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Utah artist can use Barbie in photos, U.S. court says

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)— A Utah artist can continue using Barbie dolls in his photographic renderings, some of which depict the doll wrapped in tortillas or posed in sexual positions, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Last week's ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, made public Thursday, upholds a judge's decision to deny Mattel's request to bar Tom Forsythe from using the doll in his photographs and from selling the photos as postcards.

El Segundo-based Mattel's lawsuit accuses Forsythe of copyright and trademark infringement. The artist maintains he has fair use based on artistic expression and free speech rights.

Mattel wanted the court to order Forsythe to hand over all the negatives of his work so they could be destroyed.

The appellate panel did not elaborate on its ruling, but the decision is an indication that Mattel's lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles is not likely to succeed.

Forsythe of Kanab uses Barbies to "to critique the materialistic and gender-oppressive values he believes the doll embodies," according to a statement Thursday from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which is representing Forsythe.