Toy Company Files Suit After Beastie Boys Threaten Action Over ‘Girls’ Video

Goldibox says the group’s song was used fairly after hip-hop outfit takes issue with popular commercial

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Ray Stubblebine / Reuters

Beastie Boys member Adam Horovitz urges on the fans before the New York Knicks play the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York April 24, 2011.

The toy company behind the massively popular video advert featuring a group of young girls building a Rube Goldberg machine to a retooled Beastie Boys hit are seeking legal protection after being threatened with copyright infringement by the hip-hop group.

According to an article in Rolling Stone, GoldiBlox filed a suit in a federal court last week seeking “a declaratory judgment that the video falls within fair use.” The “Princess Machine” commercial featuring a parody of the Beastie Boys 1986 classic “Girls” has received more than 8 million views since it was uploaded to Youtube last week.

Goldibox, which specializes in producing creative construction toys for girls, said they filed the suit after the Beasties Boys’ representatives claimed the firm violated copyright laws.

However, the will of deceased Beastie Boy member Adam Yauch’s reportedly “prohibited the use of his music in advertisements after his death.”

[Rolling Stone]

33 comments
BrainSqueeze
BrainSqueeze

As a parody, there's no doubt it's covered under fair use. The song obviously stands for the exact opposite of the BB's version. If it existed as a parody 'art work' prior the commercial, no matter how successful, then it's covered and the commercial use of it is controlled by that author.

I believe this will hinge on one thing, assuming the parody did NOT exists prior to and was specifically constructed for the commercial. Does such a constructed parody qualify as 'art work'? If so then fair use covers it.

The people have spoken. I think they have pretty good case, since people don't willingly go out of there way to view commercials unless they are recognizing it as 'art work'.

MattLavin
MattLavin

Yeah sorry Goldiblox, you may sell a great product but that doesn't change the fact that you can't use copyrighted material to sell your product.  If it wasn't an ad you'd have a good case, but this is pretty cut and dry.  They don't want you to use it for commercial ventures then you can't use it.  But hey...at least you're getting  publicity.

sefanzed
sefanzed

This isn't fair use.  It's stealing, pure and simple.  If that was the perfect song for the commercial, they should have licensed it (if they could).  This toy company is going to get a big and $$$$ lesson in intellectual property/copyrights.

WagonTrain
WagonTrain

The Beastie Boys are coming out with a new product line for Hanukkah


HornieBox & The Spinning Sex Machine - An award-winning debut story, HornieBox builds a spinning sex machine to help her dog, Lame O, chase some tail. Soon all her friends want in on the action. Help HornieBox build a belt drive spinning sex machine for everybody! A book series plus construction set starring HornieBox, the girl sex toy inventor.
Comes equipped with 16 design ideas and unlimited penetrating possibilities.

THIS IS WHAT PARODY LOOKS LIKE

MrKitty
MrKitty

Goldieblox hopes to win the superbowl ad competition. Maybe this is why they are suing the Beastie Boys preemptively. Where is this threat from the Beastie Boys exactly? If the song is "highly sexist" then why are they using it in the first place? Wouldn't the use of it sell more BB music? The reason is, the song IS the commercial. Turn off the volume and see. Have some respect for the artists who do not want their property used to sell stuff. Even your stuff GoldieBlox. I'm voting for Locally Laid.

DocDante
DocDante

So Goldibox is suing the Beastie Boys?  The Beastie Boys are not suing Goldibox.

Goldibox is stating that their commercial is a parody "an imitative work created to mock, comment on or trivialize.."

Just another example of why we need tort reform in the United States, to stop these lawsuits.

PhillyCannabis
PhillyCannabis

This company does not care about girls. It cares about making money. I am glad they are being sued. If they cared about girls they wouldn't have named it GoldieBox. Kinda sexist.

joelp77440
joelp77440

Simply problem, sue for a few dollars or say nothing and have it blow by without the negative stories.  Now people will not buy their music or go to their concerts (if they have anymore) because they are no lame.  Remember Metallica, biggest bad in the world until they went after Napster. 

First rule of being hip.  Never be on the wrong side of lame. 

MarkBixler
MarkBixler

Goldibox should have asked for permission, period. Also the lyrics are simply disgusting. 

AndrewK777
AndrewK777

Are you effing kidding me? The Beastie Boys made their entire career on sampling (stealing) others music. What a bunch of jerks.

acaffar2
acaffar2

"Goldibox says its use of the group’s song falls under the fair use doctrine after hip-hop outfit takes issue with popular commercial."


FIFY. 

Your use of the phrase "used fairly" completely butchers the name of the fair use doctrine. It's is a term of art and shouldn't be changed. 



RunMonkeyMama
RunMonkeyMama

@PhillyCannabis Wrong.  it was designed by a female engineer who was frustrated with the lack of engineering-related toys targeted at girls.  So she created one.

christiandown
christiandown

@joelp77440 The Beastie Boys can't play anymore concerts, because Adam Yauch is dead. Their back catalogue sells just fine.  Metallica is still gigantic, plus, they were lame before they went after Napster. The Beastie Boys aren't going after a revolutionary website, they're going after a company that is profiting from using The Beastie Boys' music without proper licensing. Which is not hip, and very lame.

#libtardedamerica
#libtardedamerica

@joelp77440

" Now people will not buy their music or go to their concerts (if they have anymore) because they are no lame."

you're not a BB fan are you? because if you were, you'd realize just how completely incorrect your statement is

spamjoes
spamjoes

@joelp77440  I disagree.  I think the BB are entirely in the right here.

