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Still confused about Copyrights/Trademarks

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

I'm just not sure to what extent the trademark covers.  Example Minnie Mouse cakes: would a round cake with polka dots only topped with two round "mouse ears" and a bow be a violation of a copyright? Can two round pieces of fondant and a bow be considered a copyright violation of Minnie Mouse? I've been asked to make a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake that looks like the clubhouse. After reading these copyright posts the past few days, I now realize I can't do that as it violates the copyright. But what, if any, elements could be used on the cake to make it legal? Would a red cake with the 2 windows from the clubhouse on it and topped with bought toy toppers be legal or no? What about the Mickey head black silhouette? Legal because it doesn't have a face or no because it's obviously Mickey Mouse? Is there somewhere that would definitively list what is and isn't okay? Sorry for all the questions, just want to do the right thing but I'm confused!

post #2 of 2
My rule of thumb is if you're making a copy of a character and an average person looking at it would say "hey, that's (character name)" then you need permission.

If you are not making a copy of a character and are instead just purchasing a licensed figurine of said character for resale on the cake, permission is not required thanks to the first sale doctrine.

So a red cake that looks like a generic clubhouse with windows and licensed toy toppers would be fine, but making the mouse ears would require permission.
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