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Let’s say you’re an executive at Mattel and you’re looking to release a line of rock ‘n roll-themed Barbie dolls to celebrate pioneering female musicians. Which musicians would you include?
Blondie singer Debbie Harry? Joan Jett? Cyndi Lauper? Check, check, and check. How about Patricia Day, lead singer of the Danish punk band HorrorPops?
Day is now suing Mattel because she claims that the toymaker came out with a “Hard Rock Barbie” in Spring 2010 that appropriated her likeness: “Long black hair, retro tattoos, red fingernails, fishnets and a decorated bass fiddle (to) give this doll true rockabilly style.”
In a lawsuit filed last week in Indiana District Court, Day says that Mattel got licenses from Harry, Jett and Lauper but failed to get her consent, an omission that she claims was not coincidental at all. One of the Barbie dolls in its hard rock line looked very much like her appearance on the band’s “Hell Yeah!” album, she says, although the doll in question doesn’t refer to Patricia Day by name.
Day says that her artistic efforts over her career were meant to express “her desire to redefine women’s roles in the rock ‘n roll scene — a vision that runs contrary and antithetical to everything for which Mattel’s Barbie doll line stands.”
The Hard Rock Barbie retails for $79.95.
Day wants injunctive relief and unspecified punitive damages.
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