Our "No Copying" Policy and Some Important Changes to the Site

 

Hi, everyone! As @Bakerloo Station mentioned in today's Practice Bakes Perfect challenge recap, we unfortunately had to delete an entry from the challenge due to lack of compliance with our "no copying copyrighted work without permission" rule (which mirrors US copyright law). In the course of last week, I also asked at least five others to either seek permissions or delete work that was not in compliance. It upsets members when this happens, but it also upsets me to have to check and enforce the rule, and to upset you in the process - I want everyone here to be happy, of course!  

As a result of the challenge deletion, many conversations, both public and private, ensued, which made it clear to me that many people on this site either have not read the Terms of Use (as required upon joining this site) and Site Posting Guidelines, or do not completely understand them, which brings me to this post . . .

Here, I hope to clarify the "no copying copyrighted work without permission" and other attribution rules, and how they get enforced on this site, so that we avoid future misunderstandings. I will also be instituting some changes to the site to ensure that as many members as possible see and read this message and our Terms of Use. I will also be asking EVERY MEMBER to do certain things, so please read to the very end of this post. Onward . . .

Goals of Rule

This rule may seem extreme to some, but it mirrors US copyright law, and it is designed to protect YOU from possible legal consequences that can result from copying copyrighted work. Most photo-sharing and social media sites (including Facebook and YouTube) have similar rules in their fine print, but they enforce them to varying degrees and/or in different ways. But, most importantly, we have this rule because I want to instill a culture here on Cookie Connection of doing the right thing and giving credit where credit is due. My hope is to uplift the entire community by encouraging people to celebrate those whose work has delighted and inspired them to do similar things.

Clarification of "No Copying Copyrighted Work without Permission" Rule

First, when you signed up for this site and checked the box that you read our Terms of Use, you agreed to essentially these three things*, as well as several others (which I am not addressing in this post):

(1) You guarantee that you own the rights to all content (photos, videos, blog posts, etc.) that you upload/submit, meaning they are your own work/designs, and that you will under no circumstances infringe upon the copyrights of others. Further, if you reference another person's work, or knowingly draw on that person's designs, ideas, or techniques, in a clip, blog post, or elsewhere, you will do what is right by making sure you have secured necessary permissions to copy copyrighted work and by referencing the source and linking off to that source's site or blog. (From Terms of Use, "Rights to and Handling of Submitted Content", item a)

(2) You acknowledge that is it impossible for Cookie Connection administrators to fully and effectively monitor when posted content may infringe the copyright of a third party or other third party rights. If you believe that a post or other content infringes any legal rights that you or others may have, you should notify Cookie Connection immediately via email and provide links to both the original source work and the work that you believe infringes the copyright. (From Terms of Use, "Rights to and Handling of Submitted Content", item d)

(3) You remain solely responsible for your content posted to Cookie Connection. By submitting content to Cookie Connection, you agree to indemnify Cookie Connection, its related businesses and sites, owners, and administrators/employees from all claims, costs, and expenses (including legal expenses) arising out of any content posted by you to this site. 

* Please note: The Terms of Use change from time to time, which is why you are also asked to review them regularly. But they have only been tweaked since the site's inception.

Clarification of Point (1) Above

Rule #8 in our Site Posting Guidelines, which you can read in full here (and in links at the top and top right of every Clips page), clarifies in lay terms what is meant by point (1) above. I have copied Rule #8 in its entirety here:

8. Always give proper credit for your work where credit is due, and don't post copies of others' work without first getting permission. If you have copied someone else's work in any medium (illustration, photo, painting, character or cartoon, another cookie, etc.) in any way (tracing or freehand drawing or painting), or have drawn on it heavily as source inspiration, you should not be posting your version of it to this site unless you have secured necessary permissions to copy it first (which, in some cases, can involve paying a licensing fee to the artist). Copying others' work may very well be a copyright infringement, which is why we have this rule - it is to ensure that you do not get into legal trouble. It is also the right thing to do. Think about how you would feel if someone copied your work without asking or crediting.

If you have secured necessary permissions, you should credit the original artist ("with permission from creator . . .") in both your caption (photo subtitle) and tags, and provide a link to the source art in the first comment under your photo. Please note: Disney characters and many other cartoon characters are copyrighted, so what I said above applies to them as well - you shouldn't be copying them and posting them here without permission from Disney or the creator to do so! 

If you have only drawn inspiration from someone else (i.e., borrowed a technique or a minor design feature), but the design is largely your own, then it is sufficient to say "inspired by . . ." But please do not use the words "inspired by" if your cookie is a close facsimile of any other person's artwork, of any kind. Please review this forum, which includes comments from several lawyers about the legalities of copying others' work. The general consensus is: When in doubt about how you are using someone else's work, it is ALWAYS best to get permission from that person first.

Of course, if you are copying an image that is officially in the public domain and not copyrighted, then you are in the clear. To learn more about finding images for use in the public domain, check out this article

Please read the site's Terms of Use for more details about proper attribution. Also, please note that this rule is not an arbitrary or extreme rule of the site; it is US copyright law.

IMPORTANT Changes to the Site

To create a stronger culture of "doing the right thing", I am making the following changes to the site immediately:

(1) Requiring all members to re-read the Terms of Use the next time they sign into the site. You will be redirected to your member profile and asked to agree to the Terms of Use by clicking the box at the bottom of your profile. Please do not just check the box; please first read the rules from top to bottom, which should only take a few minutes. (The link to the terms is to the right of the box.) Please also note that you can always refer back to the Terms of Use under the About section of this site.

(2) For the next month, all members will automatically receive a reminder of the above policy every time they post an image to the site. (The message will come after posting.) After a month (or longer, depending on compliance on the site), only new members of the site will receive this message, and they will cease receiving it after they have reached a certain activity level on the site. I apologize in advance to the many members who are religiously posting with permissions and attribution, as I realize this may be an inconvenience for you, but this is the only way I have of broadcasting this message consistently.

(3) Deleting the Characters clip set, so it can't be construed as okay to post copyrighted characters without first receiving permission. Any photos that have been posted to this clip set in the past will still remain on the site; the category though will cease to exist. Of course, if you have sought permissions to copy characters, you can still post character images to the site, but we ask that you place the words "with permission from . . . " in the caption of your photo, so we don't have to ask. Please also tag them as "characters".

I will continue to ask members about permissions in public view, if and when I happen to notice work that I think is copied. I do this in public view, because I have found over time that this is the best way to ensure a response. It also reminds others who may be viewing the post of our rules. I sincerely try to do this in a polite and respectful way that gives members the benefit of the doubt.

IMPORTANT Items I'm Asking Everyone to Do

Again, since I am the sole moderator of this site, and it's impossible for me to catch every non-compliant image for various reasons (i.e., not enough time in the day, not enough resources to hire a full-time moderator, people sometimes copy art work I don't know or recognize, people may have received permission to copy and have not said, etc.), there are some things that I expect every member to do to keep this community operating in a healthy and productive way:

(1) If you have copied someone else's copyrighted work without permission and posted it here, at any time in the past, then please seek permissions (and add "with permission from . . ." in the caption of the image) OR delete the image from the site.

(2) If you notice a copyright infringement or lack of attribution, please don't hesitate to politely point out our rules to the member who made the error. It helps me when everyone reinforces our rules, and not just me. If you are uncomfortable doing this, then report the image or content that you believe is at issue by sending me a private message or clicking the "report" button next to the content. Please also provide links to both the source work and the work that you think infringes upon it, as this will make it faster and easier for me to investigate the report. Whereas I cannot reasonably be expected to review every image posted to the site, I do investigate and respond to every report in a way that I think is appropriate. IMPORTANT: My goal here is NOT to create a culture of ratting out others or tattling; the goal is to make sure people are given credit where credit is due. So please be sure you have a strong basis for reporting before you report.

(3) Please do not assume that, if I ask you to delete copied work, you have been singled out or I am being unfair. Remember, it is your responsibility to follow the rules spelled out here; otherwise, you run the risk of having content deleted. If you see other content that is in clear violation of the rules, then chances are good that I have not seen it, so please report it.

(4) If you have copied work AND gotten permission to do so and post it here, then GREAT! Please post it, but please cite "with permission from . . . " in the caption field and follow the other attribution rules outlined in Rule #8 of the posting guidelines.

Thanks for reading to the very end of this post. Again, my aim here is to enhance communication about this very important issue and to avoid future misunderstandings of it, so we have a happier and healthier site!  If there are any questions about any of this, please leave them below.

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Thanks so much for this interesting post, Julia. I think all the changes you have made on the site will bring more acknowledgement for the illustrators' art, which for some of us is main inspiration source.

Thanks again for your work.

How will be afected the use of  Brand stamps with or without characters ?  Or to post work we did in someone else class?  And if we use mat brands for texture or laces,will it apply for the use of design mats for sugar veil (or another brands)?     I will errase all I must to avoid problems to the site. 