IsogSargent
IsogSargent

@MarkBixler - The Goldiblox lyrics are disgusting?  Seriously?  Girls asking for toys that actually represent who they are rather than some one dimensional 'ideal' that never really fit anyway?  Wow, dude. I agree that Goldiblox needed to ask permission. Copyright is copyright and what's the point of creating anything if someone can just steal it?  But to say the lyrics are disgusting is to put yourself on the same level as the Taliban.

MrKitty
MrKitty

@AndrewKamadulski Sampling some beats on your song vs. taking someone's song and creating a parody out of it to sell your toys are not even in the same realm.

courtneytown
courtneytown

@AndrewKamadulski for the first 2 albums that they sampled, they paid for it to the point of going broke. They then learned how to play their instruments and performed their music live, including the release of 2 classic soul instrumental albums, with great critical acclaim. Something I really admired about the Beasties, their ability to grow and adapt.  

FillF.Fill
FillF.Fill

@AndrewKamadulski Sampling isn't stealing if you have permission.  The BBs wouldn't have gone very far if they used any samples that weren't in the clear.  There's an entire industry of brokers that do nothing but handle the legal and financial wranglings of clearing samples for artists.  In some cases sampled artists made some pretty pennies they otherwise never would have made getting sampled by big name hip-hop or DJ artists.

m6music
m6music

@AndrewKamadulski they used sampling to make music - not to promote the selling of a product. plus Adam Yauch raps about his distaste of advertising in Triple Trouble. The key here is ADVERTISING not SAMPLING

IsogSargent
IsogSargent

@acaffar2 - Right.  Fair Use for music is 3 seconds or less, for educational or informational purposes, or the music is so old that it is now in the public domain.

piso_mojado
piso_mojado

@RunMonkeyMama @PhillyCannabis But this "female engineer" has done the same thing that all the major toy companies do: she made a toy for girls which makes pretty colors the primary distinction from the boys' version. The only difference is she didn't use pink in the color pallette. She is just as guilty of color coding Goldiblox for girls as any other toy company.  My daughter played with regular Legos, regular wooden blocks, regular Lincoln Logs.   Why do people in effect insist that these are "boys' toys"? They are not. They are toys. If we can't get girls into STEM fields at a higher rate than now with out having to buy them pastel colored engineering toys, we have a bigger problem than the color pink. My daughter was also a pink maniac for a while. I hated it. She LOVED it. Now, she hates it. Thinks pink is stupid and for babies. The pink thing is a self limiting problem. Girls grow out of it. The lack of recognition than boys and girls have a large but not complete overlap in their interests is a big issue. If there are toys that girls like and boys hate, who cares? And the converse is true. Designed by a female engineer, my left buttock.

fla5hfire
fla5hfire

@RunMonkeyMama @PhillyCannabis Excuss me, but what about an erector set, connectix, or chemistry sets require testicles?  Why do girls need a different "engineering" toy than boys?  Just wondering aloud.

KentManthie
KentManthie

@FillF.Fill @AndrewKamadulski PLUS - the Beastie Boys and any other bands that sample other people's stuff has done so for a totally different reason - they did it in an artistic way and different people (as always) can have different opinions on what kind of art they like.  What the Beastie Boys and other hip-hop samplers, et al have not done by sampling is use their samples to sell toys or any other products.  "Fair Use Doctrine" can not and does not cover the use of a copyrighted song in order to sell products, i,e,, in a commercial!!!

IsogSargent
IsogSargent

@m6music - Stealing other folks copyrighted material is still stealing.  I hate that word "sampling".  It's just a excuse for stealing something that you didn't create.  


That said, I think Beastie Boys should have let it go with a kindly worded caution that Goldiblox won't get away with it next time, but they're glad to support the cause of girls being who they want to be.

Paladine_PSoT
Paladine_PSoT

@IsogSargent @acaffar2 
Fair Use also covers commercial parody, which this clearly falls into.  The Parody here is the transformation of the lyrics from misogynistic to empowering.

MrKitty
MrKitty

@fla5hfirei wish I knew. Maybe it's due to marketing, maybe gifts from well-meaning family members. For whatever reason my daughter is more attracted to "girl" toys than the toys you mentioned. Maybe girls are naturally attracted to these things, but it is extremely difficult to cut off all exposure to these toys to find out. At least it was for us.

spamjoes
spamjoes

@IsogSargent @m6music   A different era.  And by the way, BB sample whomever they want to sample... they ask permission and nobody would say no.  Everybody loves them.

KentManthie
KentManthie

@Paladine_PSoT @IsogSargent @acaffar2 that is BS - this is a commercial that is selling worthless junk.  Any use of copyrighted music that isn't licensed by the copyright holder is not ok - and this kind of usage is NOT, I repeat NOT "fair use" by any stretch of the imagination.   How is it "fair use" when you are using it in a commercial, trying to peddle your wares?  There is no answer to that - the Beasties will prevail.  HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!  They had more talent than anyone associated w/this dumb company will ever have - combined (and I'm not even that big of a Beasties fan).

FillF.Fill
FillF.Fill

@Paladine_PSoT I think you'd have a tough time convincing a judge or jury that this was just simple parody.  The video is obviously a professionally produced advertisement pitching a company's products.  At the end of the video the girls pose in a way mimicking the BBs.  If this was broadcast on TV as an advert, it would be drop dead obvious infringement.  It seems they think because this is on the Internet that they can get away with it?