September 18, 2008

Does it pay to share?

I've been having a dilemma.
It's been induced by numerous third party opinions; observation of local culture and personal experiences.

Having studied and worked abroad in Australia and America; I've been very much acquainted to the habit of sharing.
Of sharing ideas; knowledge...of useful discoveries. I think this is great!
You better yourself by lending each other a hand. I can't imagine the many people I'd have to thank for writing in blogs, articles and forums. Everything I have gained in my initial baby steps were purely 'google' and its majestic secret doorways. The Internet has created more than just opportunities for me, it has guided me through my teen years, enlightened me straight through university, made me friends I'd remember forever... it has taught me to be independent and it has inspired me through my darkest times. Now... back to this dilemma of mine.

I'm becoming afraid of sharing, of posting recipes... photographs.. ideas. Am I making myself vulnerable by exposing myself, knowing that unethical gremlins out there will be finding a way to manipulate my creations and call them their own. It kills me to watch people recreate what I do, make a profit and claim creative knowledge for what they have apparently done.
Hell! i've even had a nutjob use my photograph as her own in a myspace account!! Can you gauge my frustration?!

I could throw a tantrum and fill their inbox with vociferous complaints,... I COULD!... but why? What does that do?
Does it change anything? No.
Am I petty and childish like so? No.
It's the same way LV or Prada can't stop us from making a replica of their bags from cake. It angers me to know people come here for that reason. The evil are taking advantage of free information on the Internet!!! how nasty! Don't they realize, to be a respectable craftsman, they must first learn to produce something good on their own.
I never repeat my designs as every piece is unique. I refuse to repeat designs of other decorators; it's truly truly unethical and rude in my opinion. I am inspired by many great works out there, but its different when I'm able to recreate it with my own distinct personal flair. I am inspired by fabrics, by architecture... by patterns, nature, culture.
I couldn't possibly trademark every piece of sugar I push out of my palms. *laughs* The thought is ridiculous!

I'm here to inspire others.. to cook; travel; bake or decorate. I blog to have a permanent progressive journal for myself to look back on. How could this ever become "a bad idea" so suddenly?
Who know's where these adorable little guys are going to turn up in a months time! *grrr*


Kiran said...

oh gosh! you've got to trademark each and every picture dear. can't escape plagiarism by the outlaws. i know, it's a long process. but it saddens me if anyone would had claim a price for something which was my idea or creation. think about it.

Anonymous said...

Please don't stop sharing ... you have inspire me in many ways ... I have always wanted to make beautiful and cute plus tasty food like u did ... I know there are always mean people who love to steal ideas and creations and make it theirs .... but i believe tht they will be punish someday ... Everyday i on my comp the 1st webby i ever visit is yours and tht brighten up my day when you have a new post....

Anonymous said...

I think you need to watermark your photos too! You can download the software free if you google them. It only take few minutes to do. Good luck!

monet said...

please don't stop sharing. i suggest you watermark your photos though. ;)

Hany said...

hi su! i hope you'd continue posting on this blog. you've inspired many, including me. ^_^ the thing i love about this blog is that it tells a story about your journey, and it aspires me to work toward my own dream. (just take off all the recipes and watermark all the pics ^_< *tehehehe*)

dewi said...

Aw this is awful!!!!

I can totally understand how you feel. you should watermark your pics asap.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with both kiran & anonymous. I have come to love your adorable creations and I think they are so cute. I'm a big fan of your blog and I have watched (well, actually read) how much you have grown from playing with simple fondant to creating masterpieces. Now, even I can't come up with that. Fans of this blog know who you are and absolutely LOVE your creativity. Please don't feel despair. :) Keep up the good work!! and TM all of your photos. :)


Totally understand your frustration. Yes, trademarking and copyrighting them is a way to go, although the process is painful, it will be rewarding. But bear in mind, LV or Prada (as big as they are) still cannot stop piracy totally. So have that as an expectation and you might feel slightly better.

Anonymous said...

dear su,

do u receive orders from kl? haha.. cuz i wouldn lik to hav a creation of urs for my mum's bday.. shall i mail you for more info?

anyway, shame on those people who proclaim your creation as theirs.. maybe u should consider "copyright-ing" each picture of urs.. =)

lena said...

It only means that your work is a class above all and highly sought after. LV has been copied all over the world, only because they represent quality, standards and traditions. Yours is no different.

i.d. said...

Wow, this is an interesting subject - one that cuts across all types of design from cooking to fashion to art.

I think it would be a real pity to stop documenting your wonderful progress because of a few plagiarising baddies. The watermarking idea that others have raised sounds like it would help. Other than that, I think a large part of it is educating people that copying is WRONG - if it's someone else's work, you need to give proper credit!

Good luck Su!

Miakoda said...

Yup, watermark your photos and I've seen many blogs which are protected by a license of some sort. for example I found this in one- "This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License." Apparently, allows you to license your work.
That said, try not to worry too much about it. I know exactly how it feels, but to some degree it just can't be helped. I think, when it comes to you, not sharing would feel worse.
And I think most of us visit here just to get a look at your latest marvellous creation, so recipes don't need to be around, really. We're all ok with whatever you're comfortable sharing, Su. So do keep churning out the goodies for our starving eyes!

Jessie said...

Yeah, watermark your pictures and if they re-create those cake design, that's mean your cakes are beautiful! but sure they can never make the cakes as beautiful as yours.

Malaysia boleh!

Anonymous said...

Hi Su,

Although I'm much older than u, I really envy u as u hav gone thru a journey which i dream of..Pls dun stop sharing cos i really love to read abt ur life journey and ur works..sorri i dunno how to help u to stop others from pirating ur beautiful works.
As for the recipes, pls dun take away too cos i always believe tat everyone is unique so even if given the recipes, u wont be able to hav the same results as the original creators.
Please don't feel despair. :) Keep up the good work..alot of us will be supporting u ;)


Jen said...

Remember: "Copying is the best form of flattery."

Maybe not be good in terms of financial gain, but surely in others' eyes and in God's eyes they're to be blamed and only you to be praised.

Anonymous said...

you have a skill no one else can copy. your designs are unique in a way that says "made by su" even if someone tried to copy, they'd never come out the way yours does.


Pink Marie said...


big n obvious!! but if they reproduce, those cakes wont be as delicious as urs. definitely!!

just like LV n all, AAA grade will never be same like original. loserss!!!

Mr9 said...

Watermark your photo and CreativeCommon statements is the only thing you can do right now.

Emily said...

I will confess to, on occasion, going through your back catalogue of gorgeous pics for inspiration on a cake of my own...HOWEVER, I have never replicated a full design of someone else's and agree that a direct copy of someone else's work is nasty and also very un-creative. It also begs the question of how creative these copiers really are if they can't put their own original designs and flair on things.
I sincerely hope you will continue to enlighten us cake-porn-lovers with your talents, Su, but definitely start watermarking all your pics!

Anonymous said...

You were one of the reasons for me being to obsessed with food and baking. I see the pictures and I always think thinking: "WOAH!!! O.O I want to be able to do that one day!" It's sad people are really so desperate for attention to do that to you but it would be more depressing if we never saw anymore of your creations ever again! WATERMARK!!!

Anonymous said...

i see your concern's however hope that watermarking your photos will help. Like anonymous #2 yours is the first website i look at cos YES the cute creations are such a joy to look at after a long day at work!

Anonymous said...

I think you can watermark using picassa...people does not have any moral or ethics when calling other peoples work their own...I love your work a lot, continue sharing

Surani:) said...

Hi Girl,
came across ur blog a few days ago n i've being reading all ur archives n following ur blog practiacly everyday!n i have to say it's one f d best food blogs i have come across n d cute creatures u make are totally awesome..
however, coincidently, today is a day i got very frustrated about sharing as well..i am an engineering student and one of my classmates jus asked me to borrow her my circuit n then showed it as hers to the teacher n score an A!!so i really know how u feel even though in a very different wavelength!
but pls dont stop ur blogs cz it is realy interesting n alot f ppl enjoy reading it like me..
btw, do u bake n send cakes to singapore as well?
take care!

wai said...

hi su,
it's very sad to see you pms-ing like this, because usually u are a girl with positivity and sunshine around you.

