Barbie for big girls.

Sneak Peeks: A Right or a Privilege?

Here we are again folks…about to enter the sticky wicket of debate over Barbie Fan Club (BFC) copyright infringement.

Rant beginning….again.

As we begin a brand new year in the Barbie Fan Club, I want to bring up the issue of sneak peeks.  This is something that is currently being discussed in a few doll forums and I have been talking to fellow collectors and bloggers about it.  Here is the specific issue….we have not seen as many sneak peeks in the last year as in previous years and it is concerning BFC members.  The question is, why the decline?  For those who are not a part of the BFC, and may not be aware of what a “sneak peek” is, let me explain.  A BFC sneak peek is a first look at an upcoming product at Mattel.  These sneak peeks are protected under the rules of the BFC and should not be shared outside of the BFC.  You can recognize these sneak peeks by the huge BARBIE COLLECTOR water mark that runs through the middle of them.  I would show you what I mean but then I would be in violation of that copyright I am talking about.  You can’t miss them though.  If a picture has “Barbie Collector” splashed all over it, IT IS A SNEAK PEEK. 

The rules of the BFC are very, very clear.  When you sign up for the BFC, you agree not to distribute BFC watermarked photos outside the BFC.  This is protected content that people in the BFC have paid extra for.  If you want access to the content,  PAY THE FEE.  Here is where the question of “right vs. privilege” comes in.  It would appear that some members feel that once they pay that fee, they now have the “right” to post these photos wherever they want.  Every time a sneak peek  is released …every time…we see these Barbie Collector watermarked photos show up on Facebook, Pinterest and even on some blogs.  Once it is out there it is like a virus and proliferates.…especially if it shows up on a blog that is viewed by a sizable collector population.  I have a particular problem with bloggers who post these photos.  In my opinion, they are disrespecting the fee-paying, rule-following members of a community they claim to represent.  They are biting the hand that feeds them!  Yes they are providing content but at what price?  They have essentially stolen money from these members by posting images that were intended for members only.  If you are a member of the BFC and are copying and sending these “sneak peek” photos to people outside of the club….STOP!  You are  stealing from your fellow members.  You just reached into the purse of the BFC member next to you and took a buck or two out of their wallet.  Ewwww!

In my mind and that of many others, these sneak peeks are a privilege of membership.  They are a privilege we paid extra money for.  I don’t know about you but I usually like to get the full value out of something I buy.  When these watermarked photos show up outside of the BFC, they devalue the membership and ultimately the club.  Let’s say you just went to a movie and paid the exorbitant $15 bucks they charge for first run movie tickets these days.  Now let’s say someone sits down next to you, pulls out their fantastically enabled camera recording cell phone and proceeds to videotape the entire movie.  You just paid $15 bucks for something many others are going to enjoy for free as soon as rude cell phone recorder gets home and uploads.  It is totally against the law to do this.   Do you report it?  Do you hold that person accountable?  If you just let it go without action, are you not becoming part of the problem?  Not judging…just asking the question.

So…lets get back to the original question….we are not seeing as many sneak peeks.  Why not?  Well, isn’t it conceivable that this is Mattel’s way of dealing with the problem of the sneak peek copyright infringement issue?  They simply won’t release as many or any sneak peeks in advance of product availability.  This could be the direct result of the few who choose, against the rules and the integrity of the club, to post these photos outside of the BFC.  Now all the members who choose to follow the rules and respect the integrity of the club get less because of the actions of a select few.  How do we feel about that?  I don’t know about you but as you have no doubt guessed by now… I feel like I just got royally ripped off. 

So,  if you are a member of the BFC, do you enjoy the privilege of these “sneak peeks” that are a part of your paid membership?  Do you want to try to increase the frequency of, and protect the integrity of, these sneak peeks?  If so, I suggest a call to action.  If you see a watermarked sneak peek on the internet, report it.  Call them out.  Make it public that this is protected content and should not be posted.  When I have done this, I have been told by some of these copyright violators that because I am not a Mattel lawyer, I have no right to tell them what to do.  My response:  ”As a paying member of the club you just ripped off by posting these photos, I have every right to tell you to remove it.”

Okay….rant over.

{And if your guess of how many times I used the phrase “sneak peek” in this post was 16….you get a cookie!}


image source:  wordpress


29 responses

  1. Aleshia

    Wonderful post, Rebecca. Wish you could post this on the BFC.

    January 10, 2014 at 10:20 pm

  2. I am not a member of the BFC, but I totally understand where you are coming from. And I totally agree with everything you said!! Ha! Ha! No, I did not count how many times you said “Sneak Peek”. No cookie for me. But, then again, it would have to be a gluten-free cookie for me anyway. Lol If you send me your e-mail address, I will send you a link for my new blog that I just started. I have never had a blog before so I am still learning how it works. 🙂

    January 10, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    • Already signed up to follow 😉 Welcome to blogging!

