We ask you to join us in excercising your First Amendment rights and celebrating a legal victory for artistic freedom… by taking pictures of Barbie in a blender and sending them to us!
“National Barbie-in-a-Blender Day” Exhibit to Open July 27 Supporting Free Speech
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 13, 2004
contact:Nelson Pavlosky, Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons
mobile: 973-580-7510 | email@example.com
Rebekah Baglini, Bryn Mawr College
mobile: 610-405-0420 | firstname.lastname@example.org
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Freeculture.org, an international student movement for Free Culture has organized the “National Barbie-in-a-Blender Day” Campaign to support free speech rights.
The project was inspired by a legal case involving a lawsuit filed by Mattel, maker of Barbie dolls, against Utah-based artist Tom Forsythe. In 1999 Forsythe created a series of photographs, titled “Food Chain Barbie,” portraying nude Barbies in suggestive poses among kitchen appliances. Mattel filed a lawsuit, claiming copyright infringement and demanding that Forsythe stop
selling prints. After five years, the case was finally settled on June 30th, 2004: a federal judge ruled that Mattel pay Forsythe 1.8 million in legal fees and court costs, calling Mattel’s suit “frivolous” and “unreasonable.”
The Forsythe case highlights the increasing challenges faced by those who wish to comment on popular icons, symbols, or cornerstones of culture, most of which are copyrighted by large corporations. “If you want to talk about the problems with society, all of the widely recognized figures are copyrighted,” says Nelson Pavlosky of Freeculture.org. “In the past, cultural icons belonged to everyone…[now] if you want to use a relevant character to critique society, you’ll get burned by companies who can silence you, not by winning in court, but by outspending you and forcing you to cave in or lose all your money.”
Freeculture.org has launched an official site for the National Barbie-in-a-Blender Day project, at www.barbieinablender.org. Users are invited to submit artistic pieces inspired by Forsythe’s “Food Chain Barbie” series to email@example.com for the site’s upcoming gallery of submitted work.
“This project is a response to the free speech victory in the Mattel v. Forsythe case, a rare triumph in a time in which too often elements of our culture are off-limits and fair use rights challenged, ” says Rebekah Baglini of Freeculture.org. “This campaign is a celebration of our free speech rights, rights that we must defend by exercising them.”
Artistic submissions will be accepted at barbieinablnder.org until the opening of the online gallery on July 27th.
Freeculture.org is an international student movement dedicated to defending a free and open cultural space and protecting public intellectual capital from privatization and exploitation. Freeculture.org promotes a bottom-up, participatory structure to society and culture, in which cultural elements are accessible to all citizens for interpretation and innovation. Freeculture.org sees opportunity in technology, opportunity to cultivate this intellectual commons, opportunity to build a culture to support and cultivate the new freedoms that we have found in the digital age.