Maybe I can share a point of view with you.. su, you've been very very lucky all this time surrounded by the nicest people in this world, and that's why you saw this world in a very beautiful perspective. But in the other end of the world, there are those who are not as lucky as you, and they need to see hope, that it's not impossible for them to become one of 'you' someday. You've been such an inspiration, more than you could ever imagine.
That's why, with so many evil things happen in this world, we must never give up for hope and love. Don't let them get to you, like those incredible designers never loses their faith with their dreams.

Have I been talking too much? well, my point is, it's okay to feel down sometimes, but don't forget to come back to love and happiness.

Keep blogging/inspiring!

b t w, those plagiarists suck, but maybe they're doing it because they have 12hrs working shift in their offices, a very very sick wife, 10 hungry babies, 3 dogs, 5 cats and a tank of piranhas that hasn't been fed over a week, AND the only way to run away from their problems is to hurt others. Anyway, let's pray for them to be able to feel real happiness in life. *smile*

i'd understand if you don't post this comment.

and last, i'm a big fan of ur blog.

WhyGeorgia said...

Hi Su,

Just stumbled on your wonderful and interesting blog quite by accident while researching the Plant City Strawberry Festival.

I can certainly understand your concerns over people stealing your pictures and work. I do agree with what Jen said. "Copying is the highest form of flattery". I know it doesn't fix your frustration, but it truly is a compliment in a twisted sort of way if that makes you feel any better!

I can see both sides of this coin. I do a scrapbook on a favorite musical artist. I often find photos all over the net for this.

Now I don't use other's photos for profit, but merely for my own enjoyment in creating a chronicle of this artist's career. So many people are now watermarking their concert photos. I understand why, but for people like me that only want to use the picture for personal use and not for profit, those watermarks are maddening.

I think in your case, where they may be stealing more than your photo, but more likely your ideas, you do probably need to take that extra step and watermark your pictures.

I guess I wasn't much help, but I did want to point out that it's not necessarily a bad thing when someone steals your picture.

Love your blog! You're a very interesting and talented young lady!


CC said...

Su Yin,
Your work and writing has inspired so many, you can't stop. You are the reason I started my own food blog and picked up decorating and baking again (and looking into culinary school)!

But like you I know a few others who have had their work stolen. Some of their actions include: allowing only "friends" to view blog and photos, watermarking pics, copyrighting pics, and humiliating the thieves by listing their names, blogs, business infos,... I believe in karma, and these people will get what's coming to them. Shame on them!

In the meantime, hang in there and good luck with everything.

Anonymous said...

please don't ever stop blogging your beautiful creations.

imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

keep up the great work. i hope to see you open a shop in america so i can order your cakes for my son's birthday.

Zardoz said...

well... interesting rant you have. I don't think you should be upset people actually copy your design. It's one of the ultimate forms of flattery.

Also, whatever recipe you have, there is another 90% of the end product in which no one else would be able to copy - which is you.

whatever shape and size another person may come up with, I do not think the end result will be exactly the same as what you have produced so far.

Anyway, life is short - sharing is caring


Jenny Tan Wei Inn said...

hey suyin,

firstly, I really thanked you for allowing me and my partner use your face cupcakes idea. We now slowly moving our own designs and doing well.. thanks to you.. we truly admired your designs and it really inspired us to do our cupcakes well too. Therefore, hope you would continue to share your passion of baking with everyone and yea.. i guess trademarking every picture is crucial since your photos are all so nice too.. :P

Jenny Tan from Sydney

Alexia D. Pacis said...

It's understandable to be apprehensive posting your designs and recipes on your blog. As much as watermarking the photographs, and copyrighting your designs, it still won't prevent people from actually copying your work from this blog and selling it as their own. The way I see it you have two choices;

Choice one: Make peace with yourself the fact that there will always be people who will take advantage of anything and everything. Either continue to post in this blog so you can enjoy sharing it with others, knowing there's a possibility someone will steal it OR do not post the pictures and designs on your blog anymore. Bare in mind this is an open blog, you can make it exclusive to those who subscribe to your blog.

