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5 Tips About Cake Character Copyrights

What might be an example of cake character copyrights? What’s the big deal about copyrights and using the Superman character on my cakes? The question on the message board read, “How are they getting away with it? Making those Marvel Cakes, it’s not fair!!!” The truth is they are getting away with it because no one is stopping them.

Do you make cakes that depict trademarked characters? Do you have permission to do so? If you don’t, it’s illegal. The Walt Disney Company, will crack down on bakers and issue fines.

As a cake designer, you don’t want other bakers taking your creative works, stealing your designs and passing them on as their own.

Copyright is the mechanism for how the cake artist gets paid. It protects his or her work. Without copyright, a cake artist could not make money. Did you know you can protect your cake designs?

Copyright offers protection and stability that allows a cake designer to make edible art for a living. It is copyright law that protects work in the future and allows for the licensing of a cake artist’s work, which permits the baker to get paid even if he or she is not actively creating. These are just a few of the roles that copyright plays but its overarching purpose is to protect the outcome of your many hours of creative hard work.

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If you have photos of themed cakes on your social media or website, take them down. Your responsibility is to tell customers trademarked cakes are illegal.

Don’t try to use some off the wall reasoning like “I’ll take those orders as long as it’s “Ironman inspired.” It won’t be an exact copy. No, no, no!

(1) Copyrights: Ask yourself, did I pay for the license to use this character?

If your answer is no, steer clear. What’s the crime? You’re breaking the law and stealing someone else’s design.

(2) Copyrights or Trademarks

How do you know if a design has a copyright or trademark? A best practice is to assume it is unless you can prove it’s not.

(3) Copyrights:  Artists, photographers, and celebrities make a living by selling cake characters.

It’s their work and you will pay a pretty price if you want to pay for using it. So you think you can get around things by changing a few characteristics. Not so fast. Changing the color of Ironman’s suit to green instead of red will still take you down the copyright infringement path.

So what happens if I use the characters anyway? What’s the worse thing that could happen. The owner of the rights may sue you. Do you have deep pockets? Plus, why are you putting your business, family, and life in jeopardy? No, no, no.

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(4) Know your copyrights: You do not have the right to benefit from someone else’s intellectual property.

It matters not what others do. Your responsibility as a legal business owner is to comply with the law. Think about how you might defend yourself in front of a judge who is looking at your Ironman Cake. You can’t.

(5) Cake Characters: Ignore the law and you risk paying the price.

How do you get permission to use Ironman? You’ll have to talk to the rights owner, the artist, or the trademark owner. There are licensing companies responsible for doing nothing but granting permission in exchange for a fee. You can always do a bit of research to see if there are images in the public domain. You can also use your creative juices to design original characters. Your choice.

Don’t let trademarked characters get in the way of your progress. Check out 5 Top Legal Questions Asked by Food Entrepreneurs. You can also contact Abe Cohn managing partner of Cohn Legal, PLLC, a law firm designed specifically to provide a boutique and highly individualized experience for entrepreneurs and startups.