Beastie Boys And Viral Video Makers In Copyright Fight

Earlier this week an incredibly cute and creative commercial video made by toy company GoldieBlox that adapts the Beastie Boys' 1987 hit "Girls" went viral. The video, which has been viewed over seven million times as of press time, shows three young girls using their unwanted toys to create a Rube Goldberg Machine with a parody of "Girls" featuring lyrics about female empowerment as the soundtrack. It seems the Beastie Boys aren't as impressed with the commercial as the internet has been as GoldieBlox filed a lawsuit on Thursday seeking protection from the Beastie Boys' lawyers threats of copyright infringement.

The lawsuit filed by GoldieBlox reads in part, "the Beastie Boys have now threatened GoldieBlox with copyright infringement. Lawyers for the Beastie Boys claim that the GoldieBlox Girls Parody Video is a copyright infringement, is not a fair use and that GoldieBlox's unauthorized use of the Beastie Boys intellectual property is a 'big problem' that has a 'very significant impact.'" The Beasties are the same act that are still fighting lawsuits for samples used on 1989's Paul's Boutique.

What isn't known is how serious the Beasties were in their threats of a lawsuit against GoldieBlox. Is the GoldieBlox motion just another way for the company to receive publicity after a week the company's name was searched on Google hundreds of thousands of times? Considering all of the media outlets, including us, who have picked up on this story, the press may be very worth the lawyer bills. Meanwhile the hubbub has shined a light on just how misogynistic the lyrics to "Girls" are as the commercial replaces such lines as "girls - to do the dishes" with "girls - to build a spaceship." It will be very interesting to see how the judge rules on this one as it may lead to other companies continuing to adapt popular songs for viral videos under the guise of fair use.

If you haven't seen the video in question, take a look:

UPDATE 11/25 11 a.m. PT: Mike D. and Ad-Rock have issued an open letter regarding the situation:

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.

Thom Yorke of Radiohead weighed in on Twitter:

[via Hollywood Reporter]

[Published on: 11/23/13]

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