Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Copyright, Copywrong

Oh, bother.

I went to ICES last week, and I learned a LOT. I took classes from master sugar artists (that's really a thing) and I got to meet some of my cake idols.

But I also learned some things that aren't as fun. At the shop owners' breakfast, there was an informational session about copyrights and cake decorating. Here's the skinny:

I will NOT put any copyrighted characters on cakes. (anymore)

Apparently, the people who own copyrights have taken a new tactic in catching cake decorators who put their images on a cake: They'll call a shop or home decorator, pretending to be a customer. They'll order a cake with a copyrighted character on it. Then, at pick-up, the decorator gets hit with a copyright infringement fine.

I'll give you fifty thousand reasons I don't want to pay that fine. Fifty. Thousand. Per cake.
Either I don't make copyrighted cakes, or I REALLY have to raise my prices.

In the before times, I would draw pictures on cakes in icing, no problem. It was a skill that I needed to learn, and I appreciated the chances to practice it. And anyway, the cakes I did like that were for family and friends, not for business.

However, now I'm a shop owner. I'm trying to do my business right, and I have much more to lose.

Thus, we are at something of an impasse. I'd lose my shop if I were charged with copyright infringement. I'm not willing to risk it. So, here are our options:

1. I can design and create a cake for you that is ______ character inspired. I can use colors, shapes, decorating techniques that coordinate with your decorations.

Pooh colors, Pooh font, but not a Pooh to be seen...
Nope, no Snow White here...
2. We can use a figure (like a toy or a Deco-Pac). I'll make the cake to coordinate with the toy and then (bonus!) you have a toy to keep forever... until it gets lost or broken...

An Elmo deco-pac
Neverland toys
3. We can use edible images or toppers. is crawling with people who make custom cake toppers. You (or I) can order a topper and I'll make a cake to go with it.

Edible images Doc McStuffins

Edible images Little Einsteins

Bubble Guppies custom topper from etsy
And, of course, we can always make a theme cake without characters:

I can make a cake to match your invitations!

Princess cookies without the drama

Aargh, no lost boys required

So really... this is a good thing! Think how our creativity will flourish!

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