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Using Other People's Designs

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Here's a question I bet most people here have had to deal with, but it's fairly new for me so I'd love some experienced insights.

A CC friend has pointed out to me a decorated cookie business whose web site clearly shows designs that are mine. Almost laughably, the typeface this site uses is exactly the same unusual font I use!

It's not possible to not show one's wares, so "hiding" one's designs is nonsensical -- this is how I get orders. I am inspired by all kinds of things I see, including pictures in magazines and online, but these are always just jumping-off places for me. I am simply not interested in copying other people's designs. I think stealing someone's designs is unethical but probably not preventable.

My question is: is there anything to be gained by contacting this decorator? Has anyone ever sent an "Hey -- what are you doing?" email, or gone as far as to ask/insist that the party cut it out?

Thanks for any and all comments/advice.

Nancy
Nancy's Fancy Cookies & Cakes
post #2 of 56
Gosh, I don't know what the answer is, but I can't believe the nerve of this person.
I think you should contact the "thief," I would love to know how they respond.

ps-you make the most gorgeous cookies I have ever seen!
post #3 of 56
I would be tempted to email the person. It's infuriating, IMHO.
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post #4 of 56
Like the cookie in your avatar? Yeah that is clearly your trademark and very particular and shouldn't be sold by another business.
post #5 of 56
Have you ever thought of water marking your photos to protect them? It would be harder to have someone hijack them. Sorry I don't have any ideas about what has already happened though.
Aunte Mame
"Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death."
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Aunte Mame
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post #6 of 56
Unfortunately, without a registered trademark, all of our designs are vulnerable to replication. The only that you can fight is someone using one of your photos and passing it off as one's own.
I can understand your frustration. Your work is gorgeous and so detailed, it must take hours and more patience than I can ever hope to possess!
On that note though, I'm sure none of us intentionally 'steal' other people designs. We're just so insipred by thier creativity, that we want to capture it ourselves. Seriously, how many of us have made whimsy cakes with Polly Schoonmakers permission? Even though she's registered the term, it only protects her from having other professionals market cakes as "Whimsy"
All I can say is keep doing what you do. Any copied version will be totally pale in comparision and any consumer with half a brain will be able to tell your product from an imposter icon_wink.gif
post #7 of 56
It's the risk everyone takes when they put any text or images on to the web. Unless they are actually using your images, not using your cookie designs to inspire them when making their own, I don't think there is much that can be done.

It IS infuriating, I agree. I have admired your incredibly detailed & unique cookies and anyone doing something like them has probably seen them on your site or somewhere online...I mean really, the likelihood of anyone doing those exact designs is pretty "one-in-a-million", right? icon_confused.gif

I agree with the watermarking. It not only prevents people from passing your photos off as their own...but even hinders them from showing the images to other potential clients for orders.

If you have to get it off your chest and let them know how you feel, I'd do it pretty gently, like:

"I had a client come across your website recently and they pointed out how similar our work was. I have to agree! I am flattered that you find such inspiration in my work, but I do ask that you not imitate my designs this closely. Your work is well done and creative and I certainly look forward to seeing some of your own work on your website soon."
post #8 of 56
Antonia,
I think approach you propose is very well worded. Nancy,
I think that if someone uses anothers work as inspiration (as many of us do w/ credit being given of course) it is flattering but not an exact duplicate. If is an exact duplicate you have every right to approach that person and express your concern. Your designs are so very original and unique that it would be (1) very difficult to duplicate and (2) easily recognizable if they were. If these are the same then someone went through great pains to study your designs and in essence take your designs on as their own. I would contact them in my opinion.

I hope all goes well, once again your designs are quite remarkable.
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~Val~
And yes.... I am shaped like <--- that M&M... cute huh?
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~Val~
And yes.... I am shaped like <--- that M&M... cute huh?
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post #9 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by NancysFancy

Here's a question I bet most people here have had to deal with, but it's fairly new for me so I'd love some experienced insights.

