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You Don't Own Me

How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie's Dark Side
Narrated by: Karen White
Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When Carter Bryant began designing what would become the billion-dollar line of Bratz dolls, he was taking time off from his job at Mattel, where he designed outfits for Barbie. Later, back at Mattel, he sold his concept for Bratz to rival company MGA. Law professor Orly Lobel reveals the colorful story behind the ensuing decade-long court battle.

This entertaining and provocative work pits audacious MGA against behemoth Mattel, shows how an idea turns into a product, and explores the two different versions of womanhood, represented by traditional all-American Barbie and her defiant, anti-establishment rival - the only doll to come close to outselling her. In an era when workers may be asked to sign contracts granting their employers the rights to and income resulting from their ideas - whether conceived during work hours or on their own time - Lobel's deeply researched story is a riveting and thought-provoking contribution to the contentious debate over creativity and intellectual property.

©2018 Orly Lobel (P)2018 Gildan Media

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This book isn't actually about a lawsuit

I was more than halfway done with this book, and I realized that the author wasn't that interested in the reason I bought this book: the litigation between Mattel and MGA. The alleged premise of the book is not much more than an excuse for the author to deliver her sophomoric feminist critique of Barbie and state her belief in the importance of artistic freedom. To the extent she does address the parties in the case, it's cartoonish. MGA's CEO is a charming rogue of an immigrant success story. The guy who created the Bratz concept is a hero for taking a job with Mattel, hating the actual job but refusing to leave it, and then using his connections within the company to help produce his new product while drawing a paycheck from Mattel. Despite all this, the author proceeds from the theory that Mattel was nothing but an anti-freedom corporate bully for purposes of this case. The author clearly picked a side before starting the project; this is an anti-Barbie book more than it's a book about a lawsuit. If I had known that, I would not have bothered.

And to top it all off, the author doesn't bother explaining intellectual property law, California contract law, or labor & employment law, and doesn't appear to have a good handle on the differences. In a book about a LAWSUIT. She conflates patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets laws and never tells the reader the significant differences about these bodies of law, their origins, and the authorities that govern them. "Inventor" and "creator" are used interchangeably and carelessly, despite the significant differences between patent and copyright laws. There's an exhaustive discussion about "fair use" and the First Amendment but no indication that these legal doctrines were actually an issue in the lawsuit that this book was allegedly about.

There's undoubtedly an interesting story in the legal case of Mattel v. MGA, but it's not here.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An extensive portrait of the saga of Matel trials

I found this book a bit long and depressing, but very pertinent and informative. You can tell by the multidimensional nature of the story - because of the many points of view involved in the trials, all of them being adressed and thoroughly represented by the author- how extensively she researched her topic. She also has a talent for depicting all of her protagonists through very succinct and effective observations that make them come alive for the readers. Overall, I found "You don't own me" very interesting. It introduced me to a new universe I never thought of exploring before. I learned a lot of things too. I enjoyed the journey.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I'll never look at Barbie the same way again.

intriguing book about Barbie and Bratz. A lot of history between Mattel and MGA. It's incredible.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful