Another victim falls to the tyranny of Mattel.
May 26, 2000 9:48 PM   Subscribe

Another victim falls to the tyranny of Mattel. What's really strange about this is that, to my knowledge, Barbie is a name. If someone names their kid Barbie, will they too receive a C&D from Mattel? Hmm...

Well, if you want to read the C&D its here.
posted by deckard (7 comments total)
Is it just me or is anyone else scared at the amount of corporate ownership there is in the culture of America. I remember reading the stories of Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox as a kid. No company owned these characters, they became the property of society.

Now when Disney's copyright on Mickey Mouse comes up. The US Government hands soemthing that should be part of the public domain right back to them. It makes me worry that my three month old son will have no folk hero's of his own to enjoy with out the trademark of some company being firmly branded on his dreams.

posted by DragonBoy at 10:59 PM on May 26, 2000

the irony I see here is that corporations spend billions of dollars trying to raise their product brands to the status of icon, and then when they become iconic enough that the public at large begins using the term *as* an icon, they sue.

apart from that, I'm just spitting over this, of course.

what's going on with (and any other efforts out there?)

we as a community need some organization, a one-stop site with information about dealing with these things, and I think we also need to come up with a community action plan.

what media folks are likely to be friendly to covering this kind of thing? what concerted effort can we make as a community (mail-in, phone-in, etc) that is apt to make a difference?

posted by rebeccablood at 11:12 PM on May 26, 2000

Well that's not a Cease & Desist, they want the name transferred to slimy-ass Mattel....

For a measly $70 reimbursementfor all their hard work.

I like the line "Mattel wishes to exploit the name Latina Barbie"......that gave me a chuckle.

I sooooo wanna get out of the "dot-com" realm. Let the American businesses world take them all..... How does "EricBrooksDotPersonalF**kingSite" sound to everybody?????
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 12:26 AM on May 27, 2000

It’s difficult to know what to do in situations like these. Given the strength of the Barbie trademark (unusual word, very well known globally) I think Mattel has a far stronger case than Naked Juice (common words, small market) did. I'm not necessarily saying they have the right to the domain, morally, but legally they do appear to have a leg to stand on. The Domain Name Handbook lists dozens of domains currently in dispute over their similarity to registered trademarks.

In my totally non-legal opinion, it may well come down to whether Mattel already own a trademark on the term Latina Barbie. If they do, current decisions seem to suggest a court would award them the domain. If they don’t, it may well be fair game. Barbie Benson (warning: porn site) got to keep, though I can't seem to find any info suggesting the case actually made it to court (which would mean Mattel backed down).

All of which is my roundabout way of saying that some lawsuits are justified, even if they come from big business. If Mattel does own a trademark on Latina Barbie then they certainly have the right to have their day in court, and maybe even if they don't.

[The c&d, on the other hand, should be ripped into tiny pieces and flung out the nearest window. Nobody should have the right to snatch a domain because of the possibility of a typo.]

As for a domain and trademark site, we're in the process of formulating our ideas now. Anyone else wanting to get involved is encouraged, as always, to drop me a line.
posted by Georgina at 1:43 AM on May 27, 2000

I should add, in case that was unclear, that the "we" I mentioned is not but a different, as-yet-unnamed project composed of Dan (dhartung), Amanda (wiremommy) and Georgina (georgina) (me).

I didn't mean to sound like I was speaking for DI. :)
posted by Georgina at 1:52 AM on May 27, 2000

Hey, G. :)

Yes, the basic problem is that with the 1998 White House white paper on domain name management, supporting trademark owners' rights became an official US policy. That has been reflected with a growing consistency in court decisions, and ICANN's dispute resolution procedures, and the 1999 anti-cybersquatting act. Mattel will probably handily win this one if it goes before a judge, no matter how non-profit the site is.

Right now there is nobody speaking to Congress, the White House, or ICANN about individual publishers' rights. I urge everyone interested in this issue to get an at-large ICANN membership, because nominating rules will be voted on soon and self-nomination is open (although I urge the community to get behind at least one candidate; I wonder who might be out there in terms of net.celebs). A good site to be aware of is ICANNwatch.

This MUST become a political priority for people. Fighting these skirmishes one at a time is futile, given the heavy imbalance in favor of trademark owners and the commonly deep pockets at their disposal.
posted by dhartung at 11:31 PM on May 27, 2000


I'm shocked!

Posting a link, right here on MetaFilter, where anyone might just wander along and download it, to a site...

that wants to download the Comet Cursor plug in to my browser. How dare you?! :-)

Some people... furrfu.
posted by baylink at 10:05 AM on May 28, 2000

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