If you’ve heard of GoldieBlox, a toy company that encourages girls to engineer creative contraptions, there’s a good chance you’ve seen this ad about some young ladies constructing a Rube Goldberg machine:
The video is at 8.5 million views and counting. That’s great for GoldieBlox, but the company has run into a major problem: The song in the video, a parody of the Beastie Boys’ “Girls” has become a point of contention between GoldieBlox and the two living members of the rap group.
GoldieBlox pre-emptively filed a lawsuit over the ad last week
. Here’s the stated reason for the suit, according to the filed complaint:
“Lawyers for the Beastie Boys claim that the GoldieBlox Girls Parody Video is a copyright infringement, is not a fair use and that GoldieBlox's unauthorized use of the Beastie Boys intellectual property is a ‘big problem’ that has a ‘very significant impact.’“
The Beastie Boys issued this response Monday:
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.
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.
A further complication is that one member of the Beastie Boys, Adam “MCA” Yauch can’t be consulted about the song’s use. Yauch died of cancer in May 2012, and specified in his will that he did not want his music used in advertising
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That request certainly hasn’t been lost on several Facebook commenters taking to GoldieBlox’s page. Though GoldieBlox hasn’t posted anything specific to its lawsuit, commenters are bringing up the issue on virtually every post.
“Oh cool, I just assumed you stole the design from someone whose dying wish was that it never be used for advertising,” one commenter wrote on a post
about the Rube Goldberg machine from the ad.