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Someone copying one of your original cake designs - how do you feel?

post #1 of 97
Thread Starter 

I had to get this off my chest as I'm seething right now and Id love to know what others think about this.

 

I was recently asked by my sister to do a High School Graduation cake for my niece - of course my sister waited until 2 weeks before the party to ask me to do the cake. Due to scheduling conflicts and being out of town prior to the party, I couldn't do the cake.

 

Now keep in mind that my sister is the MOST insensitive person alive when it comes to my cake business. This is the same woman who said I ripped off my brother-in-law when he asked me to do a cake for her birthday and I charged him $200. It was for a huge custom Purse Cake and Sugar High Heel that fed almost 80 people. That cake sells for over $600 to a typical customer - I charged him for supplies only.

 

So, I'm out of town, can't do the cake but I hear that my sis has hired one of the moms from her cheerleading team to do the Graduation cake. I've heard of this woman (not a professional) and my sis has told me before that her cakes are not well executed...guess she shouldn't have waited until 2 weeks out from the Graduation party....anyways.

 

I show up for the party last night and I see my sis and another woman standing in front of the cake so I head over that way. As I come up, I see the cake and I stop dead. I can't believe what I'm seeing...the woman my sis hired to do the cake OBVIOUSLY copied TWO of my original cake designs and mashed them together to make this monstrosity that's staring me in the face. She copied a Movie Director themed Bat-Mitsvah cake I did for one client and then copied ALL of the elements from the birthday cake I just did for my niece a few months ago.

 

When I say copied, I mean COPIED....right down the the same layouts, colors, elements, styles...everything!! And she did it POORLY which I think pisses me off even more. Do you think she even called me to say, "Hey, do you mind if I use your original designs to make a cake for your niece?"

 

So I say to my sister, 'Wow...this cake looks a bit familiar...matter of fact, it looks like the Bat Mitsvah cake and Taylor's birthday cake all rolled into one....seriously?" and she goes "Yea...Tammy made it".....Tammy is the woman standing right next to her also looking at the cake. So then I point to the top of the cake and I said, "Isn't that the fondant/chocolate paint palette I just did for Taylor's birthday cake a few months ago?" and my sis says,"Nope...Tammy did that one herself"....okay then...she copied my design EXACTLY - same colors, same design and everything. So here I am next to a cake that was designed with my original ideas and hard work....also standing there is the woman who made this monstrosity AND who knows that I designed the ORIGINAL cakes that she copied ------- do you think she even says a fricking word to me? She didn't even acknowledge me. Even better is that my sister didn't even care that her friend had stolen and inappropriately used my original design and ideas. All she cared was that she got a cake for her party.

 

Here's the kicker, the cake looked like crap, tasted even worse and yet everyone at this party is going ohhhh,,that's a cake?? What a great idea that was to do it like that!! Give us your number Tammy, we want you to do a cake for our up coming party, get-together, whatever......  So now she's getting business off of MY designs??? What a crock!!

 

So, how would you feel if this happened to you and how would you deal with it? Am I wrong to expect a phone call from this woman asking for permission to use my designs? I wouldn't care if some Joe Blow used my designs for inspiration but this was done by my sisters friend who knew I'd be at the party and see what she had done. I'm more than a little offended.

"This is the captain. We have a...little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then...explode."

"C'mon....we're talking about cake here, not murder....lol....can we get back to the cake?"
Reply
"This is the captain. We have a...little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then...explode."

