Court rules on Naked Barbie: We know art when we see itLink
An artist's use of the iconic Barbie doll in photographs depicting the Mattel toy without clothing and being assaulted by kitchen appliances is protected as "free speech" says a US Circuit Court. Upholding a decision by a lower court, the court of appeals said the works are obvious parodies and do not infringe on the company's copyright and trademark protection. Mattel had claimed people might think they were responsible for the caricatures and that their availability to the public could damage the brand and even hurt sales. At issue was a 78 image series by Utah artist Thomas Forsythe, shot in 1999 and titled "Food Chain Barbie."
Once widely available online, the series has been the subject of intense legal action by Mattel and only a few images remain available for download. In the latest ruling, a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld an August 2001 ruling by US District Judge Ronald Lew. Following that earlier decision, which Mattel appealed, Mr Forsythe's attorney, Simon Frankel, told the press, "The ruling doesn't mean it's open season (to exploit products by) Mattel, it means there is a certain amount of breathing room for artists who want to use a commercial symbol that has tremendous cultural meaning, for purposes of artistic expression."
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.