      January 11, 2014 at 7:56 am

  3. Wow!! You found me already!! I don’t know how to do that – find someone’s blog. Very cool. I am happy that you are now following me!! I try to get a dress done every week or so. I sell on Ebay. You can usually find me by searching for “Vintage-Inspired OOAK Barbie Fashions by Debi (and then the name of each fashion). I am honored that you are now following me as I have been following you for months now – ever since my friend & mentor, Brenda Visaya, introduced me to YOUR blog!! 🙂

    January 10, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    • Glad you are enjoying the blog and look forward to your posts. 🙂

      January 11, 2014 at 7:56 am

  4. urrgghh

    Here! Here!

    January 10, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    • Thank you! I know this is a hot button issue for many so felt it was time to bring it up again.

      January 11, 2014 at 7:57 am

  5. Bravo Rebecca! I’m sick of seeing the sneak peeks on some Barbie blogs all the time, they should stop! This is not happening with Integrity releases, for sure.

    January 11, 2014 at 12:25 am

    • No, it is not happening with IT releases…and that is telling. I believe that IT polices their policy much better than Mattel. They also spell out the rules very clearly in their emails (information can’t be shared until a specific date and time). It makes things much more black and white as far as expectations.

      January 11, 2014 at 8:01 am

  6. For BFC exclusive pieces I would say yes, it shouldn’t be posted outside But if it is meant to be a general release anyhow, what’s the problem with letting the masses know? I mean, isn’t exposure good for business? I believe Mattel should be able to distinguish the difference. Every collector, member or not, has every right to know what’s coming their way. It should not be a privilege of a few, unless of course, it is a BFC exclusive piece.

    January 11, 2014 at 2:00 am

    • I can see where you are coming from on this Paul but I have to respectfully disagree. The issue is not about limiting access to collectors, it is about early access to information. The BFC has given this early access as a privilege to members who have paid for a club membership. It is a perk. The information on these products does come out to everyone once the product is available. If you want the early access though, you need to pay the fee..AND respect the fact that others have paid money for this access and not share these sneak peek photos. Mattel may very well do away with these sneak peeks altogether and we will all receive information at the same time. That is there prerogative. As of right now, however, they give it as a privilege to the paying members of the BFC and until they change that, I believe we need to respect the members of the BFC and follow the rules set forth by the club.

      January 11, 2014 at 8:13 am

  7. Hi Rebecca- I feel the same way as you do abou tthose sneaks being posted all over the forums and boards. I avoid posting these photos and just love to look at them- but alot of folks out there have no compunction over disregarding the rules, which I guess is why the prices go up and we get less for our money! I really wish you could post this on the Bc message board…

    January 11, 2014 at 3:21 am

    • Thanks Lisa! This issue is being discussed in the forums so keep an eye out. 🙂

      January 11, 2014 at 8:16 am

  8. I’m with you, Rebecca! I’ve felt ripped off by the diminishing “sneak peeks” and I’m taking a step back from the Barbie Collector Club at the moment. I don’t think it’s fair to ask the collectors to police themselves; Mattel should be the one to take action and ban the offenders from the club. JMO.

    January 11, 2014 at 6:20 am

    • Thanks Lisa! I agree, Mattel should be stepping up to the plate. The problem with this, however, is that many of these blogs that post the photos are not club members so they can’t use club expulsion as a deterrent. Because of this, these blogs don’t feel like they have any culpability in posting these photos. Another problem with some of these copyright violators is that they live outside the US. The rules for copyright infringement change between countries and if they are not part of the EU, all bets are off. The real problem is the BFC members who are supplying these blogs with the protected content.

      January 11, 2014 at 8:22 am

  9. Amen, agree with you totally!!!! Thanks for getting it out there. Hugs, Kathy Date: Sat, 11 Jan 2014 05:36:40 +0000 To:

    January 11, 2014 at 6:29 am

  10. pattidolls

    I was guilty of posting watermark pictures but stopped. Now that I understand about the license and how it is illegal, it wouldn’t occur to me to ever post one on my blog. I was told by a mod on that I can post it once the mark comes off.

    January 11, 2014 at 6:46 am

    • Thank you for posting this! We have all been there. The rules of the BFC are not necessarily clear and when we start out in the club it normal to want to share these sneeks because we are all excited about the new products. The point is, you did it, found out it was not allowed…and you stopped. Thank you for respecting the club! This information is available for reposting as soon as Mattel removes the “Barbie Collector” watermark and makes it very easy to share the unwatermarked photos with over 200 different sites.