A CC friend has pointed out to me a decorated cookie business whose web site clearly shows designs that are mine. Almost laughably, the typeface this site uses is exactly the same unusual font I use!

It's not possible to not show one's wares, so "hiding" one's designs is nonsensical -- this is how I get orders. I am inspired by all kinds of things I see, including pictures in magazines and online, but these are always just jumping-off places for me. I am simply not interested in copying other people's designs. I think stealing someone's designs is unethical but probably not preventable.

My question is: is there anything to be gained by contacting this decorator? Has anyone ever sent an "Hey -- what are you doing?" email, or gone as far as to ask/insist that the party cut it out?

Thanks for any and all comments/advice.

Nancy
Nancy's Fancy Cookies & Cakes



if they are your cookies, by all means they are breaking a copywrite law or two! I would email and let them know that you are aware of the imitation, but nicely like Antonia74 posted.

I too like the CURLS font and I use it a lot..lol ..so fun.

But, your cookies are a work of art and I wouldn't be too happy with someone putting them on their web site without your permission.
post #10 of 56
NancysFancy........I'm amazed by your cookies.......I noticed you make your own cutters......I make my own too......where did you get your rivetting gun???? I'm assuming that's what you're using to hold the ends together.........right now I just use an adhesive and it works well enough......but I'd love to have them rivetted!
God's Word will either keep you from sin;
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God's Word will either keep you from sin;
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post #11 of 56
I have to say that I am guilty of "copying" other people's designs but I do try to give credit to the person that it belongs to. I guess I am so inspired by those who have such creative minds and I want to "try" it too. I personally am always flattered if someone copies what I have done but then I do not have a store front and I'm still very small doing cakes and cookies for family, friends, and refferrals. You have wonderful cookies and it would be hard to do as good a job as you do.
Jacqui
post #12 of 56
I agree that doing this is wrong but at the same time someone was inspired by your creations. i know that i am guilty of at times making pictures of other creators work but under no circumtances i would say i done this cake i would always tell customers i saw the design on this person website and i could do this type of cake or at times they have come to me with pictues of other peoples cake for me to do. Its all how you look at things.

Good luck
Michelle icon_biggrin.gif
If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way. James F. Clake

IF YOU DON'T LIKE MY CAKES, WELL GET A FROZEN ONE.
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If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way. James F. Clake

IF YOU DON'T LIKE MY CAKES, WELL GET A FROZEN ONE.
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post #13 of 56
It's one thing to be inspired by others, like we all are, it's another to copy your very detailed unique designs. I've never seen cookies that look like yours. Your style stands alone.
post #14 of 56
This is why I have 2 books for brides to look at. One book is photos of cakes I have actually done. The 2nd book is photos of cakes that have been brought in to me by brides; photos from the Wilton books; photos downloaded from the internet. The 2nd book is to give ideas. When it's downloaded from the internet, I always print the internet address on the page with the pic so I know where it came from.

But I keep 2 separate books so there is no confusion over "this is my work" vs. "this is other people's work".
post #15 of 56
I agree with what antonia74 said....but ultimately, they haven't broken any laws and you can't prevent them from copying your designs.

Some people actually promote the fact that they can replicate a cake for you.

This from carriescakes.com:

Q. Can you copy a picture from a magazine?
A. We do it all the time!! Many people like our reproductions better than the original we are copying. We love to see new ideas.



And this from thebigday.com:

Can you copy a design from a magazine?

Yes, I do it often. Many brides come to me with a design they have their hearts set on. A talented Cake Designer should be able to construct a wedding cake from a single photo, or from a combination of photos. I would have to say that 60% of the cakes I create are copies of photos brought to me by brides.


This from maisiefantaisie.co.uk:

Ive seen a wedding cake in an American magazine. But I cant find it in the UK. Can you make it for me?

If you can provide us with a photograph of the wedding cake I would be happy to recreate it for you. Some brides do come to me with a design that they have fallen in love with. All the wedding cakes on the website are bespoke but we are equally able to recreate a copy.
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