For real. MCA Records put out a song called “Barbie Girl.”(If you haven’t heard the song, lucky you. Not only does it SUCK, it becomes stuck in your head.) Anyway, it doesnt’ paint poor little Barbie in the best light, so Mattel sued MCA for using Barbie’s name without permission. MCA then agreed to place the following language on the album: the song is “social commentary and not created or approved by the makers of the doll.”
MCA’s response: fuhgeddaboutit. “It’s akin to a bank robber handing a note of apology to a teller during a heist. It neither diminshes the severity of the crime nor does it make it legal.” MCA’s response? Not pleased with Matell’s use of the words “bank robber,” “heist,” “crime,” or “theft,” they countersued for defamation!
The Judge ultimately found for MCA Records, and offered this little nugget: “The parties are advised to chill.” The case is Mattel v. MCA Records, 296 F.3d 894 (9th Cir. 2002).