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May 27, 2012

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Marys Cakes

Jen, Perdue University has a very good example of how the fair use exception is applied (http://www.lib.purdue.edu/uco/CopyrightBasics/fair_use.html ), and even IT is ambiguous. I am not an attorney, and I can see both sides. The ultimate use is for profit (although I assure you not MUCH profit). But I would argue that its use on a cake for a private birthday party has no impact on the general market for the artwork. However then there is the perspective of the companies that buy the license and make the plastic figures for cakes (and mainly sell them to large bakeries and grocery stores). If a customer is not allowed to buy a from-scratch and well decorated cake from a bakery like ours, then they have to buy the licensed product from them. So, from their perspective we DO impact the market. Of course the flip side to that argument is that our customers dont want the cheap plastic licensed figures and would not be buying a grocery store cake. Some will go purchase the figure on their own and bring it to the bakery for us to use, but many will just find someone else willing to break the law so they can have a lovely and delicious cake with the decorations they want. Hence, the dilemma.

Jen

Copyright law is tricky, I would ask how fair use comes into play when it comes to these images? Also is there some type of general license bakers can get so they can put characters on cakes? You can't show a movie to a crowd unless it has public performance rights, yet libraries and other educational institutions can purchase licenses that allow them to show those movies.

That doesn't really answer your question about what to say to customers. You could just have a policy that unless the customer can prove to you that their character doesn't fall under copyright restrictions or that they have gotten permission to use said character then you won't do character cakes.

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