The Disputed Barbie

When putting together episode 7, I asked Mark Napier if he had anything for us. He told me he was working on a project at his site called The Distorted Barbie. I looked it over and asked if we could mirror it in Enterzone. The early version of that site appeared in that episode.

Six months later we were working on episode 9 and I hit Mark up for content again. This time he told me that he had some new material he'd been adding to his original Barbie site, called Symbology. We ran it.

Roughly nine months after that, Napier received a letter from a lawyer representing Mattel, demanding that he (or his Internet service provider) remove the Barbie-related pages. Mark has written about this experience of corporate censorship at his own site. Meanwhile, anonymous well wishers took it upon themselves to circulate a Distorted Barbie Meme Manifesto, inviting everyone on the Net to set up their own mirrors of Mark's threatened site.

About a week later Enterzone also received a letter from the same lawyer, accusing us of diluting Mattel's trademarks (something we are not actually doing, since these works of art make fair use of the trademarked properties, commenting on them and parodying them in a noncommercial context). I refused to censor Enterzone to satisfy the phony charges and instead set up a page to keep track of the situation called The Daily Barbie, and a mailing list ( for the artists under siege to use to rally together.

To do our part, we've set up a mirror of Napier's threatened site and we encourage interested readers to download their own copies of the Distorted Barbie and mirror it yourselves.


Copyright © 1998
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