Mily posted:

How will be afected the use of  Brand stamps with or without characters ?  Or to post work we did in someone else class?  And if we use mat brands for texture or laces,will it apply for the use of design mats for sugar veil (or another brands)?     I will errase all I must to avoid problems to the site. 

I don't know what you mean by "brand stamps". Please clarify. If you mean company or others' logos, then, yes, those are usually trademarked or copyrighted things, so you need to ask for permission before copying them, and, if you don't get it, then don't post images of them here.

If you're posting designs from another cookier, whether you did them in a class or not, you need to follow the above rules.

If you're using someone's products to create your designs, that's another story. It's of course nice to credit/source the tools used, but it's not a copyright infringement to use tools that are on the market to be used. It would, however, be a copyright infringement to copy/produce a trademarked/copyrighted tool, and to pass it off as your design/tool.

Thank you.

Thanks for taking the time to remind us all again of this. Strictly speaking it is easy, but one sees so many e.g. Disney cookies and cakes flying around everywhere, that it is just as easy to forget...

Laegwen posted:

Thanks for taking the time to remind us all again of this. Strictly speaking it is easy, but one sees so many e.g. Disney cookies and cakes flying around everywhere, that it is just as easy to forget...

Yes, unfortunately, I don't have the time to check and remove every Disney and other character on this site, so people need to do their best to avoid putting them here in the first place if they know they don't comply. And to take the time themselves to delete ones they have posted in the past. 

I received this question from someone under my Facebook post about this post:

"Confused with the article about copyright stuff. Are you saying that when we watch your (or others) videos on cookies and decide to try to make them ourselves...we are infringing? I mean what is point of putting out videos if we can't learn to do them? Very confused?"

I thought it was a good question and possibly a source of confusion for others. Here's how I answered:

"No, I am saying that when people post copies of others' work to my site Cookie Connection, they need to ask if they can copy that person's work first and post it there, and then fully credit that person if they receive permission - this is the crux of US copyright law. Otherwise, they may be violating that person's copyright."

"As far as I am personally concerned, which is a completely different matter, I am more than fine with people copying the work in my videos to learn the techniques and projects for themselves and to provide cookies for friends and family - that's what my videos are for! But, I would like people to credit and link back to me when they post my designs on the internet. I also do not allow people to teach my designs in their own courses or to make videos that replicate my designs, as I make my living off my videos and classes. Unfortunately, it's hard for me to always enforce the latter, and it happens more frequently than I would like. I usually only discover these things after the fact."

I also added:

"I should add that other artists may have different feelings about how their video work gets used, particularly in classes, or how they would like to be credited, and the only way to know is to do the right thing and ask before posting copies of their work on the internet."

You had asked me to take down a cookie I had done using a famous artist's drawing for inspiration ; someone which has been used by many and I had given credit at the time.   I guess I felt "bad" then because the character category is all basically copyrighted cookies so I thought if one should take their cookie down then all should.  I think it was good you took out the category.

After spending 3 weeks in the states and spending time browsing  Hallmark stores and Barnes and Noble I see how easily it is to be inspired by so many things I don't have available in Greece. I was feeling quite jealous!  

But also the cookie world has evolved so quickly over the past 3 years it is very difficult not to be influenced by something we have seen since so much has been done and redone. I always try to give credit for influence but that too is difficult because who actually started that particular style is not always traceable.  So that becomes more difficult. I think more people should be singled out and given credit for their influence but unfortunetly they are not. 

 

 

VictoryO posted:

Julia, I have a cookie copy of the painting by a famous artist. But I don't know how to get permission ( I mean this job http://cookieconnection.juliau...an-gogh-s-sunflowers     I must remove this photo from?

Julia's decision would trump all others including the below advice...

Van Gogh is considered 'public domain' and you have given credit to him for original artwork. You could add a link to the original art to be in compliance with the rules...http://www.vangoghgallery.com/.../sunflowerindex.html

Julia M. Usher posted:
Mily posted:

How will be afected the use of  Brand stamps with or without characters ?  Or to post work we did in someone else class?  And if we use mat brands for texture or laces,will it apply for the use of design mats for sugar veil (or another brands)?     I will errase all I must to avoid problems to the site. 

I don't know what you mean by "brand stamps". Please clarify. If you mean company or others' logos, then, yes, those are usually trademarked or copyrighted things, so you need to ask for permission before copying them, and, if you don't get it, then don't post images of them here.

If you're posting designs from another cookier, whether you did them in a class or not, you need to follow the above rules.

