I was just wondering if it's legal to do a base cake and have the customer buy there own figurines and put them on theirselves, how would you go about advertising this. I mean would you design and make up the base cake for your window or website and leave the characters off? Or could you place the figures on with the disclaimer that due to copywrite laws, customer must purchase and place figurines themselves.
It's kind of hard to advertise that you can make them the base cake and show what a finished product will look like. Do you get what I mean...
I think (and I say I think because I don't own a cake business) that bakers don't advertise that they do character cakes, unless they get decopac kits and then they would advertise that they have decopac kits available. But when the customer asks, they explain what copyright laws will allow them to do.
(ok sandra lee haters ... don't hit me, but....)
advertise them as
Final Flourish Cakes
"And I Helped" Cakes
Blank Canvas Cakes
best way to do for web:
2 photos -- one of the blank cake and one of finished cake -- but finished one CLEARLY labeled as done by XYZ parent -- and photo looks it too -- as in it's sitting on the kitchen/dining/patio/picnic table
also very clear and large explanation of how you create the canvas and they add their own details.
I don't advertise that I do them, because I love the fact that I don't get phone calls all the time for stupid character cakes with shaped pans that I'll never use over and over again. And plus it's way too complicated to advertise and outline in a "safe" "uncopywrighted" way that you do those types of background/base cakes. Most people don't understand what you are saying unless they are having a detailed conversation with you about copyright laws. Every now and then you will come accross that type of customer who wants that type of "themed" "base" cake and I just usually do what they ask with a very nice back drop cake for them to place their candles or toys on. I don't even take a pic with thier stuff on it because I don't even want that associated with my business. I can usually come up with enough detail for the cake that by the time it's done, you would never know that it's "missing" something, like the addition of their toys, or candles that they are going to be putting on it when they get the cake home. I have a cake in my gallery I uploaded this week that was for a customer's Sesame Street themed 1st birthday party. She was going to put some little Big bird / cookie monster, etc. candles on top when they got it home, but I don't thin anyone would know that by looking at it. If it were me, I would just deal with those kinds of cakes as they come...don't go looking for them. I really don't do them that often, and that's fine with me. lol
I was my understanding that if you are purchasing the figures, you are paying for them, and for the rights to use them. I know you cannot make them out of fondant, or decorate the cake in a similar theme though.
In fact, I just purchased a Curious George figurine that comes with 4 bday candles, so obviously it is for use on a cake, but it specifically says so on the packaging.
YUP...you just can't draw or carve or make the characters for a cake you are going to sell.
It's my understanding that if you buy the figurines to place on your cakes for sale, you have to decorate the cake according to their directions (ie like the cakes in the books at the store bakieries)... no designs of your own