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I just need a moment to vent

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I need to vent here where you all know what I'm talking about before I do it elsewhere and regret it...

The copyright issue of characters - ugh

Another cake request for a Spongebob shaped cake and matching smash cake. I explain specifically due to copyright laws that it is illegal to do so, but can theme the cake etc and get a licensed topper.
Apparently she doesn't like this idea, since she just posted on a local Facebook page asking for other businesses to do this for her. And guess what? She's already got 3 responses. All operating under the Cottage Food Law (I am too), though I'm not sure how legally since at least one also sells illegal items that require refrigeration.

icon_mad.gif

Ok. I'm done. Thanks for listening. tapedshut.gif
Wilton graduate and proud cake business owner under FL Cottage Food Law. More cake photos here: www.FROSTEDChicCakes.com
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Wilton graduate and proud cake business owner under FL Cottage Food Law. More cake photos here: www.FROSTEDChicCakes.com
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post #2 of 16
I just had a request for a spongebob cake too, it was a 3 tiered cake with the center tier being a yellow square cake with Spongebob's face on it...I told her I could make the middle tier look like a sponge with the circles and stuff, but no face...she chose a different cake with licensed characters and general 'under the sea' stuff and a pineapple made of rkt for the topper. Stick to your guns!!! I have to turn down people all the time (while watching other businesses do the licensed characters without a care in the world)...people that want your cake, will compromise! The people who are dead set on the licensed character cakes, will either get it somewhere else, or make it themselves. I am not willing to do something I know to be illegal...and at the end of the day, I am the one that has to live with myself and my conscience!
God's Word will either keep you from sin;
or sin will keep you from God's Word.
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God's Word will either keep you from sin;
or sin will keep you from God's Word.
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post #3 of 16
Yeahh, I know what you mean. What I also noticed is that sometimes it depends on the character. Sometimes I get the request for some Disney ones, I do the spill and customer admits that's what everyone else already told her. The other time it's something different, like Thomas or Spongebob, and customer wigges out because 'well so and so they told her they'll do it no problem' and a lot of times, it's the same "someone" who refused to do Disney cake. Mindboggling!!! I wish them luck!!!!
P : )
post #4 of 16
You need to explain to the customer that they are personally liable for the violation as well as the baker.

I tell my customers that they may pay $xxx today, but two years later they may get a notice that they are being sued for $2000.00.

So I ask them if they really want a cake for $2200.00. The answer is always no if they look at the possibilities of being charged. Now they think twice before they go to another baker. You can check out my site under licensed character cakes. It is where I explain the law to clients. I am serious that 100% have changed their minds when faced with the possibility of prosecution. They just don't realize their liability. They think it will be on the baker and they certainly don't care if the baker gets caught.

It's sad that so many people have such disregard for the law and especially property that does not belong to them.

But look at it this way. In the cake business, all of those operating illegally and doing the protected character cakes are limited. They have paper and internet trails that will later show up and cause IRS and local tax problems, and those photos will one day get a notice. My guess is that the copyright/trademark issue will soon be an automated charge.

I feel sorry for people like you who are the most damaged. You can turn them in to the local HD, local state tax office, business licensing office, and the IRS local field office. This is unpopular on CC because so conduct business illegally, but it is your perogative as a business owner and a taxpayer. You can do it anonymously. Think about your business as business, not personal or emotional, and make the decision that is right for your business.

The other point to remember is that your integrity and moral code have prompted you to do the right thing. It is this valuable trait that your children, family, and peers will see in you. And remember, there are so many people who conduct their business in accordance with the law. You are not alone in your frustration.
post #5 of 16
This week a customer wanted a character themed cake. I explained that is was against copyright laws but I would be happy to make a cake in keeping with the them, she would then be welcome to add purchased characters on or around the cake herself. She quickly agreed to a princess themed cake rather than a specific character, so I didn't really get into explaining the risk of fines on her part. We spent about 20 minutes discussing design options and she seemed happy with her final choice.

I sent her an invoice for the deposit, she then contacted me saying that her husband found someone who would do the character, but she would keep me in mind for future events.

I'm not too worried about losing the order but now am wondering if she even understands she is taking a risk herself.
post #6 of 16
Now that I have read about it in the forums I realize the ramifications of doing liscensed character cakes. BUT.....Why is CC showing toots on how to do Star Wars and Lord of the Rings cakes? Are those not copyright violations?

"Making your special day, a whole lot sweeter!"

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"Making your special day, a whole lot sweeter!"

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post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kisamarie

Now that I have read about it in the forums I realize the ramifications of doing liscensed character cakes. BUT.....Why is CC showing toots on how to do Star Wars and Lord of the Rings cakes? Are those not copyright violations?



I think you can make them, just don't sell them, or advertise them for sale, or show them all over your Facebook pages.
post #8 of 16
Ok, I see. I guess they are toots for hobby bakers. thumbs_up.gif

"Making your special day, a whole lot sweeter!"

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"Making your special day, a whole lot sweeter!"

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post #9 of 16
I only bake for my family, but my understanding was that it was ok to make character cakes for yourself, you just cannot profit off of them. Am I right? So, could I make a licensed cake to give away to charity?
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kisamarie

Ok, I see. I guess they are toots for hobby bakers. thumbs_up.gif



Even Disney encourages people to make some of their characters, but for family.

http://family.go.com/food/recipe-bakerella-938009-mrs-potts-cake-pops-t/
post #11 of 16
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kisamarie

Now that I have read about it in the forums I realize the ramifications of doing liscensed character cakes. BUT.....Why is CC showing toots on how to do Star Wars and Lord of the Rings cakes? Are those not copyright violations?


Unless CC has obtained permission from the copyright owners these tutorials are probably copyright violations.

In the examples above Disney owns the copyrights to the characters used in the tutorials, which are provided by a third party (bakerella.com). Since Disney is hosting the tutorials themselves it is likely that bakerella.com worked out a licensing deal with Disney that also allows the tutorials to be followed to create items for personal use.
post #13 of 16
CC is does not have tutorials for making these cakes.

http://cakecentral.com/blog/star-wars-cakes-force
post #14 of 16
The pictures themselves are evidence of copyright violations by individual CC members (unless they got permission), but CC indemnifies itself against copyright issues (and says it will cooperate with law enforcement to help find your identity) in its terms of use. However, seeing as these pictures are specifically highlighted by CC in this case it might be more difficult for them to defend their common carrier status.

http://www.cakecentral.com/terms-conditions
post #15 of 16
I don't see how it could be automatic. All my cakes are for family. I am a hobby baker, I will get into selling once I do everything for the cottage law, but not ready for that yet. I really need to look at the copywrite laws though, I know if I buy a character cake pan from Wilton it is for home use only, but I suppose they have already paid for the copyright under those conditions.
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