Well, the copyright battle between the Beastie Boys and GoldieBlox seems to be coming near an end. After some misunderstandings and whatnot, GoldieBlox (a toy company with a focus to inspire young girls) has pulled its parody track of Beastie Boys’ 1987 hit “Girls” from the ad.
Although GoldieBlox is right, in my opinion, of assuming that their take on the song falls within the copyright laws of parody, the matter falls into respect territory. Long ago, the Beastie Boys agreed to never allow their music to be sold and used in ads. So entrenched was this belief in the Boys that the late Adam Yauch (aka MCA) included in his will the wish for their music never to be used in an ad.
Once the parody song and ad went viral and came to the attention of the Beastie Boys, they sent a letter to GoldieBlox, and then got sued:
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.
Note: Thein the player above does not feature the “Girls” parody.
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.
Since then, GoldieBlox has pulled the parody song and issued this letter to the Beastie Boys:
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.
…we were completely unaware that the late, great MCA had requested in his will that the Beastie Boys songs never be used in advertising [and] we would like to respect his wishes and yours… 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.
Personally, as sexist as “Girls” is, a fact that GoldieBlox pointed out at one point, the Beastie Boys are far evolved from their juvenile roots. Besides, I think they might have been satirizing gender roles in the first place. At any rate, it’s nice to hear that there are good people in the world that are willing and humble enough to right their wrongs.
Rock Hard \m/