Carl Stone: Intellectual Property, Artistic License and Free Access to Information in the Age of Sample-Based Music and the Internet

Carl Stone
Excerpt #4

FRANK J. OTERI:Now have you been following the copyright infringement case the courts threw out involving an artist using images of Barbie?

CARL STONE:It’s funny you should ask. I have a whole series of pieces which are based on Barbie. Mattel has been very aggressive in defending just the name Barbie. There have been several cases. There were some films that were done with some Barbie characters…

FRANK J. OTERI:The Karen Carpenter biopic

CARL STONE:Yeah, and they got into trouble. And I think there was this Danish group called Aqua who made a song called “Barbie Girl” which also ran into trouble from Mattel although it was a huge hit in Europe. And just to make things more confused, I actually have this horrified fascination with that song as material for some live performances that I’ve been doing.

FRANK J. OTERI:Have you talked to Mattel about this?

CARL STONE:I haven’t talked to Mattel. Let them try and get me. (laughs) Well, the words Barbie or Ken do not appear in any of the pieces that I do, so I don’t think Mattel should be particularly concerned.

FRANK J. OTERI:Well they can’t possible own the names of Barbie or Ken. I have a close friend named Ken.

CARL STONE:You may say that, and I may say that, but Mattel may assert otherwise. Or they may assert that maybe the name Barbie juxtaposed against Ken may somehow cause some trademark infringement. I don’t know. I haven’t studied that case closely. Actually, I just know just from the headline that the group got into trouble.