      January 11, 2014 at 8:27 am

  11. Desu

    Rebecca you are totally rigjt but what about thode doll lovers who love doll as same you love your dolls.I am from India and I love to collect doll but my mis fortune is that no big doll company ship their doll direct to India so I have to purchase these doll in high rate from secondary market likewise I like to be bfc member but bc did not ship out side usa so from where we such collectors go.So if you want to raise your voice pls raise in our favour and you all are those source from which we get news of upcoming dolls and that make our day cheeefull.

    January 11, 2014 at 9:01 am

    • This is a great comment Desu. I am glad you posted it. I am in total agreement with you and other international collectors. It is completely not fair that Barbiecollector does not ship overseas. They don’t even ship to Canada do they? That is soooo not fair. Because of that, I see why purchasing a BFC membership has no appeal. Yes, it should be addressed but unfortunately, I don’t see Mattel changing their policy on this one. So…what can be done? Yes we can voice our concerns but an even better short term solution might be to appeal to the collecting community and find a shipping buddy. I do this for a couple of BFC foreign collectors. A shipping buddy is a BFC member in the US to whom you ship your Barbie Collector items. The shipping buddy receives the items then ships them out to you. Yes, you still have to pay double shipping ( shipping from Mattel to buddy, then shipping from buddy to you) but I bet it might be cheaper than having to go to the secondary market. Also, it is a way to connect with the collecting community. You get to know your shipping buddy. The BFC members I ship to in Europe are among some of my best doll friends. Perhaps a directory needs to be set up on the BFC to connect international collectors with appropriate US shipping buddies. It is definitely an idea. 🙂

      January 11, 2014 at 9:45 am

  12. toto

    I am not the member of BFC, sometimes I buy Silkstone outfits on secondary market, so I should be happy when these sneak peaks are published without permission. I am not from USA, regarding previous comment, so one more reason to be happy.
    BUT, I am NOT! That is not good practice and should be stopped. People should not do things they do not have the right to do, and that’s it, no matter what is the subject and no matter what are the excuses.

    January 11, 2014 at 9:32 am

  13. Jen H

    Well said, Rebecca! If only the offenders would stop, maybe we could get some sneaks…we live and hope:)

    January 11, 2014 at 11:59 am

  14. My understanding is that shortly after (a day or two) the Sneak Peaks are posted to the BFC members, Mattel’s dealers will also be given authorized pictures to place on their websites. There should never to be Barbie Collector watermarked pictures on a dealer’s website. I admit that I have copied a few of their pictures years back, and I was told my BFC account would be taken away if I did it again. In past years, Mattel released pictures to dealers and on their sneak peaks months before the product was released. It’s not so any longer – now you will see pictures released very quickly, first on BFC sneaks with the Barbie Collector watermark I think, then to dealers, then they will be all over ebay as well. There really won’t be much of a “pre-order” timeframe because product will be shipping shortly after the photos are released.

    Ebay sellers are going wild with the new Skipper doll – I cannot believe that they are selling this doll on ebay for at least a week, using pictures from Mattel’s website, or from dealers who have been given the authorized pictures to use, and not taking their own photographs that show the doll that they are selling and what the buyer is actually buying. Mattel is just starting to ship this product to their customers next week (which includes dealers, and will be for sale on Barbie Collector also). I will never understand why Mattel allows their product to be sold on Ebay using their promo pictures so freely….

    Perhaps the shorter timeframe of releasing pictures may be a good thing. I can see how it would level out the selling field to be more even – Barbie Collector, Mattel’s official dealers, and ebay sellers (who basically copy the pictures from official dealers including Barbie Collector) should all get pictures relatively at the same time. I don’t know if I can stand the mystery of not knowing what the dolls look like until two weeks before they are in stores though. Time will tell!!

    That’s my two cents!!!

    January 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm

  15. Deanna

    Thank you for being the voice of reason on this subject Rebecca – BRAVO.

    January 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm

  16. wish I could

    Actually, one of the main reasons there are fewer sneaks in the BFC is because of the Marketing Dept. not approving photos for online distribution in a timely fashion. (But you didn’t hear it from me!)

    January 13, 2014 at 2:33 pm

  17. Pingback: Top Toy Links 17-01-2014 | Sofa Frog

  18. Desu Bohra

    Hi Rebbecca,I am Desu from India and I am a doll collector but unfortunatly I have to purchase doll in very… high price and some times because of very high price in market I cant so I want that if you become my shipping buddy and all terms and condition are yours as you wish and they all are accepted Thankyou.

    January 25, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s