"borrowing" Cookie Designs

Baking By HeidiCrumbs Updated 13 Feb 2009 , 2:06am by Alagoas

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HeidiCrumbs Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 2:52am
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What is the protocol on this? Honestly, I'm not terribly creative so I get most of my ideas from the internet and kind of make them my own, and now that I have 700 million more pictures to look at from you all, I'm wondering what is considered "copying" or what is just "borrowing?" Is there a line that you all do not cross when using ideas from other people or is it just a free for all?

Hope this doesn't sound like I'm going to go out and copy all of your cookies. For example, a Christmas tree cookie. There are infinite ways to frost and design them, but somebody had a plaid one and it was really neat and I would never think to do that, so is it copying? Or do we all put our cookie pictures out there for other people to use our ideas?

Is this making any sense at all?????

29 replies
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DsLady614 Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 4:35am
post #2 of 30

I think there is no way to "copyright" a cookie design. And even you do do something you've seen, its likely to be a little different. What I do is, if I borrow from someone, when I post a picture I acknowledge them.

What you CANNOT do is take a picture of someone else's cookies and claim you did them.

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yellobutterfly Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 4:41am
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Originally Posted by vstar_pilot

I think there is no way to "copyright" a cookie design. And even you do do something you've seen, its likely to be a little different. What I do is, if I borrow from someone, when I post a picture I acknowledge them.

What you CANNOT do is take a picture of someone else's cookies and claim you did them.

my thoughts exactly, well said

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KrissieCakes Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 4:51am
post #4 of 30

I agree! I'm learning by copying other people's designs right now (just figuring out the techniques is hard enough for me right now, much less figuring out the design too!!! icon_smile.gif), but I would never claim them as my own design.

I think you should always try to "cite your source" and give credit where credit is due. I always chuckle to myself when I see a picture posted that is an obvious copy of someone else's work with no credit given...then you see a bunch of comments on what a beautiful design it is.

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TracyLH Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 1:06pm
post #5 of 30

In the beginning, many will try a hand at a specfic cookie they see and then as they get more experienced, they will do their own designs. Lots of us start that way in the very beginning, until we get our footing and our confidence. If someone posts that cookie, they need to give credit to the person who orginally designed it, but I don't feel it should ever be copied exactly. A lot of time went into that design process.

I find that I will often be inspired by an idea or a technique that I see, but I really feel the need to change it so it doesn't look like the original. They worked hard on their design. When posting, I give credit to the person who inspired the idea and if I am concerned whether or not it it is okay to play with their design, I will ask the person first. It just felt like the polite thing to do after all their hard work. When done, it did not look like theirs, but it was inspired by their design, so they deserve credit for that.

So, practice away, try ideas you see and with time you will find your groove. In the beginning, I didn't have much confidence either. Clip art is another great thing to look at for ideas and may help you come up with an idea that may be inspired by someone else's, but is then more your own design when you tweak and play around with the cliip art image.

As for the plaid tree idea, I don't see a problem with doing a plaid tree at all. I just wouldn't do her exact striping and colors and I would give her credit for the orginal idea - "I saw such-and-such's cute plaid cookies and was inspired to do my own! Thanks such-and-such!" I think that is the way to do it and then you won't feel uneasy like you are now. Just my thought.

It was nice of you to ask about this and I wish you the best in your cookie-ing! I took a peek at your cookies and you are off to a great start! thumbs_up.gif Nice lines on those clocks! And, for example, I saw your second Santa hats and loved how they looked like fabric. My mind immediately filed that away, thinking that if I do a dress cookie, that I now want to play around with making folds. You see, we are all inspired by each other! icon_biggrin.gif

Happy cookie-ing! icon_biggrin.gif

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HeidiCrumbs Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 1:52pm
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Tracy-Thank you so much for taking the time to post that long reply. I really appreciate the thought that you put into it. I feel so much better now, especially that you all didn't think I was a crazy cookie copier for posting that. I'm also sorry that people are stealing your designs and that you feel hesitant to post your pictures. That's not fair to you for someone to steal your hard work or us who might be inspired by something you did since like I said, I have a hard time coming up with ideas on my own right now but if I see a nice cookie I will tweak it a bit and make it my own. A few bad apples always spoil it for the bunch, hey?

