an interesting bit of legal stuff I found while surfing the web... looks like Bratz and Barbie got in a catfight and Barbie came out on top.
Hmm perhaps I've been wrong and there IS a god?
Bratz aren't dead, they were just stolen by Mattel. Mattel could shut them down if they wanted, or they could just keep making them and rake in all those billions of dollars for themselves.
This is a perfect example of why we as artists should be extremely reluctant to sign away our rights when we go to work for a company. Mattel took the rights to a multi-billion dollar franchise because the artist who created happened to come up with the idea on his own time while he was under contract from them. If you're working under a similar contract (and a lot of us in the entertainment industry are), none of your ideas belong to you. Every piece of artwork you create, and any value they contain, is only a lawyer away from belonging to your employer.
never...ever...ever sign an agreement that says your work outside the company is owned by the company. its bullshit. if you work for a company you can agree to sign away rights to your own work outside of company time if they PURCHASE those rights. your salary is not the purchase of those rights. just tell them to strike this clause because you do your own work in your free time and that is why you are able to do the job they are hiring you for. you can, of course, offer those rights to them, but it would be for an additional fee of X. The easiest thing is just to strike the clause.
as is normal with artists, the odds are that he didnt even read his contract.
the fact that companies demand this from artists is pure fucking bullshit. dont sign it. you can negotiate it out of the contract by being firm and honest...and clever if u have to.
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This is good info to have as I work on my "Britz" line. They're like Barbies but with bad teeth...
Seriously though, thank you Jason. I'd have been oblivious.
As far as the earlier "Fucked Up" remark, we waste 2 Bill on stupid Chinese(?) made dolls, probably at Walmart, and then lament that more people don't have medical and that the price of gas is so high... until we spend even more money (collectively) on houses we can't afford 'til the bubble explodes plunging ourselves into a near depression and dragging the Chinese (and everyone else) with us. Then we sit and wonder why poor countries don't like us as C.C. Sabathia gets paid 23 million a year to throw baseballs once week for five months out of the year. And... and... sorry... got another "we'll keep you on file" letter from another dream job and I'm still pissed off that our economy (and job market) are trashed on account of people spending money they don't have on stupid shit like Bratz.
Last edited by Bill; December 14th, 2008 at 08:46 PM.
I worked "with" MGA before too but thanks to 0Kelvin for underlining the important stuff in there.
Re-read your contracts everyone.
Ok, so "dead" isn't the right word, but I'm not sure if "stolen" is either. If it was in the contract and Bratz's inventer signed it then thats that; no stealing required, just regaining what was legally theirs.
Granted it sucks for those on the creative side of things, but if it in some way or another contributes to the removal of dolls that look like crack whores from the shelves then I'm not going to be too peeved about it.
Just another case of sly, underhanded conglomorate policies at work.
A world without art is a world without color.
if a person is lucky enough to make something on their own while slaving away at a corporate job, and it becomes successful enough for that person to be able to embark out on their own and become successful in their own right, well thats a success story in my opinion. regardless of what it may be. i feel like a large part of this country's success has been based out of this principal.
this is what a lot of creatives dream about, to design their own universes, tell their own stories, make something they want to make... regardless of what it is. i mean, are you saying bratz is less sexually suggestive than he man? you can take the conservative argument, about how they look like sluts and encourage girls to look like sluts, but come on man, where do we draw the line then? what about britney or miley, how bout that chick from high school musical? if i was going to attack the entertainment industry for setting a bad example by selling sex to kids, honestly, i dont think Bratz would be very high up on my list. stop hating. this situation is seriously fucked up, and a scary reminder of how creatives continue to be buttraped by large corporate entities.
There are two arguments being used in the same breath and they really have nothing to do with each other. How these dolls effect society, or how society has effected these dolls is besides the point. The content created by an artist that got screwed does not justify said artist getting screwed over.
Now, if you want to get into the separate subject of sociology then that is solved easily. There is no doubt that many medias have an influence on a child's socialization. Music, school, tv, toys, boardgames, etc all play a part. But the thing is that its not so much that these things create a broken society or a person with a distorted view of reality, its the other way around. Art reflects life. The "slutty" society created the Bratz. Most likely it was subconscious, the artists involved are not trying to turn all of our daughters into sluts. But even all that is convoluted because Bratz are not even supposed to represent a real girl. Same with Barbies, there is no doubt that they have influence on children, but they are an abstraction not a clone of reality.
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El Coro spoke exactly what I was thinking. Bratz don't appeal to me, but they did to some kids. I don't think they were "whorish", they were just based on a more urban/hip-hop/whatever style (and if you are so conservative as to confuse the two then you have issues).
"Legal" and morally right are rarely the same thing. Mattel STOLE Bratz, plain and simple. I can understand why companies add those clauses, they don't want their employees saving good ideas for themselves and making competing products. Let's be real though, Barbie would never have put out Bratz. Never. They may be putting out their own slightly more updated/urban line now that Bratz has proven that Barbie only appeals to a small set of young girls, but likely only because Bratz forced them to take notice of shifting tastes.
I think a much more reaonable clause for these companies should be to give them first option to pursue an idea that an employee comes up with (and pay appropriately), and if they don't take it then no further restrictions should apply. I think courts should protect the individuals as much as they do corporations and rule clauses like Mattel's as illegal. The main problem is there are no (or few) artist organizations that look out for us the way corporations look out for themselves when it comes to lobbying law makers.
Artists and other creatives need to band together to protect our rights, or they'll continue to slip away to profit large corporations.
