Saturday, November 27, 2010

Photo Theft vs Design Copying

I'd like to get some clarification on this topic. How do you know when you are or are not allowed to copy a cake design? For example there are a ton of different decoraters doing elmo & cookie monster cupcakes all using the same technique but obviously someone came up with the idea, so when is it stealing? I recently copied the caterpillar cupcake because a client asked for it. I first went online & looked up a picture & found one in google images. Which I copied. Only later did I find out that the orginal cake decorater (in canada i believe) actually had a go at the decorater that I copied for not crediting her work. Now I feel guilty for also not crediting her, but it was by pure chance that I even know that she created it & really how do I know she did not also copy it? Personally the cakes that I put up pictures of I expect to be copied. I don't however expect that people use my photo as their work (do it yourself). Can I get people's view points on this, as I am only new to the industry & find this part of it very confusing & intimadating? Thanks SJ

This was a comment on a post below, and SJ brings up a common question... what about reproducing a photo?

Some cake artists are ok with it, and expect it.  Some are not.  The reality of this business is that it will happen, and it is not illegal.  We all have clients who bring us photos they would like reproduced.

My only suggestion is that you tell them it will be YOUR version of that design, and that you credit the original design if you know it.  If you don't know the source, then at least indicate that it was inspired by a photo supplied by the client.

This site is not about cake decorators who reproduce designs, but those who actually take photos from other artists and claim (or imply) that it is their own work!

As for the cakes with Elmo or other characters, that is a WHOLE other issue.  Those characters are protected under Licencing and Copyright laws.  I will eventually post my thoughts and research about that topic, but not today.

An Apology

I apologize for my prolonged absence... some family issues have kept me mostly off-line for the last month.

I'll be adding new thieves and following up with the ones listed below in the next few days!

Please remember, I need all of you to make this work!  Both finding the thieves and letting them know that we (as a community) find their behaviour unacceptable!

When we need to go to Facebook or Flickr or to their web host, the report almost always needs to be made by the owner of the photo.  However, sufficient comments on the photo and other complaints will certainly ensure they pay attention!!

(and on that note, we have added a Flickr group in order to help reporting as I have seen MANY cake photos stolen from that wonderful site!)