The Beastie Boys
The Beastie Boys
Female-friendly toy company GoldieBlox says it has removed a parody of the 1986 Beastie Boys song from the toy company's hit viral video amid a looming legal battle and PR headache for both sides.
A quick recap of the situation: GoldieBlox released the video, titled "Princess Machine" and featuring girls who use their dollies to show off their engineering smarts, went big-time viral (nearly 9 million YouTube views since being posted on Nov. 17). The video featured a retooled version of "Girls" with vastly different lyrics. Last Thursday, GoldieBlox filed a preemptive lawsuit against the Beasties seeking a court declaration that the video be deemed legal. The company insisted it went to court after receiving threats from Beastie lawyers.
Meanwhile, Beastie Boys Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond issued a statement Monday explaining that they agreed with the sentiment of the GoldieBlox video, but didn't want their song used as an advertisement.
"We were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad," they wrote in an open letter. "We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering."
It was also revealed that late Beastie Adam Yauch, who died of cancer complications in 2012, had stated in his will that he didn't want the trio's music used for commericals.
That brings us to today. With both sides lawyered up, GoldieBlox decided to back down.
In an open letter addressed to Horovitz and Diamond, GoldieBlox CEO Debbie Sterling says, "We don't want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans."
The letter goes on to explain that the company made the parody of "Girls" "with the best intentions" and transformed the song's original questionable lyrics "into a powerful anthem for girls."
"Our hearts sank last week when your lawyers called us with threats 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."
The company also acknowledged that it was unaware of a legal sticking point for the surviving members of the band, even if they didn't have a problem with the GoldieBlox ad. "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."
The letter states that the song has been removed from their video ad, although earlier this morning, we found the clip with the song still up on YouTube.
GoldieBlox adds that it is "ready to stop the lawsuit as long as this means we will no longer be under threat from your legal team." Sterling concludes the letter, writing, "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."
The Beastie Boys publicity firm Nasty Little Man says the band has no immediate comment on this latest development.
But here's hoping this is the last we'll hear of this clash.
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