Bet you didn't think you would get a legal lesson when you were searching out wedding cake information! Unfortunately, there are legal boundaries to everything, including wedding cakes!
I think one of the biggest misunderstandings I have with couples is understanding what I as a business owner can and cannot do when it comes to copyrighted images. I know that it would be a lot of fun to recreate your favorite cartoon character on your cake! Or maybe have your fiances favorite team logo! And I know there are images of copyrighted cakes everywhere on the internet, and unfortunately, there are a lot of lawsuits too!
Copyright means that the original creators work cannot be recreated in any way for profit, unless written permission is given by the creator. Now, there are lots of loopholes, right?
"What if you change the image slightly?" is always the first one. Unfortunately, nope. Under the Copyright Act is a little article called "Moral Rights." That means that even if I alter the image slightly, either the color or the name or any minor detail, it is still copyright infringement.
Copyright infringement can come with a lawsuit price tag of up to $150,000!! I for one, don't have that kind of cash on me! And I doubt anyone is willing to pay that much for a wedding cake! There are a lot of what if's and grey areas, and we won't know what is and isn't "acceptable" use of a copyright unless we get sued and win the lawsuit. That's not really a road I would like to go down!
I know there are plenty of bakeries willing to take on the chance, because honestly, the risk of getting caught and sued is slim. However, for our business, we choose to follow the Moral Rights law. Besides, the original creators worked tirelessly to create the images so sought after! I can understand that they want those images protected. Why should I make a profit off of their hard work?
If you have a question on whether or not an image is copyrighted, feel free to ask me. If I don't know, I will gladly find out. And, just because it's copyrighted doesn't mean the image can't be used. Many companies are more than happy to give me written permission to use their image for your wedding. So, just ask and I'll explain the process, it's simple really!
Kayla grew up in the wedding industry and has grown to love all things wedding. Please enjoy reading her thoughts and experiences as she continues to walk in family tradition.