If you're using someone's products to create your designs, that's another story. It's of course nice to credit/source the tools used, but it's not a copyright infringement to use tools that are on the market to be used. It would, however, be a copyright infringement to copy/produce a trademarked/copyrighted tool, and to pass it off as your design/tool.

Thank you

Julia M. Usher posted:
Mily posted:

How will be afected the use of  Brand stamps with or without characters ?  Or to post work we did in someone else class?  And if we use mat brands for texture or laces,will it apply for the use of design mats for sugar veil (or another brands)?     I will errase all I must to avoid problems to the site. 

I don't know what you mean by "brand stamps". Please clarify. If you mean company or others' logos, then, yes, those are usually trademarked or copyrighted things, so you need to ask for permission before copying them, and, if you don't get it, then don't post images of them here.

If you're posting designs from another cookier, whether you did them in a class or not, you need to follow the above rules.

If you're using someone's products to create your designs, that's another story. It's of course nice to credit/source the tools used, but it's not a copyright infringement to use tools that are on the market to be used. It would, however, be a copyright infringement to copy/produce a trademarked/copyrighted tool, and to pass it off as your design/tool.

Thank you.

With Brand stamps I mean Gorgous, Stampendous, Sizzix, and so on.    Stamps that I use in wafer papaer, royalicing or fondant.

 

Mily posted:
Julia M. Usher posted:
Mily posted:

How will be afected the use of  Brand stamps with or without characters ?  Or to post work we did in someone else class?  And if we use mat brands for texture or laces,will it apply for the use of design mats for sugar veil (or another brands)?     I will errase all I must to avoid problems to the site. 

I don't know what you mean by "brand stamps". Please clarify. If you mean company or others' logos, then, yes, those are usually trademarked or copyrighted things, so you need to ask for permission before copying them, and, if you don't get it, then don't post images of them here.

If you're posting designs from another cookier, whether you did them in a class or not, you need to follow the above rules.

If you're using someone's products to create your designs, that's another story. It's of course nice to credit/source the tools used, but it's not a copyright infringement to use tools that are on the market to be used. It would, however, be a copyright infringement to copy/produce a trademarked/copyrighted tool, and to pass it off as your design/tool.

Thank you

Julia M. Usher posted:
Mily posted:

How will be afected the use of  Brand stamps with or without characters ?  Or to post work we did in someone else class?  And if we use mat brands for texture or laces,will it apply for the use of design mats for sugar veil (or another brands)?     I will errase all I must to avoid problems to the site. 

I don't know what you mean by "brand stamps". Please clarify. If you mean company or others' logos, then, yes, those are usually trademarked or copyrighted things, so you need to ask for permission before copying them, and, if you don't get it, then don't post images of them here.

If you're posting designs from another cookier, whether you did them in a class or not, you need to follow the above rules.

If you're using someone's products to create your designs, that's another story. It's of course nice to credit/source the tools used, but it's not a copyright infringement to use tools that are on the market to be used. It would, however, be a copyright infringement to copy/produce a trademarked/copyrighted tool, and to pass it off as your design/tool.

Thank you.

With Brand stamps I mean Gorgous, Stampendous, Sizzix, and so on.    Stamps that I use in wafer papaer, royalicing or fondant.

 

No, products designed to be used on cookies or crafts are okay to use on cookies or crafts - that's what they're made for. We're talking here about copying the artwork (photo, cookie, painting, character, logo, etc.) of another artist/company without asking and then not crediting them - essentially passing off someone else's design/registered trademark/registered characters as your own. This is not cool and is a often a copyright violation. 

On this site, I've seen many people doing what I described as above (some many times over, despite warnings); I've also seen some who have done the above and, when asked if the work was theirs, never answered the direct question but answered other questions they received about other things (thus, tacitly claiming ownership); I've also seen people who have copied others' cookie designs (detail by detail) and used them as the subject of videos of their own that they are monetizing (even when the originator had previously produced a similar video with the same cookie); I've also seen people copy designs (detail by detail) and sell those designs as their own in hands-on classes . . .These are all things that would cross the line for most of us, I think, if we were the one being copied. Another way to think about this is to turn the tables, and put yourself in the shoes of the one being copied. How would you like people to treat you in that case?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

virago posted:
VictoryO posted:

Julia, I have a cookie copy of the painting by a famous artist. But I don't know how to get permission ( I mean this job http://cookieconnection.juliau...an-gogh-s-sunflowers     I must remove this photo from?

Julia's decision would trump all others including the below advice...

