Barbie As Art

by TChris

In a victory for individual expression over the interests of big business, Mattel's lawsuit against artist Tom Forsythe for copyright and trademark infringement has come to an end. Mattel didn't like the way Forsythe photographed his Barbie dolls (posed nude in provocative stances next to household appliances). Forsythe says he was making a point about "Barbie's power as beauty myth" and "crass consumerism." Mattel, on the other hand, hoped to wield its financial might to protect Barbie's honor.

Art won -- and won big -- as a federal court, after a series of appeals, not only ruled in Forsythe's favor but concluded that Mattel's failure to recognize protected parody resulted in a frivolous lawsuit. The court ordered Mattel to pay Forsythe more than $1.8 million in attorney's fees.

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