Tuesday, June 29, 2004

"Free Speech is Hard, Midge. And Costly."

In a triumph for artistes and first amendment lovers everywhere, Judge Ronald S. W. Lew of the Federal District Court in Los Angeles ruled against Mattel, Inc.'s position that artist-photographer Tom Forsythe violated copyright laws by producing provocative images of its doll, Barbie, with a series of household appliances. Forsythe sought to explore "Barbie's power as a beauty myth." Judge Lew ordered Mattel to pay Forsythe's legal fees, which exceed $1.8 million.

Can steamy pictures of Ken and G.I. Joe be far behind?

This case seems to encourage artistic expression, while discouraging legalistic repression.

Judge Says Artist Can Make Fun of Barbie, by Bill Werde, The New York Times, June 28, 2004.