or profiting from that creation in any way without the owner's permission.

In reproducing copyrighted figures, it does not matter if the character is drawn by hand, added using an image projector, or put on a cake with a computer cake machine. If the item carries a © or ® or ⢠symbol, then it is protected. Although most copyright materials will contain either © or ® or â¢, U.S. law does not require it.

Copyrighted Photos for Edible Images: Obtaining the release
_________________ will contact the photo owner/photographer requesting a release for the one time use of their photo. If there is a charge for _________________ to use the requested image you, the customer will be notified and given the option to pay the photographer (a confirmation to me from the photographer in writing is needed) or the cost can be added to the cost of your cake and must be paid in full prior to pick up.

Can it really hurt?
The answer is yes. Some copyright holders may be satisfied with a cease & desist order, others could choose to file a lawsuit. Ignorance of these laws will not dismiss the suit, or get you out of trouble with a cease & desist order. The court could find you guilty and award financial damages plus attorney fees. The copyright owner can collect damages without having to prove that your infringement actually cost them monetary harm. Fines can vary. Some may only ask for a low fine but some well known companies are very aggressive in going after anyone and be as high as they feel their image use is worth.

How will they know?
In actuality they may never know if I were to do a copyrighted image on a cake. Some companies though do have legal teams dedicated to searching out their images being used with out permission. There are some well known companies who do focus on the cake decorators industryâ¦. In turn let me ask, how do I know you are not part of one of those legal teams who are testing me to do your image? I pride myself in my work, and running my business in a legal fashion. If you are part of a legal team looking for me to break the law, please rest assured itâs not going to happen at this place of business.

Why can you do a Character Image from the Deco Pac book?

Deco Pac has arranged to cover the cost of royalty fees for use of their products. Because of this the cakes MUST be recreated exactly as shown in the book.

With that said⦠If you really want to have a copyrighted image, I will design a cake to match your theme in any way possible and you may buy any accessories you wish and place them on your cake when you get it home.

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lil_ol_me Posted 27 Apr 2008 , 7:31pm
post #19 of 19

Thank you so much. I really appreciate all the feedback. I told her that I could do something that has Spongebob Figures on it but not Spongebob himself.
Maybe there is something else that she would rather i do
We'll see.
Thanks Again

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