Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beastie Boys, GoldieBlox Settle Lawsuit Over "Girls" Ad

By Sam Levin
Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 10:56 AM

The legal fight between the Beastie Boys and the Oakland-based toy company GoldieBlox has come to a close, according to a filing posted yesterday by the Shades of Gray copyright blog. The filing does not include any details of the settlement, but in a statement to the Express, a GoldieBlox spokesperson said that as part of the agreement, the company will post an apology on its website and will pay a percentage of its revenues to one or more charities selected by the Beastie Boys that support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education for girls.

The news comes four months after GoldieBlox — which manufactures toys for girls that emphasize science, technology, engineering, and math — first posted its ad parodying the Beastie Boys song "Girls" (swapping out lyrics like Girls - to do the dishes/Girls - to clean up my room with Girls - to build the spaceship/Girls - to code the new app). The video went viral, receiving more than 8 million views on YouTube in just ten days. 

The Beastie Boys noted that they did not give permission for the company to use their song in its advertisement, and said they decided long ago they would not allow their music to be used in any product ads.

Screenshot of now removed viral
  • Screenshot of viral "Girls" video.

Attorneys for GoldieBlox, however, argued that its video constituted fair use, because the "GoldieBlox Girls Parody Video takes direct aim at the song both visually and with a revised set of lyrics celebrating the many capabilities of girls." With a new recording of the song and different lyrics, the video had "exactly the opposite of the message of the original," the company said in court filings. Regardless, GoldieBlox eventually took down the video (re-publishing it without the "Girls" song), but the Beastie Boys moved forward with its claim of copyright infringement in December. 

Attorneys for the Beastie Boys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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