"C'mon....we're talking about cake here, not murder....lol....can we get back to the cake?"
Reply
post #2 of 97
I can understand your frustration, and it would have been good manners to ask you before, but I live by the saying "imitation is the greatest form of flattery" so if someone copies my designs I take it a compliment. She is obviously not creative enough to do her own designs and your sister loves your work so much that they couldnt get any other ideas. Im always are secretly rubbing my hands together if the copied design doesnt look as good as mine, so I would probably have walked around with a huge smile all eve LOL
Edited by Cakechick123 - 7/4/13 at 3:46am
post #3 of 97
Woooow!!!! That is harsh! If it was me I definitely would have said something to her,I don't know how you didn't ?! If she steals your design again I definitely would call her up on it.
post #4 of 97

No, I wouldn't care. People are free to copy designs.

post #5 of 97
Thread Starter 

@ mcaulir - their not free to take someone else's design, their original idea and copy it and then make money from something you designed. That's ridiculous. That's like saying a painter can paint a distinctive painting and that another painter can COPY his work exactly and then sell it for profit?? How incredibly wrong would that be??
 

"This is the captain. We have a...little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then...explode."

"C'mon....we're talking about cake here, not murder....lol....can we get back to the cake?"
Reply
"This is the captain. We have a...little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then...explode."

"C'mon....we're talking about cake here, not murder....lol....can we get back to the cake?"
Reply
post #6 of 97

The whole principle of it is totally crappy...

 

but I am sure there were people at the party who've had your cakes before thinking "this lady's cakes stinks in comparison" to yours so I wouldn't worry too much about it.  They know the quality of your artistry and taste...

 

The people ooh-ing and ahh-ing over it probably have never seen one of yours...and that's ok.

 

Don't be the petty one running around saying mean things about her cake.  If asked for your opinion, I'd say "It looks like she put her best foot forward on that."  Not a lie, not mean....you just left out the part that was your own personal critique.  Could be bad for biz if you bad mouth, as I am sure you know.  People will soon forget her cake, especially if they see one of yours!

 

If I had a family member like that, sister or not, I don't know what I would do...but the above poster said it best that imitation IS the best form of flatter.

 

But a quick phone call prior asking if you minded would have been nice!

 

And I really wanna see pictures!!!!! 

Aah, cake. . .the 5th food group!!
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Aah, cake. . .the 5th food group!!
Reply
post #7 of 97

Not sure, but I don’t think you can copyright a cake design.  I wouldn’t be mad about someone copying my design, that’s probably something that happens to a lot of decorators that have websites. I would have been mad at my sister, sounds like she was trying to taunt you by having the woman to copy your design. I have very hateful and jealous mother that criticizes all of my pastry work (although I am practicing a skill, but she has no experience) , so I can relate.  It would have been great if after seeing the cake you would have smiled and told your sister I’m glad you found someone who could do your cake on such short notice.

post #8 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugar_Art_Cakery View Post

@ mcaulir - their not free to take someone else's design, their original idea and copy it and then make money from something you designed. That's ridiculous. That's like saying a painter can paint a distinctive painting and that another painter can COPY his work exactly and then sell it for profit?? How incredibly wrong would that be??
 

As far as I know, cake designs aren't copywrited. They are, in fact, perfectly free to do just that, and it happens all the time. Many decorators have copied cakes exactly for profit.

post #9 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugar_Art_Cakery View Post

@ mcaulir - their not free to take someone else's design, their original idea and copy it and then make money from something you designed. That's ridiculous. That's like saying a painter can paint a distinctive painting and that another painter can COPY his work exactly and then sell it for profit?? How incredibly wrong would that be??
 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir View Post

As far as I know, cake designs aren't copywrited. They are, in fact, perfectly free to do just that, and it happens all the time. Many decorators have copied cakes exactly for profit.


It's almost impossible to trace back who created what design....Cake Central exists so that we can share our designs!  I have found plenty of inspiration here, but tend to make changes according to my style or the customer's wishes so I haven't copied an exact design 100% but elements of a design?  Of course! 

 

So if you don't want anyone copying your designs, you should copyright them!  Not that it would stop anyone from recreating it...but that's another story that's been dragged down and beaten to death!  lol

Aah, cake. . .the 5th food group!!
Reply
Aah, cake. . .the 5th food group!!
Reply
post #10 of 97

Seriously...can't people come up with their own ideas?  I would let it go.  It's a compliment to be copied, and since you weren't able to do her cake she was free to get a "copied" design.  You had the original idea and they both know this.  My next door neighbor copied the floral design of my sister's wedding, my mother was upset but she was also finding it comical....

post #11 of 97

Of course you can be pissed. Your sister sounds like a lovely person that I would never again make a cake for if I was you.

