Last week, Ron Ben-Israel posted a blog about cake thieves, http://nyccakegirl.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/you-watch-our-back%e2%80%a6/. In case you are wondering, Ron Ben-Israel is a MASTER of wedding cakes. I only dream of being 1/8 as good as him. Stealing cake photos from him is ridiculous. Legal ramifications aside, his work is nearly perfect, which may explain the inexcusable behavior of stealing his photos and selling them.
Unfortunately, Ron Ben-Israel is not the first victim of cake photos theft - far from it. While in this recent case, his photos were trying to be sold for profit, many times cake photo thieves are fellow bakeries trying to pass off someone else's work as their own. Cake photo theft happens so often there is even a Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/Stop.Cake.Thief, outing thieves. Again, legal ramifications side, this type of theft is wrong on so many levels. It's unethical and false advertising to say the least.
There is no doubt that this sad practice will continue, but there is something you can do. First, if you see a cake that looks strangely familiar and know it belongs to another bakery, let the original bakery know. The original bakery will then proceed in contacting the thief and asking them to remove the stolen photos. Second, cake thieves can be easy to spot online. Look for inconsistencies in decorating style. Sure, every cake is different, but a decorator's style will also show though. Also look for the skill level. If some cakes look nearly perfect and professionally photographed, while other are amateurish on a kitchen counter, chances are the decorator did not do those cakes. If you are looking a print ad or catalog, be sure to ask directly if all the cakes in the photos are theirs. Some decorators have 'inspiration' books, but don't distinguish between the two.
Photo thieves are not only a headache for bakeries, but customers as well. If a bakery is not honest in their skill level, the customer is the one that suffers. Like these poor brides on Cake Wrecks, http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/12/wedding-wrecks.html.
Luckily, I have not been a victim of photo theft, but many of my cake friends across the country have been. We can't really stop posting photos in our online catalogs, but we can let our customers know this problem exists.
I'm curious, though. I know cake photo theft is a big issue in my industry, but what about other industry? Photographers? Event decorations?