The Toy Company Fighting The Beastie Boys Has Given Up

The start-up GoldieBlox will take its parody of the Beastie Boys song “Girls” out of an ad for its line of girl-focused building toys and ask the group for a truce in their copyright fight, GoldieBlox
said in post Wednesday on its company blog.

The decision comes a little less than a week after GoldieBlox filed a lawsuit against the surviving members of the hip-hop trio that claimed the group’s attorneys threatened a copyright suit over the GoldieBlox video ad, which parodied the original Beasties Boys ode to female domesticity with new lyrics promoting female empowerment.

The video had amassed more than 8 million YouTube views by Monday, but has since been pulled from the site.

Here’s the letter GoldieBlox wrote to Beasties Boys members Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Mike “Mike D” Diamond on its blog:

“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”

GoldieBlox’s video won praise across the internet for promoting new opportunities for young girls, who could “build a spaceship” or “code the new app” instead of the cleaning tasks the Beastie Boy originally sang about in 1987.

Then, this past weekend, news broke that GoldieBlox filed a lawsuit against the Beasties asking a California judge to rule it didn’t infringe the Beastie Boys’ copyright and alleging that the Beasties had threatened a lawsuit.

The Beastie Boys fired back soon after with an open letter in The New York Times, saying that they did not threaten a lawsuit, but were merely asking why the song was used without their permission.

Others pointed out that the group has been staunchly opposed to its music being used in product ads, and that the will of Adam “MCA” Yauch, a group member who died of cancer in May, explicitly prohibits his music being used in commercials.

If nothing else, the entire saga is something of a media coup for both sides of the spat. The small start-up GoldieBlox permeated the public consciousness with a huge viral ad and major news story, and the Beastie Boys had an old song introduced to a new generation while they stayed true to their old fans with a compassionate, yet anti-corporate stance.

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