Character Cookies and Copyright Law

I wish this article were more specific regarding personal use. I have a business page, from which I sell cookies, and I have posted some character cookie pictures to it. Those character cookies were made for my own family and were not sold--but does that matter if they are posted to my business page? I need to look more into the "fair use" policy I guess. 

I recently had a friend have her Etsy shop shut down due to character cookies. So I know they do search for them.
I would make them for family and friends, but beyond that, no way. I know we all still see them for sale, but if they do crack down, it could be really costly and not worth it in my opinion.

Originally Posted by Crazy 8's sweet shoppe:

How does this work with the character cookie cutters that are out there?   I have a set of hello kitty cutters and a set of toy story cutters.  So if I use those to make the character they are supposed to be is that considered infringement as well?

I'm no lawyer, but what's frowned upon generally is profiting from another person's original content/designs/etc., for which they hold the copyright. So if you were going to decorate these as Hello Kitty and sell them, then, yes, you'd be at risk. Hopefully, the cookie cutter manufacturer has a license to make a cutter in the Hello Kitty likeness in the first place - but who knows. This would probably be a good question to ask if buying character cutters.

My understanding is that NO characters can be legally copied unless the cutter exists in the marketplace.  Resist the urge to lift an image from the internet, make a cookie and then post it, unless you call it a 'personal project', or one that didn't make you any money.  Make sense?

Originally Posted by Claudia:
So, if I bought my character cookie cutters from Michael's,  can I only use those cutters to make cookies for nonprofit purposes?

Yes, that's my read of copyright law. You can't copy or use a copyrighted image unless you've purchased the rights to do so.

When I took a cake class from a local cake supply shop they expalined that in order to sell a licensed character cake you need to pay a fee and get permission to do so. Which is why a lot of big box stores do this (they can afford the fee).

Owning a shaped pan however does not give you the right to sell a cake made of that character (it states on the pan for personal use only). Its to protect thier brand and trademark. 

I would assume its the same with cookies and their cutters. 

Originally Posted by bakermouse:

When I took a cake class from a local cake supply shop they expalined that in order to sell a licensed character cake you need to pay a fee and get permission to do so. Which is why a lot of big box stores do this (they can afford the fee).

Owning a shaped pan however does not give you the right to sell a cake made of that character (it states on the pan for personal use only). Its to protect thier brand and trademark. 

I would assume its the same with cookies and their cutters. 

Agree, bakermouse. I can't do any licensed characters in any of my books or other work that I sell for the same reason. 

Does anyone have any experience with DecoPac? I would like to use their edible decals for cookies but since I have not yet officially started my cookie business, I cannot sign up for an account. I would imagine it is expensive. It sounds like it is the only way to sell something with copyrighted images.

Originally Posted by Julia M. Usher:

Here's a really interesting article (written by a lawyer) related to the legalities of doing character cakes and cookies. A good read: http://www.cakeboss.com/CopyrightCakes.aspx

 

Thoughts?

This article should be required reading for anyone thinking about using a copyrighted image on cookies or cakes to sell...or on a business card, advertisement or website designed to sell any of those items. A lawsuit over infringement can wipe a small business out. Not worth the risk, IMO!

 

Thanks for posting this link.

Add Reply

×
×
×
×