Character Cake Licensing

Business By kookycutter Updated 2 Dec 2010 , 9:48pm by jillmakescakes

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kookycutter Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 4:28am
post #1 of 13

Joining Cake Central has brought the issue of character licensing to my mind, as everyone seems to be very conscientious and wary of the copyright laws (hadn't even occurred to me). I have seen many recreations of characters and logos on the sites of very famous cake designers. Do you think all of them purchased multiple licenses or are they just risking it? And if they are risking it, have there been a large number of cases where cake designers and bakers/bakeries have been fined for copyright infringement?

12 replies
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kookycutter Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 4:50am
post #2 of 13

Sorry for my question. Perhaps no one knows the answer.

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tavyheather Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 5:00am
post #3 of 13

I have seen them on many not-so-famous caker's sites...this has been discussed before and I believe we concluded some don't mind risking it and others are ignorant of the legalities...

However, I have never seen any famous person's work ur speaking of..maybe could u give an example? If so maybe b/c they have a reputation it is easy for them to get permission from the co.

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kookycutter Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 5:03am
post #4 of 13

Confetti cakes and Lovin Sullivan cakes have a few on their site (just from the top of my head). They have both been on Food Network challenge stuff.

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tavyheather Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 5:09am
post #5 of 13

hmm then I'm assuming they're getting permission, it can be done!

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CWR41 Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 5:18am
post #6 of 13

Some of the licensed character cakes (especially some here on CC) aren't being sold, but rather made as gifts for friends or for their own family members.

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kookycutter Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 5:24am
post #7 of 13

Yeah, I got that part about ppl not selling the cakes. But I am actually skeptical that those cake makers got the licenses. They are a lot of money from what I understand, and some of the best cake designers don't make THAT much money.

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CWR41 Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 5:29am
post #8 of 13

I've heard that companies like Disney and Nickelodian (sp?) don't allow it, but some sports teams will give approval.

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all4cake Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 6:11am
post #9 of 13

Disney and Nickelodian do allow it. Just depends on the event and what's in it for them (understandably), and who is doing the asking...if you have a network PR dept to get ahold of their PR dept....I imagine things move a bit faster than it would for the average Jo/JOAnn. Licensing can be agreed upon on an individual or overall basis. If you plan on only doing one or two...the company may ask for a set amount per piece. If you expect regular sales of the items, an amount can be agreed upon for a set period of time...may be a percentage of sales. A design must meet approval of owner of licensed item. Aside from licensing, you'll be required to maintain a certain amount of insurance (NY Yankees required 12 million total....approximately 600 per year...)...a couple of other small fees such as notary fee(s) for contracts. It isn't so much the cost of licensing but the trouble one must go through in order to get it. It can take close to a year for some and most simply give up way before that.

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scp1127 Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 6:51am
post #10 of 13

Many of the Food Network Challenge contestants post their cakes from the shows on their sites. Food Network definitely has permission, if not sponsorship from the copyright holders. They aren't selling the cakes, just showing off their TV talent.

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costumeczar Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 5:38pm
post #11 of 13

I'm sure that if you have a televisions network behind you, you'll get permission to make the characters.

I have permission from several sports teams and colleges to reproduce their team mascots and logos, but some are easier to get than others.

Some companies have a live and let live policy, but you have to research it. Some are super hard-core about not letting you reproduce their characters.

Most companies have directories on their websites where you can find the email addresses for their legal departments if you have questions.

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Rose_N_Crantz Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 8:38pm
post #12 of 13

I like to use the speeding analogy in these instances. This only really works for the people that knowingly take the risk of copyright infringement.

People can argue that speed limits are ridiculous and they don't need to follow them. This can be seen by noticing how many people speed. However, there are still policemen that will pull over speeders for going 5 over and give them very real tickets. How many of the speeders get pulled over? Not many, but I don't speed because I don't want to get a ticket.

I don't draw licensed characters on cakes because I don't want to risk getting sued. Sure, the chance of getting sued if very small, but I don't want to end up in that small percentage.

I think that's what most decorators who draw licensed characters are thinking. What are the chances of getting caught? Quite small, but still there.

For those that don't know about copyright infringement, well, everyone learns and everyone learns in different ways. But just keep in mind you can't tell a cop that you didn't know what the speed limit was. That doesn't fly.

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jillmakescakes Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 9:48pm
post #13 of 13

after looking at the two sites you mentioned, I'd guess that they went ahead and got permission. The copyrighted cakes are from companies that would be more likely than say, Disney or Nickelodeon, to give permission.

As others have said, I've gotten permission from several companies including beverage companies, purse companies, schools and universities. It just takes time to ask.

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