Originally Posted by ceculsk
So what are anyones thoughts on giving the cake away but charging for the box and packaging like mentioned a few e-mails up.
I am somewhat doubtful that would stand up in a court of law in the somewhat unlikely event that, say, Disney or Warner Brother's legal wolves descended on you. These guys get paid massive bucks to do whatever is necessary to protect the owners of that design from infringements. Let's face it, that character belongs to them, using it to make a profit is stealing. That's how they see it and that's how a court will see it.
Cute tricks like "selling the box" are unlikely to be effective - you know the cake in the box you sold has Bugs Bunny or whatever on it, and that you didn't have permission to use it, the judge will know it too - they're not stupid.
It's probably a lot easier to get away with the NHL and other sports team stuff: if you happen to use a set of colors on your cake along with a generic item like a hockey stick but without the actual team logo, the kids will still assume it's the team colors, it's about hockey and will make the connection.
You're probably less likely to get in trouble if you buy a particular character toy and stick that on the cake - so make an "underwater scene" and plop a Spongebob toy on top. In that case, you've paid someone who, we'll presume, has bought the license to produce the character, you're now passing that purchased toy to the customer. All you did was create the underwater scene. No one has a copyright on that, Spongebob's owners got paid for the toy somewhere along the line, everyone's happy.
Things you don't want to be doing: advertise in any way that you make Spongebob cakes, include pictures of an NHL logo cake in your portfolio (skates, hockey sticks, non-specific designs, go nuts) or any other promotions that you're willing to swipe the creative work of others for a profit.
Now the probability that Disney will come swooping down on Katie's Krazy Kakes and slap a charge of infringement on your little biz is mighty low. But it's not ZERO.
Back in the mid 90's, the internet was chock full of Disney character webpages by people who thought it was harmless to copy Mickey and pals for personal use. Disney saw it as unauthorized use of their goods and legally, they had to do something about it. If they allowed Mickey to show up unlicensed on people's webpages, they were in effect placing their characters into "public domain" and would lose control of it, legally. Since they're not about to let a multi-billion dollar design go for free, they cracked down big time and really got tough on web site owners as well as hosting services with legal threats. As is their right, I'll point out. Today, you are not likely to run into many sites that use Disney characters.
So if the legal department of a big corp like Warners, Disney or the NHL get wind of you using their design, they may just sendd you a strongly worded "cease and desist" letter. OR they may just take you to court and charge you with theft.
Or you could just not swipe their proprietary designs for personal profit and avoid any possible problems. "We're sorry but we simply don't do trademarked character cakes, it's not legal for us to do so" should be an easy and understandable response to anyone who asks for one. Then suggest you'd be happy to create an underwater scene if Mom is willing to go find and buy small Spongebob and Friends toys to stick on it, something about the size of this (hold up sample toy). (Yes, send them out to buy it, you don't have time to go shopping for that yourself, do you?)