We thought we'd heard the last of that annoyingly-named publicity-grubbing girl-centric toy company, but nope, the saga of GoldieBlox vs. Beastie Boys goes on and on. Yesterday the group joined Def Jam, Sony, and Rick Rubin in a lawsuit filed to force GoldieBlox to hand over any profits derived from the company's unauthorized use of the Beastie Boys song "Girls."
GoldieBlox used the song without permission in a YouTube video that quickly went viral, and when representatives for the Beastie Boys inquired about it, the company immediately filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against the group, resulting in another massive wave of publicity. The company soon stopped using the song, and publicly apologized to the Beastie Boys, but by then the company's shrewd marketing ploy had already achieved massive success.
The lawsuit (below) alleges that GoldieBlox "has acted intentionally and despicably with oppression, fraud, and malice toward the Beastie Boys" and that the "Girls" ad "directly coincided with and directly resulted in a massive increase in the sales of GoldieBlox products." Products which, by some accounts, are pretty crappy.
GoldieBlox argued that its use of the song qualifies as “fair use" because it was a parody that changed the original "Girls" lyrics into a message of female empowerment. But as Felix Salmon at Reuters observed, a major precedent for such disputes, Campbell vs Acuff-Rose Music, ruled that “the use of a copyrighted work to advertise a product, even in a parody, will be entitled to less indulgence” under the law than “the sale of a parody for its own sake."
The lawsuit argues that the "Beastie Boys and the group's members have suffered injury to their business, goodwill, and property, in an amount to be determined at trial, and are entitled to recover from GoldieBlox the gains, profits, and advantages that GoldieBlox has obtained as a result of the wrongful conduct alleged herein." In other words, fuck you, my man.