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Customers who bring photos of other designer cakes

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have been getting tonnes of emails with wedding cake photos that wedding planners and brides have pulled off the net that they want re-produced. How do you handle this legally? They say they want this same look with the same colours, style and pattern. In most cases the only change they ask for is the type of flowers on the cake. To what extent do you suggest changes be made to photos brought or emailed to you? Do you say I can do this for you but in different colours, different sugar flowers, etc? I have come to learn about copyright laws against using someone else's cake photos and copying it since posts went up about it here. What advice do you have? Most ppl are unwilling to change much with the photos except the type of flowers.
post #2 of 22
If they absolutely won't budge on any of the design, I will do it but credit the original artist in any photos I put on Facebook or my web. Unless there is a big fat copyright logo on the picture, in which case I don't go there. But most cakes aren't usually copyrighted (I think?)
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks.Do you all write to the bakery and ask for permission to use their cake as a design or even inspiration or giving credit is enough? I just want to make sure I have this clearly understood before I go promising ppl to do work for them based on a photo they have emailed me. I know about giving credit but wasn't sure if I had to write the bakery or decorator and ask for written permission Any more advice would be great..
post #4 of 22
I tell them I can make the cake but it will NOT look exactly like the picture. I can get it close but it won't be an exact replica. I have a section in my contract about this as well.

If it's a cake from a very famous decorator (someone once wanted a replica of a Ron Ben Isreal cake) I let them know what the price tag would be if they went to the original designer. Really puts my pricing in perspective for them icon_wink.gif
Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
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Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
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post #5 of 22
I don't get requests like that too often and most times the photo is taken from anywhere on the internet and sometimes you can't even find out who made it. I did one once based on a Maggie Austin design but I didn't write to her to ask permission. I just credited her original design on my FB. It was a cake with thin fondant ruffles all around it and to be honest there were lots of designs similar to it in Google images, not all made by her.
post #6 of 22
Unless someone has done something so totally original and never seen before ( and not only on a cake) you can't claim that it's copyrightable. And have it hold up in court, that is. I've seen plenty of people claim that their cake design is copyrighted, but they've used commonly-found designs that have been used many times before, so they're full of it. It's tricky, but unless you come up with something that's never been seen before its going to be hard to claim its original.

Here's a little blog article I wrote about this after I got tired of people bickering about it and I asked a few attorneys... http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2011/12/can-you-copyright-cake.html

If you use someone else's photos that's a copyright violation because the picture itself, not the subject of the picture, is their property. Its not the same as doing a cake based on another bakers cake.

If I do a cake based on someone else's cake (and it happens all the time, brides bring photos in and want this or that cake) I try to give credit to the original person who made it if I can figure out who that it. Inevitably, though, the person who did the one in the picture the bride gives me took the idea from somewhere else, so who do you then attribute it to? I just say "based on a design by so and so" to give credit.

I actually have two cakes this week that are based on designs brides ripped out of magazines, so that's what I was planning on doing if I can find out who did the originals.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Here's a little blog article I wrote about this after I got tired of people bickering about it and I asked a few attorneys... http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2011/12/can-you-copyright-cake.html



WHEW! Good thing I read your blog post!!! I was gonna use a yellow circle for something, but now I'll have to change my design.

(heh heh heh..... icon_lol.gif )
post #8 of 22
Costumeczar, I love the link you posted, also love your blogsite, it is now in my favorites. Thanks for sharing.
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Simply Cakes! Where life's simplest pleasures are made to be eaten-
every day!
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post #9 of 22
Ah interesting post and something I've been wondering myself, I understood the copywriting of characters etc but I'm always looking through cake pictures and then getting inspired by what people come up with, and I was starting to wonder where the boundaries were. No idea seems completely original like in the blog article, ruffles, cascading flowers etc its all been done a million times in each way so how do you avoid 'copying' someone??

I don't have time to trawl through google everything I design a cake on the off chance I've inadvertently come up with something someone else has done previously. It's such a mine field but glad to know it's not enforceable on the generic stuff. If I do have a direct influence I'll just mention the originator as suggested.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Here's a little blog article I wrote about this after I got tired of people bickering about it and I asked a few attorneys... http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2011/12/can-you-copyright-cake.html



WHEW! Good thing I read your blog post!!! I was gonna use a yellow circle for something, but now I'll have to change my design.

(heh heh heh..... icon_lol.gif )



You can send me the royalties anytime...I've also copyrighted the shape of a cake, so any time you make a round cake you're violating my copyright unless you pay me icon_twisted.gif
post #11 of 22
Kara you crack me up I'm going to stalk you all over the net just to see what you say next lol! I wouldn't willingly replicate any other cake. That would take all of the fun out of it for me. Lol.
post #12 of 22
Well let's think for a minute. Wilton Industries published the following advice in all the yearbooks they published in the 1970's: make a catalog of designs from sources including magazines for your customers to choose cakes from.

In the days of the internet, they posted all patterns for all books going back to 1977. Now that means that they give their consent for their designs to be reproduced including exactly. And as they did mention commercial operations, that means wedding cakes.

Martha Stewart has similarly posted full instructions including patterns on her website. And her wedding cakes book has detailed instructions.

I have used the Wilton yearbooks to help people to choose designs and they always asked for a combination of details from 2-4 cakes. Not exactly copyright-violation territory...

FYI The difference between wedding cakes and character pans is that the characters have been copyrighted and the pans are produced for home use under license.
post #13 of 22
But they can say that they did that so that you can reproduce them for your own use, not to sell. That's the catch in printing patterns. It still doesn't mean it's an enforceable thing if it's a commonly seen pattern or design element, but they can try to do that.

Someone said that they'd taken a class with a famous cake person (who I won't name because it would make him look like an idiot) who was saying that he would love to see someone copy one of his cakes so that he could sue them for copyright infringement. Considering his cakes consist mostly of floral designs that are in no way original to him, that's a load of self-important crap IMO.

"I am sooo fancy! My flowers are copyrighted! Woo hoo, go me!" yeah yeah, get over yourself.

@Bliss Pastry, go ahead and stalk away, hahahahah! I just did an interview with the newspaper and she said that I was "very quotable" which makes me nervous about what she'll print. Although I told my friends that I don't really care because everything I said was true.

icon_twisted.gificon_twisted.gif
post #14 of 22
You are very quotable. But more important you make me laugh. I really don't think any cakes can easily be copyrighted. To me though it's just a principle... I like to be the designer. That's part of the package. If they don't want this package then go find a different one. If I depended on cakes to pay my bills though I might have a different attitude about it.
post #15 of 22
Personally I don't think there is a design that hasn't been made by someone else, somewhere else, for dozens of customers so I really can not see how anyone can claim copyright for a cake design. If customers bring me a photograph I tell them I will take on board the idea but the cake they get will be different as like most cakers, I like to use my own creativity. If the customer doesn't like that idea (which is rare) then they can feel free to go elsewhere - not particularly bothered either way.
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Live each day as if it's your last because one day you'll be right!
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