Van Gogh is considered 'public domain' and you have given credit to him for original artwork. You could add a link to the original art to be in compliance with the rules...http://www.vangoghgallery.com/.../sunflowerindex.html

Yes, I believe Van Gogh's work is considered public domain (but don't take my word for it; check - link above discusses how) and then, if so, it's sufficient to just credit the artist as I state above.

Tina At Sugar Wishes posted:

You had asked me to take down a cookie I had done using a famous artist's drawing for inspiration ; someone which has been used by many and I had given credit at the time.   I guess I felt "bad" then because the character category is all basically copyrighted cookies so I thought if one should take their cookie down then all should.  I think it was good you took out the category.

After spending 3 weeks in the states and spending time browsing  Hallmark stores and Barnes and Noble I see how easily it is to be inspired by so many things I don't have available in Greece. I was feeling quite jealous!  

But also the cookie world has evolved so quickly over the past 3 years it is very difficult not to be influenced by something we have seen since so much has been done and redone. I always try to give credit for influence but that too is difficult because who actually started that particular style is not always traceable.  So that becomes more difficult. I think more people should be singled out and given credit for their influence but unfortunetly they are not. 

 

 

I agree completely that source of "inspiration" (drawing on a design element or idea) can be much more unclear - we forget where we saw something, or we saw several things that we turned into a bigger, different idea, etc., etc. It's great to credit influencers too!

However, what I'm mostly talking about here is if you know you copied something (grabbed a photo from the internet or somewhere else and used it as a visual guide, either traced or not), then time needs to be taken to find the source of that image and to get permissions (if not in public domain) before posting copied work here.

юлия милье gingerfairy Yulia Mylle posted:

Thank you so much Julia for this post, I only want to ask - how to attribute the character of my own design? Recently I posted the teddy bear cookie based on my painting, what should I point in the caption field?

You don't have to attribute yourself if it's entirely your own work; just entitle the work as you normally would. But if you think we (me/members) might mistake it for someone else's character/drawing, then it wouldn't hurt to say "based on my own drawing" or something like that in the caption.

virago posted:
VictoryO posted:

Julia, I have a cookie copy of the painting by a famous artist. But I don't know how to get permission ( I mean this job http://cookieconnection.juliau...an-gogh-s-sunflowers     I must remove this photo from?

Julia's decision would trump all others including the below advice...

Van Gogh is considered 'public domain' and you have given credit to him for original artwork. You could add a link to the original art to be in compliance with the rules...http://www.vangoghgallery.com/.../sunflowerindex.html

Thank you very much! I edited my post and added this link.

I think common courtesy is lacking in many cases I have seen on this site. Anything you do that is not originally your own idea and/or creation should be given credit. You would want the same common courtesy given to you if you had people following your work(s).

  • If you were inspired by a piece of artwork, mention the artist.
  • If you used something commercially made but you don't have the rights to the product (ie. you didn't create it yourself) mention the product such as Such and Such templates, etc.
  • If you used a video and practiced, mention the video creator.
  • If you used a compilation of things from other people, mention them.

Never, ever, post something as your own if it is not, even if most of it is your own idea. The smallest inspiration of anything should be mentioned. Abiding by Julia's request isn't hard if common courtesy is given for anything you didn't create of your own creative mind.

Ghivette posted:

I think common courtesy is lacking in many cases I have seen on this site. Anything you do that is not originally your own idea and/or creation should be given credit. You would want the same common courtesy given to you if you had people following your work(s).

  • If you were inspired by a piece of artwork, mention the artist.
  • If you used something commercially made but you don't have the rights to the product (ie. you didn't create it yourself) mention the product such as Such and Such templates, etc.
  • If you used a video and practiced, mention the video creator.
  • If you used a compilation of things from other people, mention them.

Never, ever, post something as your own if it is not, even if most of it is your own idea. The smallest inspiration of anything should be mentioned. Abiding by Julia's request isn't hard if common courtesy is given for anything you didn't create of your own creative mind.

Thanks for the support in reinforcing these very important points. I agree in large part, though I would add that I have noticed many people making a more concerted effort to fully attribute since I wrote this post - and many fewer copied (without permission) copyrighted character cookies getting posted too. So we are moving in a great direction!

Sometimes it's hard to remember how or when we picked up an idea (after all, almost nothing is original if you think hard enough about how you came to the idea), so my attributing rule of thumb is to make best and reasonable efforts. If you know you took an idea from elsewhere, then it is common courtesy to credit. But, if the idea is a widely circulated concept or common practice (like how to flood a cookie), then I'm not sure crediting is really necessary.

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