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December 29, 2003

Mattel v. Walking Mountain [8:15 pm]

An entertaining decision from the Ninth Circuit: Mattel v. Walking Mountain Productions (Findlaw’s link) (summarized in this Reuters news item: Court Rules Nude Barbie Photos Are Free Speech) — see a sample of "Food Chain Barbie" at Illegal Art — www.creativefreedomdefense.org is his WWW site, but it’s timing out tonight — a Googling finds the exhibit at his domain, but it’s not responding.

A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a Utah artist’s right to make nude photos of Barbie dolls being menaced by kitchen appliances.

Noting the image of Barbie dolls is “ripe for social comment,” a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected toymaker Mattel Inc.’s appeal of a lower court ruling in favor of lampooning the popular doll.

The San Francisco-based appeals court ruled that naked photos of Barbie made by Kanab, Utah, artist Thomas Forsythe were meant to be a parody and could not affect demand for Mattel products.

Even better, from the opinion:

On cross-appeal, we VACATE and REMAND the Los Angeles federal district court’s decision to deny Forsythe attorney’s fees under the Lanham and Copyright Acts. [slip op. p. 18207]

Update: From SFGate — Appeals court tosses lawsuit targeting Barbie lampooner; also, the Scrivener’s Error writeup: More Barbie News

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