Mattel Now Using Song In Commercial... Which It Once Sued Over Copyright Infringement

from the change-of-heart? dept

Back in 1997, the band Aqua released a song called "Barbie Girl," that was actually somewhat critical of "Barbie doll" culture. Mattel, famous for its rather aggressive intellectual property stance, wasted little time in suing the band, claiming the song infringed on the company's rights. In 2002, everyone's favorite appeals court judge (seriously, the guy never fails to entertain) Alex Kozinski told Mattel too bad, parody songs are a part of what you get for being a cultural icon -- and included the classic line: "The parties are advised to chill."

It took seven years since that decision, but apparently Mattel had decided to heed Judge Kozinski's suggestion. Reader Sallo alerts us to the news that Mattel has actually licensed the song for a commercial -- though, they "adjusted" some of the lyrics to make it a little more pro-Barbie, rather than mocking-Barbie. Still, that's quite a jump: from suing the band for infringement to actually licensing and using the song in just a few years.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    senshikaze (profile), Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 11:42am

    I'm not sure why, but i find it hilarious that they would use this song for an ad. just goes to show that nobody actually understands lyrics. Its like the words are just their to fill out the music.

     

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    Designerfx (profile), Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    eh, I can't help but wonder if this is a direct strike at Aqua.

    Maybe we'll see Mattel not try to bankrupt Bratz next.

     

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    Another AC, Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 12:21pm

    Trademark vs Copyright

    it is kind of fun watching them eat eachother alive.

    Mattel did not like it that someone used their trademark against them, now copyright is being used against the people who wrote it as I am sure they love the fact that the lyrics have been changed to promote the product.

    but who knows everyone sells out these days so they are probably happily off to the bank.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    I have seen/hear the commercial and knowing the legal history was impressed egos could be put aside and real commercial venture between the two parties could work generate such synergy

    I am sure Aqua is laughing their asses off over the whole thing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    They changed the lyrics significantly, so Mattel almost certainly understands them. It's just that the song is way too incredibly iconic to pass up the opportunity to make it their own and turn it to their own ends. They're relying on the fact that most OTHER people won't have understood the lyrics and thus won't laugh their asses off at the irony.

     

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    hexjones (profile), Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 12:38pm

    Little kids haven't heard that song yet. Even if they did, most people only pay attention to the chorus anyway. Remember when everyone was using "My Futures so Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" or whatever it's called? A song about nuclear apocalypse used for graduation ceremonies.

    I've seen the commercial too. It fits right into the Barbie thing.

     

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    Benjie, Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 12:46pm

    Just saw this

    Saw this commercial last night, Laughed a good one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Trademark vs Copyright

    The linked note states that a licensing deal was agreed on.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 1:11pm

    Loving the new range of movement Barbie has, btw.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    Off Topic: I love it when I am at a sporting event and hear "Lets Get it Started" by the Black Eyed Peas.... originally it was "Lets Get Retarded"

    On Topic: People tend to be clueless about lyrics.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 1:48pm

    What they wanted all along...

    ...Mattel has actually licensed the song for a commercial...

    Changing the song's lyrics and using it for a commercial is probably what they wanted all along. They just thought they could do it with a lawsuit rather than having to actually pay for it.

     

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    Stephen, Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    Hmm

    I thought I'd heard the jingle while watching TV the other day.

     

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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 7:38am

    Coincidence

    I saw this Barbie commercial over the weekend and even commented to my wife how ironic it was that they were using the "Barbie Girl" song that they had tried so hard to get pulled from the radio. Also, afterward I couldn't stop humming Ace of Bass' song, The Sign... I guess they were from the same time period?

     

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