I love the idea of asking the person with the original design if I can "borrow" it too. Also giving credit when the cookie is finished and a picture is posted. This just makes me much more aware that if I see a design I need to somehow write down who made it so I can give credit where credit is due.

Thank you so much for not thinking I was a crazy cookie copier for asking this, lol, I was so worried I would be kicked off or something for insinuating I was going to copy all of your cookies!

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yellobutterfly Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 1:58pm
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TracyLH - your cookies are INCREDIBLE! and soooo detailed! (I just took a peek after reading your post). Do you make your own cutters as well?

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yankeegal Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 2:02pm
post #8 of 30

All good responses thus far... Here is my take:

I always try to give credit for a cookie design I may see and use. I have contacted people to ask their permission if the cookie I do is going to be close to a copy of theirs and always give credit.
I have no problem if someone uses a design of mine. I feel it is the biggest form of flattery. Just give credit where credit is due!
I do have a big issue with someone using my pictures(just went thru this recently) I baked, decorated and photographed(although if you have seen my "photography" this maybe an abuse of the word) the cookies-do your own work!

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HeidiCrumbs Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 2:06pm
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Wow, people acutally take peoples pictures and call them their own?? That is insane.

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TracyLH Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 2:09pm
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Heidi - Oh, heavens! I never thought for a second that you were a "crazy cookie copier". icon_lol.gif I thought you were a politely taking the time to ask a protocol question, just as I did when I first started and I got much the same response (shorter though!)

Interesting side note about copyrighting cookie designs. I know that Nancy of Nancy's Fancy Cookies had to at one point contact some people who were using her work and tell them to cease and desist. I don't know if it was her photos or the designs themselves. I am curious about that one. It wouldn't suprise me if she was able to copyright her designs. She is truly an artist extraordinaire and they are designs and designs can be copyrighted. It just wouldn't surprise me if she was able to. Her work is in a league of its own and I can see a need to prevent others from duplicating it. Don't the big name cake designers copyright their work? I wonder that that works for them.

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yankeegal Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 2:16pm
post #11 of 30

Tracy-We know you are nuts-that's why we love you! icon_wink.gif And I totally understand how you feel about your designs and the need to protect them-they are amazing!

Fancy Nancy is in a league all of her own. To me, as a customer, I would want the original, and not some knock-off and would pay for her talent.

Heidi-yes, unfortunately this happens a lot. There is a thread on the home page dealing with how to handle it if it happens. Sad.

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eatdessert1st Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 2:23pm
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Your cookie designs are amazing! I can tell you put a lot of time into them. I'm curious... how much do you charge per cookie?

Melanie Mc.

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TracyLH Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 2:31pm
post #13 of 30

Quick clarification - Heidi, I don't want it to come across like I am paranoid that someone is 'stealing' my designs. That sounds rather haughty if I said that and there are many more talented cookie decorators on here than me!!! icon_smile.gif (LOTS, lots more!) I just don't think it would feel good if you are newbie or a pro. One of my favorite cookies was done by a newbie. I am hoping to play with it next year, but rest assured, it will look different so as to not be copied and she will get credit for the inspiration! Without her, I would neven have the idea.

Yankeegal - NO way! icon_eek.gif Someone stole your photo! Eeh gads! That is SO crossing a line! Oh, and thanks for the laugh about being nuts! You brought a smile to my face as I was really worried how that would all come across!

Yellowbutterfly - Thanks! icon_biggrin.gif Yes, I do make my own cutters and templates. Here is some info, if you are interested. If you ever want to try making cutters, KHalstead has a great tutorial here on CC on how to do so and if you are going to do it and want to save a bunch of time trying to find foodsafe metal, I use 26 gauge foodsafe stainless steel I get from Joe at Speedy Metals. For templates, I use the lighter weight of the two options of template plastic found in the quilting section of Joann's. I use templates for smaller numbers of cookies and cutters for larger numbers or designs that would be too much of a pain to hand cut (like my witch cookie - well worth making the cutter!)

