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Help,COPYRIGHT!! What to do when contacted by major company?  

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
Soooooo, I was contacted by a major company about a cake that I did about 4 years ago. At first, I thought it was some type of scam, but I looked up the names and company where the email came from and it's legit.

They want me to sign some paper saying that I won't use their "logo" anymore, which, I haven't used since that one time!! Do I go ahead and sign or should I speak with a lawyer first?

I am just floored by this because I'm a SUPER small business and I work from my home, just shocked they my small business would be "outed" or that they would even notice the picture.

Edited to add, I am now removing other pictures as well!!
I dream about cakes and stilettos!!
I dream about cakes and stilettos!!
post #2 of 68
Wow. 4 years after the fact? I think personally I would do a little more research. Just because an email purports to come from someone doesn't always means it's legitimate. Something just seems "off."
The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
Mohandas Gandhi

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The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
Mohandas Gandhi

No one can do everything but everyone can do something. Please help.
http://austin2011.livestrong.org/mike_tres
post #3 of 68
my opinion...DON'T sign anything until you have consulted with an attorney! Take the email and form and have it looked at by a legal professional.
post #4 of 68
If all the paper says is that you agree not to use their logo without their permission, I would go ahead and sign it, but if there's anything else in the paper that you don't understand you may want to have an attorney look at it.

There are businesses that specialize in protecting intellectual property, it's very easy to do a quick search for something like "Buzz Lightyear cake" on Google Images and follow the links to find out who made them. Consider yourself lucky that they didn't ask you to pay anything, other people on CC have had to pay settlements for infringing cakes to avoid a legal battle.
post #5 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

If all the paper says is that you agree not to use their logo without their permission, I would go ahead and sign it, but if there's anything else in the paper that you don't understand you may want to have an attorney look at it.

There are businesses that specialize in protecting intellectual property, it's very easy to do a quick search for something like "Buzz Lightyear cake" on Google Images and follow the links to find out who made them. Consider yourself lucky that they didn't ask you to pay anything, other people on CC have had to pay settlements for infringing cakes to avoid a legal battle.



Ditto what Jason says. I was also contacted by a major company General Counsel that held copyrights to 3 different companies/logos that I used for cakes. Thank goodness all three of the cakes were done for "free" without monetary gain, but they still insisted that I remove the images from my website, etc., and I even had "not for resale" on the images so folks knew I wouldn't resell them. They didn't care. I answered their questions promptly and honestly, and they responded that they were satisfied with my swift answers and quick reply, and I never heard another thing from them. I was never asked to sign anything, though. And they can fine you for each infringement/occurrence...scary stuff!
post #6 of 68
Thread Starter 
@jason_kraft:

I'm just amazed at this particular company because, well, the cake was made for someone who ADORES this particular brand and that's why it was made, plus, this company is HUGE and I would just pass out if they tried to sue me considering they make millions (probably billions) off of consumers every year.

but, I know that doesn't matter, just in shock about it. icon_sad.gif
I dream about cakes and stilettos!!
I dream about cakes and stilettos!!
post #7 of 68
Even if you are able to get permission to use a company's trademark a lot of them will still say that you can not post them on your website.
Matt
Matt
post #8 of 68
I was contacted by Jack Daniels a few months ago regarding the "Old Fart" cake back from 2007 in my gallery. It was a nice letter - as nice as those things can be, anyway - but they were very clear that they must protect their copyright. My lawyer advised me to remove the photo from my web site, which I did. Jack Daniels did not ask me to sign anything.

It's just not worth fighting over, even though my lawyer and I both felt that the cake in question was clearly a parody. My lawyer advised me that I was lucky they were not demanding monetary damages. She also advised that there are software programs that these companies use to scour the internet for their copyrighted images. It's not a matter of having low-level interns doing it manually any more. Intellectual property theft is rampant on the internet, and these companies have found a way to try to keep up with it.
post #9 of 68
Thread Starter 
As soon as I read the email, I IMMEDIATELY removed any images that I had online!!

Don't want any issues with them, as I said before, just needed to know what to do and really in shock by it.

(I will need "retail therapy" after this one or a really good martini, LOL)
I dream about cakes and stilettos!!
I dream about cakes and stilettos!!
post #10 of 68
Companies must be able to show that they have taken efforts to protect and enforce their trademarks. Otherwise, the trademark becomes weak in the eyes of the law and may be copied or infringed leaving the original owner without a remedy. It doesn't matter how long ago you used it or whether you took payment for it, they have to enforce it or they can lose it. You should take down the disputed items from your website and agree not to use the logo again....
post #11 of 68
I would be VERY reluctant to sign anything. Ask yourself first and them, what would happen if you didn't sign it. Unless they threaten to take you to court over the original cake then I don't think they can really MAKE you sign anything.

What does your signing something promising not to make another cake do for them anyway? If you did make another cake (which I know you would not even think of doing at this point), then they could take you to court signed paper or not. Signing a promise not to do it again doesn't seem like it has much legal value IMHO.
post #12 of 68
ok ... So all you cakers out there who have used some form of super hero, hello kitty , or toy story or the countless many others, all have copyrights to use them and post them on either your web site or This CC ?
Just asking cause I haven't a clue and surely wouldn't want to get into any hot water. I'm just a hobby baker for family.
post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathysCC

What does your signing something promising not to make another cake do for them anyway?


That's why I recommended signing the document if that's all it says...it wouldn't cost OP anything (since it basically says "I agree not to break the law"), and if that's all they want this will all go away for free.

I have a feeling there is a little more to the document though, in which case an attorney should have a look at it.
post #14 of 68
Thread Starter 
I haven't signed anything, to scared to make a move, LOL!! However, I am having a lawyer look over it and I'm just waiting for their response.

I guess I should only do cakes where I actually buy the characters and place them on the cake.
I dream about cakes and stilettos!!
I dream about cakes and stilettos!!
post #15 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathysCC

What does your signing something promising not to make another cake do for them anyway?


That's why I recommended signing the document if that's all it says...it wouldn't cost OP anything (since it basically says "I agree not to break the law"), and if that's all they want this will all go away for free.

I have a feeling there is a little more to the document though, in which case an attorney should have a look at it.



Yes, there's a lot of "lawyer terminology" in the letter, so, before I make a move, I'm having someone look at it first.
I dream about cakes and stilettos!!
I dream about cakes and stilettos!!
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