who would steal a snowman?

Sigh. I realize putting images and ideas out there for the world to see is risky, for anyone with internet access can steal said images and ideas. And I realize trusting the greater good in others is risky. But as unfathomably huge the internet is (fodder for a Kantian sublime experience), it’s also oddly small.

I went HERE to “The Balancing Act Ultimate Holiday Cookie Decorating contest” to get information to submit a cookie, when what do I see under “Your Competition” but my melting snowman, the same melting snowman I posted about on this very blog nearly one year ago. As in, the actual photo of my snowman, not even their own version! (On a side note, for how-tos to make the melting snowman CLICK HERE.)

The company running said contest claims another person submitted my snowman as their own and they have corrected the submission. Then my own googling called into question the veracity of this company itself, so I don’t know what the bageebees is going on.

I made Mr. Melting Snowman on a whim one day, based on a passing idea, and I was surprised at his popularity. He got thousands of clicks on flickr and a front page feature, so he clearly struck a chord.

So please, wide world, please, I understand images and ideas posted so freely may be borrowed or used for inspiration (why, I’ve seen versions of Mr. Melting Snowman everywhere since), but please please don’t take my image and idea straight from my blog and call it your own, especially for a contest with a cash reward, no matter if the contest is legit or not!

Guess it’s time to start watermarking.

Feel free to share (nicely)! While my blog's photographs and text are protected by copyright, I do allow (and encourage) you to share ONE photograph with credit to "the decorated cookie" and link to this blog post. PLEASE don't reprint any part of the blog post and PLEASE don't post a photo without credit. Thank you!


  1. Supermom says

    Oh man! I hate that!!!!! I post lots of food pics too and thought about the same thing happening. Hmmm.

    BTW ~ The snowman looks awesome!

  2. Pink Little Cake says

    Hi, someone did the same thing to me with one of my cakes. It was a cake for my daugther and they even left my baby's name on it.The girl said that she made it for a client, and she took the picture from my blog too. I was really mad, I contact her and within minutes she remove her blog.

  3. Erika Jean says

    That is a bummer. I've had people steal my stuff too…. I'm just too lazy to watermark – but boy did I give them a piece of my mind 😉

    Usually I don't mind, as long as the photo links BACK to my blog AND there is something in the txt about it being my photo.

  4. Chic Cookies says

    Like-minded comments from you all at least make me feel sane! I don't get it. I cite every single person I even get an idea from! Scary thing is, I happened to catch one blatant theft, but given the vast internet, I can't possibly find every instance!

  5. Chic Cookies says

    Exactly, Erika Jean, I definitely don't mind if anyone uses my photos with a link to me! It happens all the time, and I appreciate the blog love. But stealing crosses the line for me. I've also found my work simply mimicked (same ideas, same design, same colors, same directions, etc., especially this snowman) without a link, and that irks me, too, but not as much as someone literally taking the image from my web and saying they created it.

  6. syberyenta says

    The cookie is beautiful and the idea is gorgeous. I may make a batch this XMAS and will certainly give you creative credit.

  7. Therrien Family says

    I am just starting to enjoy baking and I read your blog often to get inspired and for ideas. It is so kind of you to share your love of baking with people like me. It's a shame that people need to steal. I truly hope you don't quit blogging your about your creations!

  8. Susie says

    Precisely why food bloggers have this terrible reputation. I always cite my source (like a research paper, right?) you are very talented…most people aren't that clever. Keep up the stunning work.

  9. Army Mom says

    Oh my goodness! I am SOO sorry this happened to you!

    I ALWAYS give credit whenever I duplicate a design I see on another blog and I NEVER would think of posting someone else's photos as my own!

    Man! That takes some nerve…

    BTW – the melting snowman is TOO cute!

    Thanks for your Blog and your willingness to share your creative and wonderful ideas!

  10. Sue Sparks says

    I've used two of your ideas recently, but have given you the credit, of course, and supplied your link! You're so creative! Thanks for sharing with all of us!

  11. Tami says

    I'm so sorry that this has happened to you! I've had the same thing happen to me. One woman was using my recipe and picture on Etsy to sell the item! At least she removed it once I contacted her and Etsy about it.

    The second situation wasn't nearly as good. When I commented that I would like to be given credit for the picture and recipe, the ladies (on this well known website forum) nearly ran me down. They said that they couldn't believe that I was actually asking such a thing. It was (and still is on the forum) such a mess.

    It's sad that people don't understand that they can't use things like this without giving credit.

    I hope that everything works out for you. Your snowman cookies are so darn adorable!!

  12. Chic Cookies says

    Thanks everyone for your kind words and support! It's disheartening but unsurprising to hear others go through the same thing (with mixed results!) I post ideas SO that others can learn and be inspired to create their own sweets, and I rely on all of your great blogs to learn and be inspired, so as frustrating as it is, I'll not let a few bad eggs out there ruin the more ethical give and take of the majority! Good thing I believe in karma!

  13. LiEr says

    Oh Meaghan, that is a nasty thing to have happened to you – I am sorry. It is a vulnerable feeling not to be able to protect your ideas and copyright on the internet. I hope everything works out for you soon. What I can't fathom is how that person thought he/she could come anywhere close to getting away with it!!!!!

  14. apparentlyjessy says

    How low some people seem to be capable of sinking! Have they no conscience? respect? human decency!?
    I am sorry this happened too you, at least you were able to catch this person in the act!

  15. Danee says

    I just stumbled on your blog while trying to figure out how best to cut a cake I made Tuesday to repurpose it for a kids party tomorrow night. Your melting snow man is soooo cute. I assume that somebody took your idea? that's too bad.

