Monday, January 24, 2011

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


Rosie said...

I think there was a lady on CC that wanted to copyright all her cookies. Mind you the cutters were Wilton/ateco, etc.

BTW: I'm not a pro, but I HATE inspiration files, especially when you can tell that the baker could never make anything like any of the files. lol

Eve said...

Its happened to me. Quite a ridiculous theft of an award winning cake I made (my echidna cake, actually!) poste don CC, that was put onto another cake decorator's website as her own work! Insane. I wrote to her, she took it down but I still have to check occasionally to see if she is grabbing other people's cake images and calling them her cakes. I remember in my case she tried to say that the cake was one she 'could' make, hence that's why it was on her website. Uh-huh.

Kara said...

That's happened to me too...I had to call a girl and tell her to take my photos off her site, and she said that they were there to show people what she could do. I told her that she should practice on some dummy cakes and take pictures of those, because photos of other people's cakes don't show what you can do, they show what THEY can do.

The person in town who copies my designs and puts them on her site does a really bad job of copying them, too, so it's irritating that someone might think I'm copying her! But that's not a legal thing, it's just something that has earned her a reputation as a copycat.

Rosie said...

I had to rat out this girl on FB. She had all these amazing cakes and some "Ugh" ones- guess which were hers?

As I said before, I don't sell my cakes, but it upsets me to see someone stealing someone elses's photos. If you like it so much then make your own cake, even if you copy the original idea.

Rosie said...

Eve- I loved your cakes. The Equidna one is amazing!