That's the thing though, I HOPE the clause was indeed in her contract. Otherwise, every creative out there, whether they are artists or programmers, designers, etc. COULD be bullied by this kind of legal asshatery. I just hope this won't be a court ruling that will facilitate future similar cases.
Seeing the thing as this, i see how this sucks, although I don't like the Bratz-franchise in itself. Fucking creative people over like that is wrong.
Who needs company men and women when you can just sue the crap out of anybody they are disloyal with. Its crap that people mean nothing, and that our legal system does not just allow it, it supports the problem with cases like this.
Over a hundred million dollars being thrown around in a court case, implications of around a billion. Wow, I know it happens frequently but wow. Does this even matter to Carter Bryant? It says he came up with the original four, but the others were "spin offs" so I would think he only gets royalties now. MGA is being hurt, and Mattel used an evil line of contract to do it, but it doesn't say Carter Bryant will pay anything in settlement. Don't get me wrong the contract is greedy and emotionless. Really though Bratz are more a product of environment and luck. What I think is outrageous is that corporate lobbyists have more power than common sense. Is it worth the bill for four years of court fees to pursue this? The case should have been over in far less time. If they would just pay the employees more I'm sure the wouldn't need to spend the same money using backdoor legal tricks, the employees would just work with their employer.
If anything the Bratz line supports bratyness. . . But that does not matter, only the company profits matter. I wonder where the discontent with our market society will lead.
I don't know the details on this so this is a nonsarcastic question... Did this cost the original artist any money? Obviously if she were getting royalties from MGA then that's out the door. I also assume that if she had had any secondary rights after her deal with MGA that those are gone. If, though, she sold the design for a flat fee to MGA I wonder if she somehow has to give up that fee as a result of this?
Coro, lets put this into context. Immagine that I was working at Massive Black (seeing as to seem to despise my thoughts on these things I kind of doubt my chances, but please bear with me for the reason that its a hypothetical example) Now immagine that while working for MB a project came through and I needed to design some sort of zombie post-apocalyptic world and at one point or another while sitting arround home came up with some really awesome idea for how part of the game could look, but realise that I could make even more money if instead of submitting the idea to my employer or incorporating it into my artwork for the project I instead kept it to myself untill I found someone else to submit it to and made a bundle on a product that directly competes with the project Massive Black had been working on. Meanwhile the project that I could have been contributing to and if I had any pride in my duties as an employee would have been, tanks due to the competition that I created.
This is a different issue than the legal side of things, but where I draw the line in my mind is where the portrayal is of a minor designed to look like a and then sold to minors. I mean, sure, barbie looks like a high dollar hooker but at least she looks like she is of a legal age. The result is kids wanting to be like barbie when they grow up. Bratz on the other hand look like charicatures of preteens/tweens, who are being sexualized in ways that scream of child prostitution. Even the name itself implies a young age and unacceptable behavior. This isn't something for young girls to want to be when they grow up but examples telling them how they could be now.i mean, are you saying bratz is less sexually suggestive than he man? you can take the conservative argument, about how they look like sluts and encourage girls to look like sluts, but come on man, where do we draw the line then?
Britney actually is great just because of how low she has gone. Seeing as she has become an entertainment trainwreck I see no reason in hiding her. She's like one of those "brain on drugs" commercials relabled as "this is your life on sluttyness"...complete with shaved head and disgusting lack-of-panty shot climbing out of vehicle. Sure, she was pretty horrible an example when she was at the top of her game, but now she can be used as an example of where that leads.what about britney or miley, how bout that chick from high school musical? if i was going to attack the entertainment industry for setting a bad example by selling sex to kids, honestly, i dont think Bratz would be very high up on my list.
As for where Bratz was on my list, it was a sign of how low society had sunk. Sure there was Britney and Miley and all the other junk, but that was entertainment. It wasn't being sold directly to the parents or to the kids but instead was something on tv. There was at least a feeling of remoteness to it. Bratz on the other hand were an exchange of merchandise. Unlike before where parents were paying for a channel that happened to have teenybopper sluttyness in it they were forking over money specifically for a preteen in a box to hand to their little girl as a present on Christmas.
Stop hating who? The only thing that I disliked in this whole process was the dolls. I don't hate the individual that came up with them. I don't hate the corporate entities involved either. To be more specific this is a story about a creative individual buttraped by a large corporate entity for selling out to another corporate entity. I agree, its fucked up. However its fucked up all around and its not like it was just some innocent creative hero in a white robe who was a human sacrifice on the altar of corporate greed. Because it is fucked up all around no body is better than anyone, leaving no one specific bad guy to hate. But because of this mess with people who I feel neither love nor hate for, with corporate entities on both sides of the fray, I can only look at the outcome; that these events have caused a line of products that I only felt disdain for to suffer and that they may be removed from production.stop hating. this situation is seriously fucked up, and a scary reminder of how creatives continue to be buttraped by large corporate entities.
Last edited by Peter Coene; December 19th, 2008 at 05:27 PM.
How the hell do these threads end up like this...umm you know what, nevermind... -_-;;;
I design footwear, and the company I work for wanted me to sign an "Intellectual Property" agreement that was so vague it would have covered the cartoons and illustrations I do in my spare time. I refused until they changed the definition of "IP" to be specific to footwear only.
So yeah... you gotta be smart before signing those things.
But on the subject of BRATZ possible demise... I can't say I'll miss them. Its one less stereotype for little girls to emulate.
Last edited by shannanigan; December 19th, 2008 at 07:52 PM.