EEEEEEEEE this thread is making my skin crawl! For the record, I am an attorney, I'm currently not practicing but I focused on IP issues. And so many of you are giving such incredibly bad, incredibly wrong information! Not maliciously, I know, but from a very imperfect understanding of copyright law.
If all of you take away only one thing from this post, let this be it:
You do not need to register a copyright with the US copyright office! You own the copyright from the MOMENT OF CREATION. For example, I now own the copyright on that previous sentence from the moment I wrote it. Now, to *enforce* your copyright, it's helpful to register your copyright with the US copyright and trademark office. But it is not required!! Just becasue you can search and not find something on that website does NOT mean that someone else doesn't own the copyright!!! Whomever created a particular design first owns the copyright, not whomever recorded it first. This is not a race-to-record statute.
A copyright covers the expression, not the idea. Is this chick the first one ever to create a hamburger cupcake like that? No way. We can find plenty of earlier instances (many cited here) and so she definitely doesn't own the copyright. She knows enough about copyright law to be dangerous and annoying, but she doesn't understand the nuances. She might make a stink, but she doesn't have a legal basis to stand on.
just what we've been waiting for! thank u for chiming in!!! i appreciate u helping us understand this!!!