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"Borrowing" cookie designs

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
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?????
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.
post #3 of 30
Quote:
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
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.
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
"I think every woman should have a blowtorch." - Julia Child
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"I think every woman should have a blowtorch." - Julia Child
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post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 
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!
post #7 of 30
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?
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!
post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 
Wow, people acutally take peoples pictures and call them their own?? That is insane.
post #10 of 30
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.
"I think every woman should have a blowtorch." - Julia Child
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"I think every woman should have a blowtorch." - Julia Child
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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.
post #12 of 30
Tracy,
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.
Life is short... eat dessert first!
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Life is short... eat dessert first!
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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!)
"I think every woman should have a blowtorch." - Julia Child
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"I think every woman should have a blowtorch." - Julia Child
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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
Pray The Rosary
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Pray The Rosary
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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.
"I think every woman should have a blowtorch." - Julia Child
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"I think every woman should have a blowtorch." - Julia Child
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