I was recently asked to do a cake for a Relay for Life event after the committee saw a cake I made for a friend of mine's son. I gave him an Avengers cake with each Avengers done in colorflow on it for his birthday. The theme for this year's Relay for Life is Survivors and Superheros Saving the World, so they are interested in a sheet cake done with the superheroes in colorflow like on the cake for my friend's son.
They've asked for the cake to be donated which I will of course do for them, as I'm just a hobby baker and don't charge for my cakes anyway (other than the occassional friend who insists on paying me back for ingredients). My understanding has been that if you aren't selling any product you can do things such as the cake I did for my friend, but I am not sure about this cake. I would be donating it, but it's also for a decent sized event so I'm not sure if making all the actual super heroes is ok. Any advice would be appreciated! I'm really hoping to be able to give this super charitable group what they want!
Can you just make generic superheeros instead? Or what about regular people wearing a cape and a mask. Isn't It regular people that they want to make the donation, then that person is considered a supeerhero (in the case of this theme.)
If not, you would probably need to contact the copyright owners and get permission. I think that would be DC Comics.
The previous responder is correct. You absolutely cannot make any character that is copyrighted on your cake and it matters not if you are paid or not.
You cannot make and sell any cakes made with any of the license character pans unless you contact the license holder such as Disney, and ask for their permission. Remember these lovely character pans are for personal use only, not for business use. When we say personal use this is your family or close friend, not a non-profit agency.
Here are some rules to bake by:
* When baking for profit you cannot use a licensed character pan and sell the cake.
* When baking for profit you cannot prepare a sheet cake and draw a licensed character on the cake.
* When baking for profit you cannot make a likeness of any copyrighted figure, not in any way, shape or form.
Bakers can use edible images; those pre-made frosting sheets that you can purchase or order online. The sheets have the characters on them, and the maker of the sheets has already paid for the rights to use and sell them. Remember, it is illegal to download an image from the Internet and copy it yourself in frosting or print it yourself on a food quality ink jet system; you need to secure permission to use the characters.
Copyrights and licenses are there to protect a product and the individual who created the product so others wont profit illegally from their creative work. You are allowed to legally use a licensed character pan to make a cake for home use only because the copyright/license holder has already made his profit from the sale of the pan. If you sell a cake made from that pan the license holder did not make a profit from the sale of that cake and that is illegal.
If you trace or draw a copyrighted character onto a cake, the holder does not make a profit from that use of the character he created. If you purchase a edible image and place it on a cake the copyright/license holder has made his profit from the sale of the image and that is legal.
There are a lot of rumors lurking out there and cake decorators need to know the real deal. If you are putting a novelty character on a cake, and you know what Im talking about and you did not get permission to use the character you are breaking the law. Period. Understanding the law and the penalties of breaking it helps you make a decision you can live with; unfortunately what one person can live with is sometimes different from what others can; my suggestion is that you operate on the right side of the law.
How do I contact Disney with my licensing proposal?