GoldieBlox Backs Down, Withdraws Beastie Boys Lawsuit

GoldieBlox withdrew their preemptive Fair Use lawsuit against the Beastie Boys.  That was a smart move, since the odds were not looking good for the Silicon Valley toy company: They had used the band’s name as well as their music without permission, and had in an earlier video, used Queen’s “We are the Champions” and the Toys “R” Us name without permission. The “Girls” ad went megaviral, but GoldieBlox had never asked for permission to use the song, even in parody form, figuring they could just call it a “parody” and get away with it Because GoldieBlox is all cool and new hip and copyright is for old people and The Man who is keeping us down. Neener.

What they didn’t realize, but a simple Google search would have shown, is that they had gone against the dying wishes of Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch who had hand-written a clause in his will that none of his music, likeness, or art be used in ads.  GoldieBlox looked like self-entitled, selfish brats, so they pulled the music and wrote an apology, in which GoldieBlox founder Debbie Sterling said

We don’t want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans.

quite a different tune from their preemptive lawsuit which called the song


They company claims it didn’t realize that Yauch had made a pre-death legal standing regarding his music, and that the surviving Beastie Boys supported and endorsed Yauch’s wishes.  Of course that doesn’t absolve GoldieBlox from their conscious and willful appropriation of the band’s music; and that then when approached by the band’s attorneys with a query letter, they went on the offensive, smacking back with the lawsuit claiming Fair Use.

The video now has a new music, and the Beastie Boys name has been taken off the video. But the bad taste over how this company behaved still lingers.

4 Responses to "GoldieBlox Backs Down, Withdraws Beastie Boys Lawsuit"
DrDave | Saturday November 30, 2013 08:33 pm 1

As someone who creates music–and it is used all the the time without permission–I can see a few sides to this story. The main question is whether “fair use” is “commercial use”. The issue here is unusual–I mean, trying to be an advocate, but these toys are basically commercial. They could have set up a NonProfit, but they didn’t go that way.

nixonclinbushbama | Saturday November 30, 2013 09:25 pm 2

We don’t want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans.

Translation: “Our lawyer told us that, not only would we lose the case, but probably would be fined as well for frivolously defending against a valid suit. And we don’t even have enough money to pay our lawyer, let alone you and a fine.

And, duh, of course we’re fans. Why would we steal music to try to make money from it unless we liked it and thought it would sell?”

Good for the Beasties to fight for Adam Yauch’s last wishes.

nixonclinbushbama | Saturday November 30, 2013 09:28 pm 3
In response to DrDave @ 1

A not for profit entity would not have made a difference.

eCAHNomics | Saturday November 30, 2013 09:41 pm 4

Good thing you’re on top of this, Lisa.

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