What College Bakery is saying with that sign is “The risk of being sued is so high that we’ll give up on helping paying customers create their own cakes.” This is Trusted Computing for frosting.
It’s amazing to see signs like this. Equally amazing, though, are the comments posted in the boingBoing thread: lawyers write that IP requires companies to “police” their property or lose it; non-lawyers argue that everything other than a direct copy is non-infringing. Neither is true: copyright is never lost by non-enforcement, and trademark demands policing only against confusing designations of source. Non-identical copies can still be derivative works — either infringing or fair use as the case may be. But at the end of the day, no one’s rights are threatened by “unauthorized” cake decorating. As my colleague Jason notes, the whole discussion shows how polarized the “intellectual property” debates have become — and how far out of touch with ordinary people’s expectations.