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You Don't Own Me

How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie's Dark Side


Orly Lobel (Author)

Our Retail Price:£20.00

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The question of whether our ideas are our own or our employer’s set off the greatest toy war of our time.

When Carter Bryant began work on 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. Orly Lobel reveals the colourful story behind the ensuing decade-long court battle.

This entertaining and provocative work pits MGA against Mattel, shows how an idea turns into a product and explores the two different versions of womanhood represented by Barbie and her rival. Lobel’s story is a thought-provoking contribution to the debate over creativity and intellectual property as American workers may now be asked to sign contracts granting their employers the rights to and income from their ideas.


“At its core, You Don’t Own Me is an exploration of a relatively dry topic: the intellectual property regime. Yet in the hands of Lobel… this case study in who should benefit from an employee’s creativity becomes something of a page-turner.” — Financial Times

You Don’t Own Me is an extended case study that’s fascinating and consequential thanks to Lobel’s storytelling skill. Through her descriptions of flamboyant personalities and outrageous corporate scheming, she elevates the story of a protracted legal case into a page-turner that holds up a lipstick-pink mirror to both American consumer culture and corporate misbehaviour.” — Times Higher Education

“In a crisp, conversational style, Lobel plots the twists and turns of the unfolding court cases. […] Lobel tells a vivid tale of corporate war.” — Times Literary Supplement


Winner — Thorsnes Prize, 2018

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