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dailey Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 2:41pm
post #14 of 30

i have to jump in here as this is one of my huge pet peeves.

never do i want to get to a point where i spend more than a minute fretting over whether someone "stole" one of my designs. for heaven sakes, who really cares if someone copies a cake design or cookie?? i mean, am i the only one who sees this as silly?? as long as they don't take your *actual* picture and pass it off as their own then i say have at it! thumbs_up.gif

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TracyLH Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 2:44pm
post #15 of 30

Eatdessertfirst - Thanks! Gosh, that can be hard to nail down. It would be cookie dependant. I like the rough guage I have heard here on CC of $1 inch, more if more detailed work is involved, less if it is simple.

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bakinccc Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 5:33pm
post #16 of 30

I'm right there with yankeegal and dailey in that if someone uses my designs I take it as a huge compliment. Most people give me credit when they use my designs but occasionally someone doesn't and "sniffle, sniffle"...I tell myself to get over it!!!! LOL! I know I've made a few mistakes in not giving a specific person credit. With the way I save some of my favorite photos to different places I can't tell who did them. But the same person that used yankeegal's pics as her own creations did it with my pics too. That's not right and it's not flattering either.

I did have the ultimate "flattery" happen to me lately though! A wonderful person in Cancun that copied my Valentines mix of designs is being featured in a local Cancun magazine and the cookies are on the COVER of the magazine!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Am I thrilled? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! She's actually sending me a copy soon. If I never make it in the big times I can always say I made it to the front cover thanks to her!! Many of those designs were my own and some were truly inspired by others on cc.

We all inspire each other and are inspired by many others along our paths. I don't think I'd be where I am right now without all the inspiration here on cc. Love this place!!!!!!

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TracyLH Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 6:23pm
post #17 of 30

Bakinccc - Sorry to hear that you got zinged too! I am shocked that someone would just take the photo and claim it as their own. So not cool!

Wow! The cover of a magazine! How fabulous is that! Someday, it will be your own cookies on a cover - mark my word!

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shiney Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 6:46pm
post #18 of 30

I agree with everything that's said here. I am the worst (or best?) at 'trying' a version of others' designs, several of those posting in this thread, and riSHEL, didn't see her there. I hate it when I click Post Photo, and realize I've forgotten to give them credit. Then folks see it before I go back to edit to put that in. You cookiers are top class! I think half of the folks on this thread of been so kind to guide me along and answer my goofus questions. I know someone stealing your photo is a huge compliment, but an angering compliment!
Glad this topic came up. I don't think I've seen it on this forum before

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kimsmom Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 7:30pm
post #19 of 30

I actually enjoy the design process more than the actual baking etc. And since I just bake for family and friends, I try to make them something different. I do however like seeing the design when it can be translated into a cookie.
I don't post many photos, as I try to only post ones that are different, but I'm extremely flattered if someone uses my designs.
As to the subject of just the photos, I'm with everyone else.
The cookie talent here on CC is just amazing. I enjoy just looking.
Congratulations bakinccc. Your designs are fabulous.

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psneed5 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 1:10am
post #20 of 30

Wow....this is a great topic and I'm so glad that so many of you replied. Many of you are my cookie heros. icon_smile.gif

I gain SO MUCH inspiration from all of you. I see lots of designs and then make similar ones. I'm sorry to say that I've never acknowledge one particular person for the ideas. icon_sad.gif However, you all have made me realize that it is the right thing to do. So from now on, when I save an idea, I'm going to note who inspired me and be sure to give them credit if I post a pic. Thank you for that terrific suggestion.

This is an amazing place for cookiers....a place to get ideas, but also meet those with like passions. And I LOVE to look at all your cookies everyone! It is the highlight of the day to open up all the pics and see what you've come up with. There are some EXTREMELY talented people here. I hope to some day grow up to be just like you. icon_smile.gif

Thanks for being there.....and being so helpful when I ask a question. You all are the best!

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Amifsud Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 1:52am
post #21 of 30

I have to agree with all that has been said here. I have only been icing cookies for about 1 year. I have to say that I learned alot from this website and I consider myself creative, so like someone else already said, you will come into your own and want to do things differently. I have truly been inspired by CC. I do try to change up my cookies so they do not look like someone elses, sometimes it is difficult to change it up alot. I think CC member are all inspired by one another and to be honest I take it as a compliment when someone puts my cookies in their favorites. I am hesitatant sometimes to post my pics, but I just love doing them for the creativity part of it, then kind of want some feedback on my work. When you are up at 3 am thinking about a cookie design you want to do, you have the bug. There is just not enough hour in my day to do all I want to do.