 

As far as your original idea / design / inspiration. No one will ever call you or ask your permission. And they don't have to. Even if you put a lot of time creating this in your mind then in cake, what you made is not unique and so special no one before you ever considered it or made anything even remotely similar ( and also then copyrighted all of it ). Same goes for colors. Anyone anywhere can take your cake, part of your cake, the colors, the layout, the inspiration or whatever else they may see fit. Round is round, square is square, blue is blue. No one owns those things.

 

The only thing they can't do is take your exact picture and use it elsewhere if you don't want because that's Intellectual Property. If you do a forum search you will find a lot of information on the subject.

 

You're more then allowed to be pissed at the lack of imagination of your sister's friend, but for all you know your sister showed her the cake pictures and asked for something similar.

post #12 of 97
Thread Starter 

As I said before, I have absolutely NO problem with someone using my cakes for inspiration....by all means, please do! When you get inspiration from someones cake though, you take that general idea, build upon it and make it your own.

 

What ticks me off is that this woman copied TWO of my cakes verbatim and rolled them into one without even asking me if I minded. She didn't use my cakes as inspiration, she COPIED them..Element for element, color for color and style for style. I'm pissed that she used my work, passed it off as her own and made money from it. In addition, she did it knowing full well I would be at that party and THEN didn't even say anything to me as I stood in front of that cake with her right next to me.

 

Wouldn't it offend some of you, even a little bit, if you rolled up to see your work exactly copied and someone else getting paid for it?

 

Inspiration is one thing....wholesale copying and stealing one's idea is another

 

I hear all of you saying that the copying of cakes happens all the time and you can't copyright a cake but here's something to think about......

 

Comedians can't copyright a joke but if you steal another comedians joke and pass it off as your own.....your in a world of sh*t and everyone knows that you suck.

 

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should do it or that it's right to do it.....

"This is the captain. We have a...little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then...explode."

"C'mon....we're talking about cake here, not murder....lol....can we get back to the cake?"
Reply
"This is the captain. We have a...little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then...explode."

"C'mon....we're talking about cake here, not murder....lol....can we get back to the cake?"
Reply
post #13 of 97

I think if it upset you so badly you should have asked her what was up with it, when she was standing right beside you. I can understand why/how you're upset..but I would have nipped it in the bud right there and asked her why she did it, if I was so upset about it. Otherwise, you'd just stew about it and get more upset later on. jmo.

post #14 of 97
Thread Starter 

I didn't do something about it right then for 2 reasons....

 

1.) It was my niece's graduation party and it probably would have started a scene.....my sister would have gotten involved and her throwing punches is not an unknown thing...lol  There is no love lost between her and I...I was there for my niece.

 

2.) I'm a 6' tall 250lb retired Cop and she's all of 5'2 and I was PISSED....it was better that I walked away

.

"This is the captain. We have a...little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then...explode."

"C'mon....we're talking about cake here, not murder....lol....can we get back to the cake?"
Reply
"This is the captain. We have a...little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then...explode."

"C'mon....we're talking about cake here, not murder....lol....can we get back to the cake?"
Reply
post #15 of 97
I don't think hardly anyone usually finds themselves standing right next to someone who has copied their design and passed it off as their own, it's just so unlikely for most of us.

I would have been annoyed that she was taking credit for the design, especially with you there to hear it, but you have to let the fact that she didn't call to ask permission go, pretty much nobody does that and besides, she probably thought that since the client is your sister, she had already asked.

If anything you should be more mad at your sister for putting you in this situation to start with, by leaving it too late (although she could have thought that you knew it was coming up and should have planned anyway) and then doing what she did. If I were you I wouldn't worry about losing any of her friends as customers, they're probably all as inconsiderate as she is.
elsewhere.
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elsewhere.
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