SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Northern California toy company is fighting for its right to parody a popular Beastie Boys song.
Oakland-based GoldieBlox filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking permission to continue using a spoof of the rap song "Girls."
The song was on the trio's first album, "Licensed to Ill," released in 1986. It sings of the desire for girls to "do the dishes ... to do the laundry ... to clean up my room."
The company's marketing video spoofing the song depicts young girls singing about building spaceships and coding software. The video has gone viral in recent weeks, and some 8 million people have viewed it on YouTube. The spoof is attempting to sell the company's GoldieBlox engineering toys aimed at girls.
The company said it filed the lawsuit last week after the Beastie Boys threatened their own legal action for copyright infringement.
"GoldieBlox created its parody video specifically to comment on the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company's goal to break down gender stereotypes and to encourage young girls to engage in activities that challenge their intellect, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math," the company's lawsuit stated.
On Monday, the two surviving band members — Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond — said in an open letter posted on their publicist's website that they support the toy company's message of empowering girls. But they have a blanket ban on using their songs in advertisements.
"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," the band members said through their publicist. "When we tried to simply ask how and why our song 'Girls' had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US."
GoldieBlox is one of four companies named as finalists in a competition held by software maker Intuit to pay millions for a Super Bowl advertisement for the winner. The company's "Girls" video is not part of the competition.
A rap group upset that someone ripped them off?
They do know that they are a Rap group, right?
Lets see....Where else have I heard Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean" & "When the Levee Breaks", War's "Low Rider" and about a dozen other songs by other people?
Oh yeah....On Licensed to Ill by the Beastie Boys!!
I feel that the toy group is doing this on purpose, just to stir up trouble.
After MCA died (R.I.P.), the Beastie Boys respectfully asked that their music not be used for commercial use. Parody or no parody, it's still their music, and they don't want others making money off of it. Case closed.
So why is this company making such a hassle over it??? Let it go! They could've picked from thousands of other songs from thousands of other musicians, but NOOO, they go and deliberately pick the music from the one band that said, "No."
Wow, "YOU sued US", huh? Talk about street theater. The Beastie Boys know full well the toy company's use of this song is covered by the Fair Use doctrine. It's a clear cut, open and shut case, which any attorney should have told them. Instead, the band members had their attorney send a letter requesting the company cease using the song. Surely the attorney knew the standard response to that is for the toy company to seek a declaratory judgment that they could use the song. That's hardly suing anyone. Somebody needs to send their attorney a copy of Spaceballs and Weird Al's Amish Paradise (the song Coolio threw a fit over), so he can pretend to learn a little bit about the law. The Beastie Boys are only doing this to harass the toy company and to get their names in the news.. Besides that, wasn't one of their songs used in a Geico commercial with a hamster?
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