from the time-to-take-your-business-elsewhere dept
"My local [CENSORED*] bakery has this new policy - not strictly enforced, but kinda enforced - NO PHOTOS in the bakery department. None, nada. Per an ex-employee there, upper management is afraid that one of that store's specific cakes will be posted on 'that bad cake site.' Per what they tell you in the store, their cakes are 'all copyright protected.'"Furthermore, the person who sent the email was told to stop photographing the following cake, because of "copyright protection!"
Of course, there is a question of whether or not such cakes are actually covered by copyright. That actually probably depends on each individual cake -- since there has to be some sort of overall creative element added to the cake, and many "standard" cake designs probably don't qualify. Of course, even if the cake is covered by copyright, it seems silly to argue that copyright is a reasonable excuse to ban any and all photographs. There would be a ridiculously strong fair use claim in response. The photograph is transformative (it's not a cake, it's a photgraph). The nature of the work is to disseminate information to the public, which tends to weigh in favor of fair use. And the effect on the "market" for the copyrighted work is nil. Now, some may argue that it would impact the market for the cake, but that's because it's showing how ridiculous the cake is, not because it's a substitute. And, in the famous Campbell v. Acuff-Rose case, the Supreme Court made clear:
We do not, of course, suggest that a parody may not harm the market at all, but when a lethal parody, like a scathing theater review, kills demand for the original, it does not produce a harm cognizable under the Copyright Act.I'd say Cake Wrecks fits into that description nicely. Either way, even if there was a legitimate copyright claim here, all it does is call that much more attention to the fact that apparently Safeway has pretty horrid quality control for many of its cake designers. Instead of coming up with ridiculous legal arguments to stop people from photographing their cakes, perhaps they should just find better cake designers.