  16. Chic Cookies says

    Oh my gosh, that's awful! and you know people who request that buffet will be horribly disappointed with what they do go. I adore Amy Atlas. She just today posted on my marshmallow ghosts at her blog (with link, of course, tee hee) and I was thrilled. The famous Amy Atlas reading the blog o' moi!

  17. Kate says

    That is so unbelievable! I've learned so much from fellow food bloggers and have gotten so much inspiration. It's sad to think people may stop posting their best work in fear of having it stolen.
    One of the best parts about blogging is bragging about other food bloggers and sending readers their way. I was just interviewed by my local paper about food blogging and told them how collaborative of a community it is.

    To the imposter food blogger stealing such an adorable snowman, one word for you…KARMA!
    Keep doing what you're doing Meaghan – so many of us are so appreciative of your work.

  18. Sara's Sweet Surprise says

    I know the feeling. I create my own foodie fun projects with the hopes of sharing my ideas with my blog friends. Providing inspiration for their personal use, not for any commercial gain. It's a good thing you found out before it was too late.

    The watermark is a good idea, but
    I think you should place it across the middle of your photo. Hopefully… this will make it impossible to crop around or Photoshop color fill ins.

    I adore your blog and your melting snowman. Thanks for continuing to share your sweet inspiration with us.

    Hope you can stop by and see what
    I conjured up for Halloween.
    Sweet witches,

  19. Sugar Siren says

    Oh you poor thing. I have seen many things on blogs & flickr that have inspired some of my creations but to use someone else's photo & not even create your own version is terrible.

    I suppose one thing to do is to take it as a huge compliment.

  20. Marian says

    I remember seeing this cute guy around (on the net)! I had no idea you were the creator – congratulations – he's a fabulous, adorable cookie! I'm so sorry to hear he's been 'stolen'!
    I have seen a few people with some of my cookie ideas as well, for example my owl cookies I posted a while ago. (not the exact pic – just the copied idea). I understand that inspiration comes from everywhere (I get lots of ideas from artwork and stickers for example), but it would be nice if others credited the original cookie idea at least! Frustrating for sure.
    I'd have to agree with you – watermarks!!

  21. Tauni says

    Shame. Shame on people who steal others wonderful ideas and post them as their own! I am so sorry this happened to you.
    As a fairly new reader I hadn't seen your melting snowman. Despite the yuck that proceeded, I am glad you had a chance to repost. I think it is adorable!

  22. nina says

    Pretty much you should assume if it's on the net, it will be copied and not credited to you.

    In the digital mashup world, the idea of copyright is so last century.

    If you want to watermark your images – do it right through the centre, otherwise, with a pop into photoshop, watermarks on the edge will be trimmed out.

    But, if a person really wanted to, they could probably clone it right out no matter where it is.

    Most people will appreciate your work and give you credit, but don't let the few rotten apples spoil the experience of sharing for you.

  23. Kim @ The Celebration Shoppe says

    I ran into a similar issue with a bridal blog featuring my tabletop images just recently. When I called them on it, it was corrected. But still it really made me grumpy. I should put a copyright mark on my images… but I would prefer to trust people!

  24. Anonymous says

    Oh, my goodness! I saw that same contest and when I saw your cookie already entered, I chose not to enter one of mine. I have been just waiting to hear the good news that you won. I can't believe that someone did that. Unbelievable.

  25. caitlin says

    I just saw a copy on cake central and commented on the cuteness of it, but i'd rather compliment the creator!
    It's a wonderful cookie and I'm so glad you posted instructions as i'd love to make this for my family cookie exchange!

  26. Chic Cookies says

    Awww, thanks Caitlin! one of my readers (and cookie decorator extraordinaire, Tracy LH) had told me about all the copies of this design on Cake Central, so I did a little hunt today. I so appreciate comments like yours! I don't mind at all if others use my ideas as I find inspiration elsewhere all the time, but I always like to credit my sources of inspiration, too!

  27. Kara says

    I just found this post…I've had people copy my designs (not unusual, but it was someone in the same town, not cool.) I've also had people take my watermarked pictures from my website and put them on their sites! Oh, and then there was the person who stole the text off of my homepage and put it on hers, and also used my business name to boot. People have no boundaries when they're not creative. I always try to give credit if I've used someone else's work for inspiration or if a bride brings me a picture of another cake to work with, but some people don't feel that they should have to do that. It's just rude, if nothing else.

  28. KatrinkaJane says

    Is it sad that my mother raised us to put © and the date on all of the pictures we drew and papers we wrote? Yes, as children. 😀 I'm in my 30's now, so we weren't dealing with internet theft…just paranoia. 😉 LOL

  29. Chic Cookies says

    Urgh to those people Kara!! Wow. Insane!! I'm banging my head on the keyboard now. I just. Don't. Get. It. Which is why, KatrinkaJane, that copyrighting your childhood artwork is brilliant. I just laughed out loud.

  30. MKoz says

    Hi! I just found YOUR Mr. Melty and fell in love. I am going to make these for our Christmas Cookie Swap. Just love the idea! You get an “atta girl”.

  31. Sherryl says

    It’s upsetting that someone would claim your work as their own! It goes against morals to claim someone else’s worm for your own. I use information. That I discover on websits as a springboard to make my own for my grandchildren but would never think to steal your work and call it my own! That takes a lot of guts and that person should be called out!

    • meaghanmountford says

      Aaww, THANK YOU Joyce!!!! It always means so much to me when readers have my back. It encourages when there is much to discourage out there :) !!

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