Cake Images that someone else is taking credit for

Stolen cake images are almost an inevitability for any sugarcrafter with a website.  What do you do about cake images that someone else is taking credit for?

 You spend hours creating, building, and perfecting your artful cake creations. Then you to stumble across someone else’s website or social profile with YOUR  cake images!
 
It can be very tempting to freak out over this obvious theft and invasion of your creative rights.
But there are a few steps you MUST take before jumping to conclusions. Here is how to deal with cake images that someone else is taking credit for.  i.e. stolen!!
 

1. Don’t get angry

Yes,  I am completely aware that I am advising you to do exactly the opposite of what you are most likely to do. It is human nature to get upset when you feel wronged or cheated,  and you may have a complete right to do so. But, you should not assume that a stolen image is done out of malice or with any ill intent. Sometimes,  and image is featured on a site simply without due credit. This indicates that the owner of that site doesn’t understand the web etiquette. At the end of the day you need to give photo or design credits.
 
Other times,  an image appears on a site and the owner owner openly claims the design as theirs when it isn’t. This is obviously wrong. A common rationale might be “the Internet is so vast that no one will know the difference.”
 
Perhaps they don’t have any of their own designs and images. They think that so long as they have something up,  then no harm done. Of course,  the cake decorating community knows otherwise. In either case,  reacting with emotion and anger is not the best course of action.
 
Try resolving the issue peacefully with the steps provided below. That is before calling them up in a rage and/or threatening them with the law!
 

2. Make Professional Contact

 
When you see images of your own on someone else’s site without credit and/or permission, you obviously need to act on it. Do not jump the gun and contact their web host or your lawyer, though. Instead,  look for a way to email the site owner/support team.

Let them know IN WRITING

Let them know IN WRITING that the image(s) in question are your cake images that someone else is taking credit for and being used without owner consent or proper credit. You would like them removed. Be calm,  collected,  but firm – be sure this is done in writing in case you need proof of the contact later. If you come at them angry or abusive,  you could easily be the one facing some legal issues.
 
Also,  be specific. Tell them EXACTLY which images are yours. Do not say “you’re thieves…take down the stolen pics!”) Give them a reasonable time frame to remove the images as well. Some people have an employee or freelance contractor who does all their site work. Three business days is ample time for anyone to get images removed from a site,  so I suggest this as a time frame. If you get no response,  or they are not removed in the time frame,  then move on to step 3
 

3. Contact their web host/social media company

 
What do you do if you find the offending cake images that someone else is taking credit for on a personal/business website? But your first contact has not yielded results. Then it is time to contact the web host for that site. I do not mean the person in charge of the site…I mean the company whom they are renting that space from.
 
You can find out the web host company of almost any site by going to http://whois.domaintools.com. Type in the URL of the site and you will get a slew of  “backend” information about it. The site profile will tell you the company web host company. You can then contact them (usually via email or web support ticket) to explain the situation.
 

Most web hosts take copyright infringement and fraud very seriously.

They will shut down a site if the webmaster doe snot remove the stolen content quickly.
 
Any images that are featured on a personal or business social media profile are simpler to deal with. It is even easier to contact the social media company and file a complaint.
 
Some of these companies have a zero tolerance rule for stolen content. They hate stolen cake images that someone else is taking credit for.  They will shut down a person’s account immediately AFTER it has been proven that the content is not theirs.
 
Others will give the offender time to respond to a series of questions. Then get them to voluntarily remove the images to seek a peaceful resolution..
 

4. Call the law

 
Depending on where you live, the law may definitely be on your side.
 
In the US,  you MUST have a proper copyright notice filed with the U.S. Copyright Office. This is before you can legally do anything about the infringement. This can be done after the image was taken,  but that may hamper your success.
 
Other countries have laws and statutes to protect artists’ work. This is whether they have the right documentation or not, to prove it’s theirs.
If you choose to take the issue to a law,  then be sure to consult a lawyer on your rights.
Some cases will result in the offender covering the legal fees you incur,  but not always. You must be 100% sure you want to take this route before doing so.
 
Make sure you are properly informed of your rights. Do this BEFORE mentioning any legal action to the offending webmaster. Note that none of these steps include calling the webmaster directly. Or posting nasty comments all over the web.
 

This kind of behavior only makes you look bad and can hurt your business.

It also can be seen as online bullying and gives them more of a trump card if the battle becomes a legal issue.
 
More often than not a person with stolen images on their site has no interest in the issue going further. One first contact email will suffice. And they will take the pictures down or post proper credit so long as you are professional and firm.
 
If they do not seem cooperative,  then show them you mean business. But do this WITHOUT hurting your own case.
 
It is very easy to get upset and fling accusations or even resort to name calling. But keep in mind that a vast majority of the time an image thief does not have malintent toward you.
They were not intending to hurt either you or your business.  
Keeping that small fact in your mind could help you both quickly and easily come to a resolution!
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