Beastie Boys vs. Goldie Blox

If you've been on social media at all lately, I'm sure by now you've seen the viral video for the toy company with the girls and their Rube Goldberg apparatus set to the Beastie Boys tune, "Girls."  The video encourages girl to break the princess and dolly mold by showing smart, resourceful girls putting their engineering skills to work.  The song was redone as a parody, and is fair use according to GoldieBlox. The Beastie Boys see it another way.  This case is super interesting, I think.

The ball was set in motion when,according to The Hollywood Reporter, The Beastie Boys threatened the toy company with copyright infringement.

According to GoldieBlox, they feel that the  commercial is a parody of the bands' "highly sexist song", so they argue that it's protected by the Fair Use Doctrine.

Ad-Rock and Mike D, of the band, wrote an open letter to GoldieBlox:

 Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial “GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys,” we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad. We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.

As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads. When we tried to simply ask how and why our song “Girls” had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.

Interesting, huh?  Seems as though GoldieBlox reacted unreasonably, like they got their hand in the cookie jar and are trying to blame someone else for their mistake.

GoldieBlox responded with the following open letter:

    Dear Adam and Mike,

    We don’t want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans.

    When we made our parody version of your song, ‘Girls’, we did it with the best of intentions. We wanted to take a song we weren’t too proud of, and transform it into a powerful anthem for girls. Over the past week, parents have sent us pictures and videos of their kids singing the new lyrics with pride, building their own Rube Goldberg machines in their living rooms and declaring an interest in engineering. It’s been incredible to watch.

    Our hearts sank last week when your lawyers called us with threats that we took very seriously. As a small company, we had no choice but to stand up for ourselves. We did so sincerely hoping we could come to a peaceful settlement with you.

    We want you to know that when we posted the video, we were completely unaware that the late, great Adam Yauch had requested in his will that the Beastie Boys songs never be used in advertising. Although we believe our parody video falls under fair use, we would like to respect his wishes and yours.

    Since actions speak louder than words, we have already removed the song from our video. In addition, we are ready to stop the lawsuit as long as this means we will no longer be under threat from your legal team.

    We don’t want to spend our time fighting legal battles. We want to inspire the next generation. We want to be good role models. And we want to be your friends.


    Debbie + Team GoldieBlox

Frankly, I'm not impressed with GoldieBlox's response.  They never actually apologize for blatantly ripping off a song from a band that never wanted their songs in any advertisements.   I feel like they're acting like scolded children.  What do you think?

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