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Beastie Boys, GoldieBlox Fight Over 'Girls.' Is It Copyright Infringement or Fair Use?


UPDATE 2: The Beastie Boys released this statement 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.

UPDATE: A rep for the Beastie Boys tells the Huffington Post that the band has not made any claim against GoldieBlox, saying: "There was no complaint filed, no demand letter (no demand, for that matter) when [GoldieBlox] sued Beastie Boys."

Original item below:
The feel-good ad of the month has taken a feel-bad turn. The Beastie Boys apparently have a problem with GoldieBlox's version of their song "Girls" in the overnight smash-hit "Princess Machine" commercial, which recast the track with new lyrics as an empowerment anthem for little girls. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the band has allegedly threatened legal action, claiming copyright infringement, and the toy company has preemptively filed its own lawsuit asking that its version of the song be considered fair use—a common defense in cases involving parody material. The sticking point for GoldieBlox may be that "Princess Machine" is expressly designed to sell toys, and thus is a commercial endeavor at least as much as it is a sociological statement, but it will be up to a court to decide. The Beastie Boys, meanwhile, risk looking like they're censoring a worthwhile message that has enthralled millions—though of course it's hard to protect your intellectual property if you're willing to look the other way now and then based on ideology or pressure from the public. You can read GoldieBlox's full complaint here.

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