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/headdesk... copyright theft

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Just a little bit of a vent really. I won't disclose names, but I am sick of being seen as the "bad guy if I mention IP/copyright theft in comments/posts on baking blogs or facebook.

The way I see it, if you post a picture or are promoting your/someone else's work in either of these social type places, then you are inviting comments and discussion. But when they don't get the normal fawning replies of "omg", "wow" etc and instead get a more in-depth remark, in this case about copyright theft, you get nailed to the wall - and are seen as being jealous, spiteful, etc etc.

I actually said the work itself was amazing, and the artist/baker is very talented, but hoped they had considered the downfalls of ip/copyright theft. The baker themselves is well known in the UK (awards, magazines etc clearly indicating that she's a talented lady) but as a business woman why hasn't she at least considered that this type of illegal activity could actually ruin her?

Is it the nature of the business? Is it because it's edible (art) and won't be around for a long time... the evidence being gobbled up? icon_biggrin.gif Is it because they see all the TV/popular chefs doing it? Who most likely have got permission, but never actually disclose that important bit of information to the masses. -.-

Or is it simply they are just too preoccupied with the benefits and income that come from recreating well known brand characters in cake, and just don't care? Or that they don't think they'll get caught or are oblivious to it... posting countless photos around the internet for anyone to see.

Why is it in their minds they see that internet piracy is wrong yet are so casual when it comes to copyright infringement? /sigh

I guess these are just rhetorical questions as we'll never know why she (or other infringers) do what they do... XD

(This baker in question has also used characters from well known brands such as, Disney, Sanrio, DC and Marvel comics to name a few,, which are all clearly visible on her sites, so it's not her first time)

I admit it may be possible that she does have permission, but if that's the case, wouldn't it be better to inform potential customers/fans of this, instead of going on the defensive?

So what do you all do? Do you just let it slide and no longer comment on photos/work of this nature for fear of the backlash. Or do you try and make people aware (bakery business owners and customers) of the issue?

Side note: I know when I start my business it's going to be tough to not only say no to those popular character cakes but to also explain why I can't do it. But at the end of the day I wouldn't want to put my business at risk, and would much rather create my own art and build my own individual brand.

I suppose this whole post really just boils down to me wishing people were more informed about this sort of stuff... and that they would all stop shooting the messenger!

Thanks for listening all. icon_smile.gif


edit: the other thing about the photos that sparked this whole thing off which I forgot to mention, is that she's even using the actual brand logos/images on her photos, and then also has the nerve to put the copyright symbol © and her business name at the bottom. icon_surprised.gif
post #2 of 50
I'm glad you wrote this thread. I live and operate my cake business in a small island and I am not sure I understand all the posts and comments about using Disney and other characters as cakes legally. Can you explain what is allowed and what are the limitations? I rent Wilton character cake pans all the time. Are my cakes now at risk for copyright or some sort of infringement? Also, if a client brings a photo of another baker's cake and I replicate it, what is the proper procedure for this? Do I write the baker and ask for permission to use their cake image? I have seen many artists on flick posting links to the original cake designer's website to give credit to their work. Hope you can give advice.
post #3 of 50
Thread Starter 
To be completely honest I do not know all the ins and outs of copyright theft (I'm not a lawyer), but I'll try to answer some of your questions, and I'm sure other people on the board will also try to help answer too.

The character cake tins, and toppers and any of that kind of merchandise afaik (someone correct me if I'm wrong) are for personal use only. As a business you are not allowed to use these tins to bake cakes and profit from them. So for example, a mom could buy/rent the character tins to make a birthday cake for her children... but she could not sell that character cake and make money. I'm not sure of the legalities or pitfalls if the character cake was made as a gift though.

The character cakes and such that you see in the big supermarkets are licensed/have permission to make and sell them, since part of the profit is kicked back to the license holder (or the supermarkets pay a fixed sum for the license afaik).

Your second question about replicating someone else's work is something else that I would personally stay far far away from (so I wouldn't be contacting the original creator). Yes the client may want such and such's design but I would much prefer to create something custom for them and would try to steer them in a different direction. Worst case scenario: perhaps something inspired by the design they want but not an exact match.

Being inspired by someone else's work is great and is inevitable in life and art, but I'd want to put my own artistic mark on the work. Seems silly but personally I'd break it down like this - 80-90% my input/design and 10-20% inspiration from other peoples work, whether it be cakes, fashion, or anything else "arty". icon_biggrin.gif And saying that I'd of course link in the original designer on social media sites if my work had been inspired by them.
post #4 of 50
Well this is certainly news to me. How then are cake stores selling character cake pans? The cake stores in my country sell and rent hundreds of character cake pans from Wilton. This is of great concern to me. So then if someone wants a sponge bob cake...what do you do if you can't use a character cake pan? Do you tell them you can't do images or replicas of licensed characters and end it there?
post #5 of 50
You are not alone...I attribute the problem to general lack of awareness about the scope of copyright combined with the current low enforcement level by IP owners.

