The Daily BarbieTM

Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc.

Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour
To Air on PBS Week of July 14

Journalist Susan Stern's balanced, witty documentary Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour briefly flashes one of artist Mark Napier's images, "Fat and Ugly Barbie" and mentions Mattel's recent wave of cease-and-desist type letters to web sites and other entities using the Barbie name.

The movie will be shown on the PBS documentary series P.O.V. on the week of July 14 (check local listings).

Won the Battle, Lost the War?

I am told by one of my lawyers that Mattel's failure to respond thus far after over six months to my letter responding to their original letter to me, constitutes a near-defaulting on their original accusation, by the principle of laches (hope I spelled that right). If so, huzzah, huzzah! We have (all but) won! Still, it cost me a good six weeks of productive time in the late fall of '97, and - worse yet - numerous legitimate creative sites with utterly defensible legal positions preemptively folded in the face of Mattel's deep pockets and bullying legal approach.

I am concerned that this imbalance will give heart to other corporate entities eager to limit free discussion of their intellectual property or wares.

My next step at this site will be to organize the links to the various documents and resources contained here, continue to field the ever-increasing flow of Barbie items, and report on breaking corporate-censorship news.


Mark Napier's website, The Distorted Barbie explores the Barbie image and its effect on girls and on society in general. A lawyer representing Mattel has demanded that he remove the site. Soon, I too received a letter from this lawyer, regarding Enterzone, an e-zine I co-founded, which had published an earlier version of Mark's Barbie installation in its episode 7, back in June of 1996. The letter cited 15 U.S.C. section 1125(c) and asserted that this artistic, political, noncommercial discussion of the effects on our culture, and particularly on women and their images of themselves, of a vastly successful mass-produced doll embodying an improbably unlikely and restrictive caricature of a narrow concept of female beauty, somehow dilutes Mattel's Barbie trademark.

I've decided to alert the community of people who believe in free expression of ideas on the Net and who favor an open discussion of issues related to women, by documenting the daily proceedings of the case at this site.

All That Went Down
(My Daily Log from October and November 1997


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