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artsywest Posted 9 Feb 2009 , 4:35pm
post #22 of 30

A lot of times all it takes is seeing someone else's design to jump-start your own creativity. I have used ideas from someone else, but by the time you do it, it's totally your own. Personally I don't mind if someone were to copy something I've done- it is the sincerest form of flattery!

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sallene Posted 9 Feb 2009 , 7:14pm
post #23 of 30

I'm glad this was posted. I always see this site as a venue for ideas, and try to give credit if I do copy a design. Sometimes I might just do a 'thanks to many people at CC' quote, because several people have done the same.

I don't know that I've asked the person ahead of time...I must start doing that. icon_smile.gif

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Alagoas Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 9:42pm
post #24 of 30

Well, I think this "suit fits me"...

I am not very creative at designing COOKIES, so I use other people creativity BUT I bake, decorate and make my own photos... I sell them and don't post photos at CC (cause I don't know how) I never thought I should ask permission to do so...

Last December I was invited to make COOKIES for a front cover in a local magazine... I proposed many ideas (all COOKIES made by myself, not all of the designs were mine, though) in the form of clipart and COOKIES... well, bakinccc's Valentine´s COOKIES which are her insipiration as well as Mitsel's, and others, were the ones they chose for the cover...

I made the COOKIES and they made great pictures... the day before it went out I contacted bakinccc and showed her the cover in my blog, where I gave her full credit, and thank many of you and other people who have helped, taught or in any form been an inspiration in this COOKIE business... http://cancuncookies.blogspot.com/2009/01/cancunissimo.html

bakinccc: Sorry I didn't ask first... I'll know better next time icon_redface.gif

and I want to invite you all to see my blog... http://cancuncookies.blogspot.com

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TracyLH Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 3:46am
post #25 of 30

Yay! We get to see the cover! icon_biggrin.gif Nice job to both of you! How exciting!!! icon_biggrin.gif

Alagoas - Your avatar is still my favorite! It reminds me of our cat, Doorstop, that we found after a storm. (BTW - I didn't name him!)

Thanks for sharing your blog address and best of luck in your cookie biz!

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cakesgalore6373 Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 4:01am
post #26 of 30

Being new myself, I have learned alot from not only the forum, but from browsing pics.

I admire the art of the cookies. I have not ventured out to try this yet, but I am tossing the idea out there.

All of you that make cookies, they are great!! I hope one day to join in and accomplish the same.

I have browsed many pics of cakes and have borrowed many ideas from different cakes myself. (I don't want to make the same exact cake as someone else, but there might be a technique that I like, maybe a border on one cake, and a different flower on another. I might combine both to create a similar but different look.

I will have to remember to give credit where credit is due when borrowing ideas from others.

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sallene Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 1:19pm
post #27 of 30

What a wonderful cover! Beautiful cookies (and who wouldn't admire bakincc's cookies too!!)!

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GeminiRJ Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 6:52pm
post #28 of 30

Great magazine cover, Alagos! Thanks so much for sharing.

I didn't even realize cookies could be such an art form until I found CC! I think almost everyone starts out by copying something they've seen. Once you gain some experience and confidence, it's only natural to want to do your own designs. Inspiration can come from any visual media, and I still think it's important to credit that source if it's central to your design. For instance, I have a lot of cookies in my photos that are copies of Peggy Karr's glass art, and I mentioned that when I posted them.

The only time I worried about someone stealing one of my designs was back when I first came up with my 3D cookies. I was entering a number of them in a local sugar arts competition, and didn't want someone more talented than me doing them, too!

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yankeegal Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 12:26am
post #29 of 30

Alagoas-beautiful cover!!! Wow!

Gemini-there is no one more talented than you when it comes to 3-D cookies! icon_biggrin.gif

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Alagoas Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 2:06am
post #30 of 30

Thank you for visiting my blog, and for your nice comments... I really appreciate all the help and support I've received from CC members... have a nice day! icon_smile.gif

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