To answer the question above, if you copy someone else's copyrighted work without their permission you are committing copyright infringement, regardless of whether the copy was sold or not (by itself or as part of another product). There are a few exceptions, such as parody or educational use.

If a Wilton pan is labeled as "home use only", that means Wilton has negotiated a limited license with the IP owner, and if you sell the cake you are still infringing unless you get permission yourself.

When customers ask us to use the likeness of a copyrighted character on the cake, we ask the customer to provide written permission from the copyright owner. The order then typically becomes a different, non-infringing design or a generic cake with a licensed figurine on top (which is not infringing, since you are using the original figurine you bought and not a copy made with BC or fondant).
post #6 of 50
Oh my. Thanks for clearning up. I have done 2 wilton character cakes and never noticed "for home use only". I am now concerned about people bringing photos of cakes they got from online for their wedding cake. We don't even have Cottage Food Laws here. Anyone can start a cake business from home all with just a 2hr tv lecture at the Health office and a Health badge is issued right after. No inspection whatsoever.
post #7 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl645

How then are cake stores selling character cake pans? The cake stores in my country sell and rent hundreds of character cake pans from Wilton.



The cake shops can sell/rent them, that's not an issue, and it's not up to the shop to police people who buy them. But those types of tins are produced for personal use only.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl645

So then if someone wants a sponge bob cake...what do you do if you can't use a character cake pan? Do you tell them you can't do images or replicas of licensed characters and end it there?



Pretty much yeah I say no can do. I personally (even though this is just a hobby for me at the moment, but will be opening my business next year) will not create any cakes that are of licensed characters or items (like the fashion brand cakes). The only exception to this is if I have/get permission to do so - ie if a business has asked me to do their logo, or if I got permission to use a sports team's logo.

Another example of this is Bakerella and her cake pops - the licensed characters she recreates in cakepop form and posts on her blog are ok because she's got the permission - she contributes to Disney's site too iirc.

Hope that helps icon_smile.gif
post #8 of 50
At the end of the day - who really cares? I literally could not care less is some famous baker is making illegal Mickey Mouse cakes. It is not good to hold on top that negative energy. Just do you own thing, and let them do theirs icon_smile.gif You are not the cake police.
post #9 of 50
Well, if you wanted to take me on about my practices or policies, I'd want you to do it in a private communication and NOT in a public forum.

If forced to defend myself in a public forum, I'd get nasty, too.

Everyone should have the option to either address your concerns, or, quite honestly, to ignore your concerns. That's not an option in a public forum--people really are compelled to reply. And many people would feel that if you can't stop them from doing what they're doing, that you're just being a PIA and a troublemaker.

We have a few "police" here on CC.............generally, not very popular for starting off replies to questions like, "How much should I charge for this cake?" with "Well, are you licensed? If not, you shouldn't be charging anything......"

Being a whistleblower is a tough row to hoe. For every 2 people who feel grateful for the information, 98 more are going to be really upset with YOU--and you'll NEVER stop people from feeling that you're just a case of sour grapes, either because you can't do comparable work, or because you won't do comparable work. Hard to win unless it involves someone's personal injury or death.

Rae
I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
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I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
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post #10 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

Well, if you wanted to take me on about my practices or policies, I'd want you to do it in a private communication and NOT in a public forum.

If forced to defend myself in a public forum, I'd get nasty, too.



Yup.

People really don't respond well to finger-wagging, no matter how kindly it is meant.
Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
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Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
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post #11 of 50
In response to Blakes, this is the business forum. If someone posts in the business forum, be prepared for a business related answer.

I cannot imagine where you get your percentages. My inbox has been full for two years with people who actually do care about the legalities of doing business and proper business procedure.

Maybe because this is cake and many go into "business" with no business experience, but the majority of those who are serious about their trade and expect to make a good income legally, do care about the details.

I owned a marketing company for 15 years that catered to the marketing needs of small businesses. I had clients in almost every profession. Not until I got to CC did I see a small faction of members who were insulted and irritated by discussions and posts that were strictly business in the business forum.

So I will have to respectfully disagree that the majority of people in business, cake or any business, want to be in the dark about their profession.

