Over the weekend, it was revealed that Beastie Boys were threatening feminist toy company GoldieBlox with copyright infringement over use of their song “Girls” in a new commercial. Now, The New York Times reports that the hip-hop collective has issued an open letter to GoldieBlox explaining their stance.
Beastie Boys said they were “impressed by the creativity and the message” of the GoldieBlox video, adding, “We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.” However, the group continues, “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.”
In fact, in his will, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch banned usage of his music in advertisements. It read: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes.”
Beastie Boys statement to GoldieBlox continued by noting, “When we tried to simply ask how and why our song ‘Girls’ had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US,” referencing the lawsuit filed against GoldieBlox on Friday.
Attorneys for GoldieBlox argue that the video falls under fair use since it was created “specifically to comment on the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company’s goal to break down gender stereotypes… [the video] has been recognized by the press and the public as a parody and criticism of the original song.”
Below, watch GoldieBlox’s commercial with the new version of “Girls”, then revisit the original.