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Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

-1
asked September 20th 2012

copyright issues

Hi,

Just wondered what people’s thoughts were on the issue of copyrights on cakes? It would seem you are alright as long as you don’t try to sell your cakes, but if you do sell your cakes you are not allowed to copy cakes that have been printed in magazines and books or use, for example, Disney characters unless you have a licence to do so.

I have a cake business and half my trade of children’s birthday cakes would vanish if I didn’t offer cakes that represented children’s favourite cartoon characters etc. Is there a way around this problem or is it just a case of take a chance if you dare? It would seem prosecutions have been successfully made against cake makers. Even if you don’t show the cakes on your own website, apparently they often still turn up on the web via your customer placing photos on social networking sites – and this is one of the ways you get nabbed!

Paul shows us how to make a Merina character in one of the on line videos, I’m just wondering therefore if there is a way around it all?

Thanks!

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Hi loobianca,

In one of Paul’s videos he mentions that he had made one or two minor changes to the character he was making so as not to infringe copyright. You would have to check it out. As far as I know if it is not an exact copy then they can’t get you. Try an internet search on the finer points of UK copyright law. Business link have a good section on that from what I can remember. Let us know how you get on.

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Copyright is a bit of a problem for cake designers. The costs that would be required to obtain a license to legally replicated the copyright pattern or design would be way outside the reach of anyone apart from the large supermarkets.
If you replicate a design or appear to replicate a design you could end up in court with the onus on the offended party to prove that you have infringed their copyright. If you write ‘Prada’ or ‘Disney’ on a cake then it could easily be proven that you were using their brand to market your product.
However, you only have to google images of cakes on any brand to see the thousands that have been created so the brand police have a bit of a job on their hands and you would be very unlucky to be caught.
We received a letter from Louis Vuitton’s lawyers for a suitcase cake we had made, but as long as we refrained from making it in future and removed all images from the website then they let the matter drop. Their copyright surrounded use of the LV pattern so we changed it to LW – it looked similar, but different enough to get away with it.
In summary, my advice would be just to try your luck and apologies if you get caught!

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Hi loobianca

Have a look at www.decopac.com. They have lots of licensed character images for children’s cakes.

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Thanks everyone, I will take all your suggestions on board . . . . and David, if I get caught I know where you live (well, I know where you work) . . . . lol!