And I will have to respectfully disagree again that the nature of our post are due to bad attitudes or jealousy. The true reason for our responses is because we either looked up the answer or because we have experience, education, or knowledge in the subject.
post #12 of 50
If it wasn't for the advice of others on CC I would never have realised (ignorantly I appreciate) that there were copyright issues; ridiculously assuming that if its going to be eaten surely it doesn't count so I am hugely grateful!
As a result I enjoy being more creative in my designs and when permission does unexpectedly arrive its a great feeling; Mulberry just gave me permission for a one-off replica of a bag, never thought that would come through at all!
post #13 of 50
I know who you are talking about and to be honest I would have sent a private message if I had a problem about it. If the cakes in question weren't so popular, would you have been so annoyed? I mean, maybe she doesn't know or maybe she doesn't care? If you give your advice I think it should just be left at that, no everyone is bothered about copyright characters - its just a fact.

I don't do characters or modelling so it doesn't effect me but on a personal level it doesn't upset me when I see character cakes. Not that my feelings have any bearing on the legalities btw.
"Taste your words before you feed them to people."
www.sugaredsaffron.co.uk
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"Taste your words before you feed them to people."
www.sugaredsaffron.co.uk
www.facebook.com/SugaredSaffron
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post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy-Gray

If it wasn't for the advice of others on CC I would never have realised (ignorantly I appreciate) that there were copyright issues; ridiculously assuming that if its going to be eaten surely it doesn't count so I am hugely grateful!
As a result I enjoy being more creative in my designs and when permission does unexpectedly arrive its a great feeling; Mulberry just gave me permission for a one-off replica of a bag, never thought that would come through at all!


thumbs_up.gif
post #15 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by erin2345

At the end of the day - who really cares?


I do, hence why I posted. This is the industry I will be joining soon, and I care about what goes on in it. I think if I were, for example, a retailer of licensed goods in a brick and mortar store, and the shop down the road from me were selling knock off/fake goods of the same ilk I'd also care about the situation, and I believe other people in the community would too.

And this is what I'm trying to get my head around; why do some people in this industry feel that this type of law breaking is ok, yet another comparable type of law breaking isn't?

Quote:
Originally Posted by erin2345

Just do you own thing, and let them do theirs icon_smile.gif You are not the cake police.

Yup, true I am not the cake police, and I do do my own thing icon_biggrin.gif, but when I see very talented people risking their livelihoods, it makes my mind boggle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

Well, if you wanted to take me on about my practices or policies, I'd want you to do it in a private communication and NOT in a public forum.


Why? If you're operating legally why would any business owner not want to be open and public about how they run their business? Surely if they do that it would actually create a greater selling point and interest. If they've got something to hide and are non-communicative then they will just create suspicion. (A little off topic but a good example of this openness that I recently heard is about Urban Decay (make up). They announced freely to their customers that they will be going into business in China, who may do animal tests on the products. I was grateful for the information, but I no longer will be buying their products due to them allowing even the possibility of animal testing on their products.)

Furthermore, if a business is using public social media to promote and showcase their business then this, in my opinion, clearly indicates that they want feedback about their business, and everything that entails. If they don't they shouldn't be using these sites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

If forced to defend myself in a public forum, I'd get nasty, too.


From purely a business marketing viewpoint, this would create a perfect opportunity to be open about your business practices and to promote yourself in a professional manner, so there would be no benefit to them getting "nasty". Perhaps I have a naive way of thinking icon_smile.gif, but if it were me I'd welcome questions from each end of the spectrum about my business practices... whether they be questions about what ingredients I use or copyright questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

In response to Blakes, this is the business forum. If someone posts in the business forum, be prepared for a business related answer.


Totally agree with this. Another reason why I posted on this board - I am trying to see it all from a business standpoint. Not here to ruffle feathers, or for that matter to ruffle feathers of the business that practice illegally. I wanted to find out how people who are more experienced in this business industry, how they deal with this (taboo) subject.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SugaredSaffron

I know who you are talking about and to be honest I would have sent a private message if I had a problem about it. If the cakes in question weren't so popular, would you have been so annoyed?


I think you missed my point completely. I am not annoyed, jealous or spiteful, I am genuinely curious as to why in this industry copyright/IP theft is seen by the majority as "OK", and as such should be ignored. Yet in other artistic endeavors (music, film, fine art etc) it is fiercely frowned upon.

And yes they are popular, for a very good reason, the baker is very talented, but I am not annoyed at her talent - I have been following her creations for a while now (as well as many other talented bakers/artists) and I am inspired by them; that they can create wonderful edible art. But when they start showcasing items that they have no legal right too and have the audacity to use actual copyrighted graphics on top of all that and profit from it all, I kinda lose respect for them as an artist and a business.

At the end of the day this will be a business for me and the bakers who do this type of work, like it or not, will be my competition. I understand that from a logical standpoint that I shouldn't care, and should do my own thing - which I already said I would be/have been doing - but was curious on how others in the same industry handle these situations. And I thank you all for your replies and input, it has given me a lot to think about. <3
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