An Interesting Copyright Article

Copyrights are a hot topic, especially with the increase in the number of people blogging and "borrowing" ideas from other online sources. You know how I feel about copyright violators, but I've started seeing people who are taking it to a ridiculous extreme.

One person on an online website is selling cake decorating items that are obviously cut out using a cricut and a design from the cricut cartridge, and she's labelled them as "This is my original idea. Don't copy without my permission." Well, no, it's not your original idea if you're using someone else's template. Plus, what she was doing has been done a million times before by other people.

In a similar vein, there are people who claim that they have copyrighted the heart shape because they used it on their cake. Again, no.

I've had people in my town copy my cake designs and put them on their websites, which irritates me, but it's not technically a copyright violation. It's just a display of bad business to irritate the other professionals in your area. Being copied is something that everyone will experience at some point. It's the degree of the copying that determines whether it's a legal situation or just a nasty little irritant.

Copying text from someone's website is a copyright violation. Using someone else's pictures without their permission is a copyright violation. Even the infamous "inspiration files" that people put on their websites is a violation if you haven't asked for the owner's permission to use the photo.

Here's an interesting overview of copyright that I came across this morning. Notice two things in this article...Ideas that you use as a jumping-off point for your own creativity are not copyrightable. And the copyright for photographs are usually owned by the person who took the picture, not the person who owns what was being photographed.

So if someone takes a picture of a cake that you made? They own that picture. Now, if they turn around and say that they made the cake, that's wrong.

And if I do a bunch of cookies that have a pink heart on them because I saw a pink heart somewhere and thought it was cute, that's okay. I can't take the original thing that I saw and say that I made it, but the idea itself isn't copyrighted.

If you have more questions consult a copyright attorney!

Have you ever had people steal your pictures or use your intellectual property without permission? How did you handle it?

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and