Friday, April 22, 2011

Surprise Verdict in Barbie vs. Bratz Trial

In a surprising turn, Mattel must pay MGA $88.5 Million in Mattel's suit against the Bratz toymaker

From the LA Times:

"In siding with MGA Entertainment Inc. over rival Mattel Inc. in the retrial over who owns the rights to the billion-dollar Bratz doll franchise, a federal jury said the toy giant had not proved its allegations of copyright infringement.

What's more, some jurors said they sympathized with MGA's plight as a small company trying to compete with the industry behemoth.

"I don't think anyone should be able to bully someone and own everything," said juror Nadine Done, 22.
The eight-person jury unanimously rejected Mattel's copyright infringement claims; said Mattel did not own the rights to the dolls, early models or sketches; and said MGA did not steal trade secrets.

Instead, it found that Mattel had stolen trade secrets from MGA and owed MGA $88.5 million. MGA had accused its rival of stealing 114 trade secrets; the jury awarded damages on 26 of them...

...The decision was a major turnabout from the first trial in 2008, when a jury in Riverside awarded $100 million in damages to Mattel in the copyright infringement case; MGA was ordered to turn over the franchise to Mattel and stop making and selling Bratz products."
Also, The Google Image Search here is great :

Interestingly Enough, "Bratz Barbie" gives you higher listed images of active violence such as the above or this image and more sporty contexts, while "Barbie Bratz" tends to show images of catfighting. Catfighting obviously permeates throughout, but it's an interesting note.

Not Airbrushed
From Mattel's previous win in Appellate Court

If nothing else has come of this, the photo groups at a couple of newspapers had some fun with this one.

But don't fear, those of you who want to re imagine this court case in a Dino-Riders style battle royale (PLEASE do this, if you don't I may have to and I really don't have time to build that diorama) there's a really strong chance Mattel will appeal yet again.

Also from the LA Times:
"This time around, jurors heard not only the copyright claims but also accusations from each company that the other side stole trade secrets. Among its claims, MGA accused Mattel of sending employees into its showrooms at industry trade shows to spy on its products. It also said Mattel distributed an internal "how to steal" manual.
Mattel is expected to appeal the verdict if a new trial isn't declared, but toy analysts said doing so could hurt the company's reputation and urged Mattel to walk away.

"If they decide to appeal, I think their stock goes down. At this point everyone wants to move on," said Gerrick Johnson of BMO Capital Markets. "The irony of the whole thing is Mattel brought this case seven years ago, spent about $400 million on it and what did they get in return? The right to pay Isaac Larian $89 million. That's pretty amazing."

Now that a verdict has been reached, the question remains over how viable the Bratz franchise is. Many worry that the brand may be irreparably damaged by years of litigation. On top of that, the fashion doll category has grown more competitive in the last decade, making a total comeback of Bratz unlikely.

Not surprisingly, the two sides blamed each other for Bratz's dwindling value.
"Larian has so lost his focus on his business — he's allowed this property to wither on the vine," Estrich said.

"Mattel killed the Bratz brand," Larian shot back. "It will never be the same level it was before."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

From Alexander Pope to "Splice": a Short History of the Female Mad Scientist

"The mad scientist is an icon of modern popular culture, but critics have traced its origin back centuries. Yet there seem to be few female mad scientists. Which is odd, because the first significant fictional mad scientist was a woman."

Monday, April 11, 2011

NEXT GENERATION DOCS: Social Media and Cross-Platform Storytelling

Wednesday Apr. 27, 2011

6:30 PM

Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute 

New York University 
20 Cooper Square, 6th Floor  

Hosted By New York Women in Film & Television

Digital technology is changing documentary filmmaking. This month the focus is on docs with digital offspring and a great social strategy.

With millions of people active on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, social media has become a new ally during the research and production of a film, and it can keep a project active online long after its launch. The emergence of additional platforms for cross-media storytelling – the Internet, games, mobile TV — is allowing filmmakers to extend their narratives and create completely new ones.  

This panel will explore the potential of all this new technology. We’ll hear how producers harness crowdsourcing techniques (the power of the online crowd) to create innovative projects that deepen documentary storytelling and build social experiences.

Words in Gendered Toy Advertisements

"Crystal Smith @ The Achilles Effect (a site that examines how young boys’ understanding of masculinity affects their perception of femininity) culled a list of words from 59 toy spots directed at either boys or girls and plugged them into Wordle to produce a word cloud illustrating which words are used most often in ads targeting boys (top) versus words used most often in ads targeting girls.
“This is not an exhaustive record,” Smith says, “it’s really just a starting point, but the results certainly are interesting.”

A complete breakdown of the facts and figures can be found here. A follow-up post with responses to common questions and criticisms can be found here."
                                                                                 -Via the Daily What and The Achilles Effect