Monday, December 17, 2007

My dad played with dolls
(yours did, too)

Amidst everything that's going on, I still have three more finals and two more papers to complete. This is when the reality of the whole taking seven-and-a-half classes thing sets in. However, I did get through my first two big intense finals last week, and this week's are the three two-credit classes, the little "finalettes" if you will. (And I will.)

So I thought I'd share something I've learned in my studies. First of all, Entertainment Law has been the place where I learn the most fascinating tidbits, week in and week out, and as a bonus they are always tidbits about things I care about such as film, music, publishing, and the like. That class has been a joy. I was particularly fond of trademark day. I am unstoppable with trademarks now. Just ask Brian how obsessed I am with the five levels of trademark protection! It's the best.

But here's the interesting tidbit from the licensing lesson: So, it seems that Marvel Comics went to the U.S. Court of International Trade to have the X-Men declared non-human. This, which admittedly barely registered outside the world of comic fans (a small but fervent world), could be a disappointment to those who care about the X-Men, as I believe part of the point is that they are "different" but human. Don't ask me to go any deeper than that -- I'm decidedly not a comics fan, and I went to one of the X-Men movies and thought it was really boring. What I can tell you is about the court decision.

You see, the X-Men action figures are made in China. (Of course they are. You didn't think anything was actually manufactured here in the U.S., did you?) And so Marvel pays a tariff upon importing them. The duty on dolls is 12%. The duty on toys is 6.8%. A figure of a human is a doll. A figure of an animal or non-human creature (robot, monster) is a toy, according to the customs code. So Marvel was pretty excited to save on import duties by having Wolverine et. al. declared, in the words of the Court, "something other than human."

But you know who IS a recognized human, and thus classified as a "doll" and not a toy? G.I. Joe!

See, I told you our dads played with dolls.

1 comment:

Kim Diaz said...

I found this so funny that I read it aloud to my roommate, and she commented about whether Jesus would be considered human or not. I said it would depend on whether your denomination considers him actually divine or not. Then again, a Jesus doll (sounds like a band name) would be considered a religious artifact and probably subject to different tariffs, if any at all. Any knowledge on these laws?