Choice two: Approach it business like. Since it is the path that you are aiming for, to be a professional baker. Get an actual website of your own, and copyright the whole website which includes your designs and pictures. Most people do not realize in the the terms and condition when you sign up to blogspot and other social network sites, is that when you check the little box, you also agreed to indemnify them from any liability stemmed from your use of their services i.e. blogspot. You can still file a lawsuit, but doesn't necessarily mean you'll win against them. The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) was created to protect people's creative rights. But also be prepared to follow a path of legal battle to keep that right. If you are serious in pursuing it as a business and not a hobby, equip yourself with the appropriate business knowledge, which includes some business law. There are laws that protect the business owners, use that right to take these guilty parties down. This is the more professional way of "ranting and raving" at them. And most unethical people, are ignorant of the law, so take that as an advantage and use it against them.

Unfortunately there are people out there who have no respect nor ethics and they steal from others and have no motivation to just do their own damn work. Most unethical people would like to use any means of a shortcut to succeed faster and become richer or popular, even if it means to plagiarize honest people like you.

manda said...

I have been following your blog for what seems like ages now! Your journey through university, and your amazing adventure in Florida.... I was even a bit green with envy about that one. I attended culinary school a few years back long before notter ever exsisted... and i still may become a student there myself one day, but as a fellow pastry pro i have something i need to tell you.
First off, I completely understand your frustration with copy cats out there, but you have to remember... you consider yourself a cake artist, which by and far is something completely different then an everyday pastry chef. I thought I was artistic, until i took a look at your blog... it blew me away that someone without an ounce of professional training could have such a natural ability! You have to consider the fact, that in this day and age media saturation, we quite literally have the world at our finger tips. I agree with what others have posted about the watermarks. However, you must not be dismayed when a bride brings you a picture and asks you to recreate it. After all, you can turn away a customer, but why do that? You have to remember that although you have a professional integrity, your customer is always right... their needs and wants will come first, sometimes, unfortunately, even when your skill could serve them better. We are in a service profession, even though you have your own business, you still depend on the wants and needs of your customers.. and you will find out soon enough, eventually you will not be able to create a completely different work of art each and every cake. you are 1 person, until you have a fully skilled crew to work with, capable of your talents... you will inevitably have a repeat here and there... pulling from your past works, and incorporating new ideas. The absolute best part of what we do is seeing how we progress. I thought your confections were amazing when i first started following your blog, but now i see how much more refined you have come. In the end, try not to be tooooo hard on yourself. I know people in our field tend to be far too critical of their own work, not to mention how then pick apart others. In the end, we are not here to reinvent the wheel my deer, merely keep it rolling. You will have people look to you for inspiration, and yes... some may try to copy your work... but as they say in the US, the proof is in the pudding... If the cake isn't a SU creation, then it certainly will not look anything like the picture.. you know that and so does anyone else out there with any common sense. You can only get by with lies for so long. And I will leave you with this thought, If someone is going to the trouble to emulate your work... then there is no greater compliment. You have a true gift, if you learn early on to take it as flattery, you will have more time to focus on what is important.. being the best little cake artist there is. Keep up the good work my dear, and keep that wheel rolling! I look forward to more of your amazing inspiration...

PrettyPeony said...

Alexia is spot on. Took the words right outta my mouth, and then wrote them down more eloquently that I could. I recently came across a pic of one of my cakes on someone else's website, claiming it as theirs. Even though my name was still visible in the tag in the photo ... duh. They didn't even bother to try to copy the design in their own cake.

Interesting you say that you will never copy anyone else's design. If you are now in business, I expect sooner or later (and possibly sooner) you will encounter a customer clutching a photo who says "I want my wedding cake to be like this". Do you make it, or turn down the business?

nora said...

at 1st i didnt want to comment cos all that i want to say has already been said by everyone here. Then again, i shud write cos i want you to know that I'm another 1 of your loyal supporters. Think how many others who didnt write but are fans too.We love u Su & we want you to reach for the sky & succeed in life. God bless.

doRotHy... said...

I've really enjoyed your sharing and blog posts!! I'm a fan!! :) I think ppl copy your images only because they are so LOVELY!!! they must be jealous:) Looking forward to more lovely posts from you...

Anonymous said...

I wish you had a business in Los Angeles cause I would definitely hire you to decorate my wedding cake (.......not that I'm getting married any time soon.) Love your blog.

~ Elle

Su-Yin -Décorateur said...

