Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Warning about licensed characters and copyrighted material
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Warning about licensed characters and copyrighted material  

post #1 of 180
Thread Starter 
DON'T DO IT!
I know it's not new information to many, but there has been an interesting discussion on Kerry Vincent's Facebook page on this topic. Included in the discussion are some comments from someone from Food Network who was involved in obtaining legal permission for using licensed characters on the shows. It seems that companies who own copyrighted material are on the war-path and have hired people specifically to search websites for infringments. Kerry Vincent is trying to warn people, even small companies, to remove any pictures that could be considered as copyrighted material from their websites. She is also telling people not to make licensed character cakes for sale, it is not worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars it will cost if a person gets sued. This includes giving credit to the designers of cakes we copy, even ones in how-to books. It also includes colleges, sports teams, designs copied from invitations etc. In some cases it doesn't cost much to get written permission, but Disney- forget it! It is a matter of ethics as well as legality- and Ms. Vincent says it will help make us better designers in the end. This is all paraphrased but I will ask if I can post some quotes from this conversation here. TFL!
post #2 of 180
THank you for that info. I already abide by this rule pretty much, and I know Disney is a big NO NO. I even had a friend once who got taken to court by Disney. She changed the color of Mickey Mouse's pants from red to yellow on the cake and thought that would make a difference. Honestly, the judge threw out the case in her favor just because she did that, basically telling Disney they didn't have a case. She was sooooooooo lucky, she has no idea. I still don't understand why bakers take the risk. I maybe have to turn down a "copyright" image order every once in a while, and usually, I can get the customer to find a way to work around it by making them a "theme" cake for them to add the toy to later. Thanks for the heads up. I headed over to Facebook, and put in a friend request.
post #3 of 180
Thread Starter 
Haha, I just remembered I have some Toy Story cookies posted that I need to take down! I made them for a family member and didn't charge for them- but still... I didn't enjoy doing them- I prefer to do my own designs. I am not even that good at replicating things anyway. ~Rachel
post #4 of 180
Mindy you are so right that person was lucky! I've shared this story before, but my neighbor works for Jim Davis, creator of Garfield. Some guy thought if he drew Garfield in blue, that would be ok. Mr. Davis is very protective of his work and took the guy to court, where a judge ruled that even with a different color, it's STILL Garfield!
post #5 of 180
ya know, I forgot to say, that I'm glad sometimes that we can't do them character cakes that Wilton puts out. They are a lot of work, and people never realize how long it takes to do them. And they never want to pay you for your time, covering them and piping those silly stars.......lol
post #6 of 180
What about purse cakes? So many people ask for LV or Coach purses.
post #7 of 180
Hi Rachel...

I saw that whole conversation on Kerry's facebook page yesterday...and I think its still going on today. There is a local person from my area that chimed in on her facebook page about it but I know that he does designer purse cakes. I don't know how he gets around this. And he's been on the local news and also one of the cake challenges on the Food Network so he's not a low profile person. I wonder if he's getting permission somehow?
post #8 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel5370

. Kerry Vincent is trying to warn people, even small companies, to remove any pictures that could be considered as copyrighted material from their websites. She is also telling people not to make licensed character cakes for sale, it is not worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars it will cost if a person gets sued.!



While this is good advice, the advice should be do not them at all (exception is if you are using a Wilton marked for home use and making a cake for your home use). Infringement is based on the reproduction of the work. If you make it and give it away you are still infringing on the copyright. Profit only matters in terms of the amount of damages a copyright holder can seek.

Even without a profit, a copyright holder can pursue damages based on the production of the copyrighted figure. While it would take a pretty vindictive copyright holder to go after someone who made a character cake for a friend for free, they could still come after you and you would be in violation of copyright law. Thus even the hobby baker must comply with copyright law even if they are just doing them for family and friends.
post #9 of 180
Does this also go for someone like me that does cakes for donations to my charity? I don't make a cent on those cakes, it all goes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I've got a spongebob cake scheduled, will it be OK if I just don't post the pics?
post #10 of 180
This is true, cakeprof. The company can argue that if you had not given away the cake to this person, they might have purchased it from the company. So they are losing sales because you are providing their character for free.
Housework makes you ugly.

It's marshmallow, not marshmellow! Aaargh, I have the strangest pet peeves!
Housework makes you ugly.

It's marshmallow, not marshmellow! Aaargh, I have the strangest pet peeves!
post #11 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNTFundraiser

Does this also go for someone like me that does cakes for donations to my charity? I don't make a cent on those cakes, it all goes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I've got a spongebob cake scheduled, will it be OK if I just don't post the pics?



Yes to the first question and No.

Just to reiterate infringement is not based on profit it is predicated on the unlicensed reproduction of a copyrighted work. I deal with copyright multiple times a year in which I reproduce things to be distributed under the fair use exception. The reproductions are not for profit and yet I must make sure everything included is consistent with the fair use exception, the question of profit is irrelevant. If I include something that violates the fair use exception and reproduce it, I am liable.

As to the second question making it and not posting pics does not make it OK. Sure if you do not post the picture you make it harder for a copyright holder to come after you. Making the cake is the infringement, the picture is just the evidence the holder can use to prove you infringed on their copyright. Given the cause you are donating it for, it is likely going to generate bad publicity for a copyright holder if they come after you for doing the cake. Per the terms of copyright if you reproduce the character you have infringed on the copyright. Thus is it okay? No. Do you have much to worry about? I do not think this should stop you from doing the cake. Just be aware that technically you are at risk.
post #12 of 180
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeprof

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel5370

. Kerry Vincent is trying to warn people, even small companies, to remove any pictures that could be considered as copyrighted material from their websites. She is also telling people not to make licensed character cakes for sale, it is not worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars it will cost if a person gets sued.!



While this is good advice, the advice should be do not them at all (exception is if you are using a Wilton marked for home use and making a cake for your home use). Infringement is based on the reproduction of the work. If you make it and give it away you are still infringing on the copyright. Profit only matters in terms of the amount of damages a copyright holder can seek.

Even without a profit, a copyright holder can pursue damages based on the production of the copyrighted figure. While it would take a pretty vindictive copyright holder to go after someone who made a character cake for a friend for free, they could still come after you and you would be in violation of copyright law. Thus even the hobby baker must comply with copyright law even if they are just doing them for family and friends.



I should be careful not to represent her message incorrectly. She is saying don't do them! Her advice to some peolpe who had been doing them was to stop and take pictures down. Or rather, they said they were going to do so and she was in favor of it. I am just paraphrasing- and I hope iI got it right here!
post #13 of 180
I tell my customers that I can't make them. I suggest we make a cake with the colors and design to go with the characters and have them purchase toys for the characters. Someone asked me about it the other day and I was glad when they told them that other people told them the same thing - won't do it.
post #14 of 180
Cakeprof...any idea how this affects making the designer purce cakes?
post #15 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by cattycornercakes

Cakeprof...any idea how this affects making the designer purce cakes?



The logo for sure is protected as well as specific trademark. However the purse should be fine without any of the trademarks. Think about designer knockoffs. They are legal often copying form, fabric type and basic design.

So long as they do not included the trademarks the knockoffs are legal. Clothing designs cannot be copyrighted---which is why the can be imitated. So long as they do not include trademarks--the knock off cake should be fine.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cake Decorating Business
This thread is locked  
Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Warning about licensed characters and copyrighted material