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Posts tagged “Rant

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!}


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