Wow... I didn't think I wrote a controversial piece which deserves such attention. haha Thank you everyone who submitted their 2 cents worth. It's all definitely worth more than merely 2; the words of advice i've received and kind support from blog readers are priceless.
Thank you to those who have taken the time to analyze my rant went ahead with solutions and suggestions as well. I've come to terms with myself regarding my issue with forgers. I'm not a hater; i'm a lover. ;) haha
My current watermark isn't suppose to serve the purpose of preventing people from using my pictures but more so just as a signature to complete each photo. Kinda like an artist signing a work of art.

In regards to the question of repeating cakes; my answer would be ; yes... i would take in suggestions from a client but not only be inspired by the cake that she/he had shown me... but improve on it to suit his/her personality even more. Every person deserves a unique cake. I'm here to design them one they will remember forever

Alice said...

We can't stop people from copying... I do have the same dilemma but I'm over it now. I just have to remind myself that if others want to copy, by all means! No one wants to copy crappy stuff... so it is a consolation that my stuff are good that people wants to copy! :P

Like you, the Internet has been my source of inspiration and your blog is one of them!

Keep up the good work and I must say... Ipoh Mali rocks! ;)

Btw, congrats on your convo!

Angeline Lew Chun Ling said...

Hei su,

I really understand your feelings of being plagiarize. Remember how me and jenny asked ur permission to take your face cupcake design and bake it.*and i truly appreciate your approval*

Well..right now we have a hater in our blog spamming critics and saying that we copied and steal everything from other ppl's design. which i admit that we were inspired by you but we definitely did not copy the whole exact design, cos we never could be as perfect and detailed as you.

So i totally understand how you feel bout ppl taking your idea and make it their own. i guess this is the what they call jealousy? or sabotaging...hmm


Anonymous said...

hi su;
am an avid reader of your blog. wish you take time to read the link. anyway, goodluck on your career and stay happy!

Jean said...

hey su!
understand ur frustrations of being plagarised. there are always cheaters out there who want to gain credit fer something that they have not done. guess tt's how the real world works. but having a trademark works! mayb u can put it somewhr whr pple cant crop away (n still claim as their OWN creations). i LURVE seeing the beautiful things churned out by u. and fr a fellow Asian! (i'm fr s'pore =D )
so wish i can do the same. still can't get the cupcakes to rise evenly. any tips on tt?

melle said...

yes please, it pays to share! I know the internet is full of creeps who think that they can plagarise or even steal ideas from you, but being a huge fan of your blog, it really brightens up my day when i read your blog cos you are always so positive, unguarded (about sharing stuff), and inspirational! please don't stop sharing! I've read so many blogs that decided to stop because of cases like these and it's really disappointing! I hope you realise how many fans you have! :D

Leona said...

Many will never have a chance nor dream to live the life you are having now.

With God given talent, continue to shine and we are only on this earth for a short peroid of time.
Yes have pity on the cheats and the crocks as excellence and creativity is not something they are blessed with. Nor can they ever depart from this earth one day and say "i did it my way".

Thank you for being such an inspiration to us

Forever your supporter

Anonymous said...

Hi Su,
I'm an avid fan of your blog as well as your creations..They are really great and I can't help but try to re-create what you have done-more like a practice..If you consider this bad, I'm so sorry. I just can't help making things that inspires me much.And with this I'm really hoping you'll continue posting blogs since this gives me so much aspiration in life that someday I could be like you, known for her great creations and wonderful ideas.
You're such a great decorator..I envy you.
May God continue to give you the strength you need each day to be able to create more wonderful inspiration to others!!
God Bless you Su!!More Power..


Anonymous said...

i understand ur feeling,in tis field they always alot of tis kind of ppl....but bcoz ur wrk is in quality so they copy.....but they hv no the skill u hv ....they can't make it perfectly .

myra menzen said...

as if your creations are not "inspired" by other people who have chosen to let their work be "manipulated" by sharing their pictures.... aren't some of your cakes startlingly similar to the ones in "i dream of cake"?

Su-Yin -Décorateur said...

oh I don't doubt that; however I disagree with your thoughts on my work and it's similarities with I dream of cake. I've spotted the shop in San Fran; but had not an opportunity to go in. I love her work though; it's gorgeous; her style is distinct, i could never replicate it even if i tried
My main inspiration remains in Florida. Bake me a Cake of Orlando; FL. Mercedes straswky; she is my mentor and my cake inspirations.