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GoldieBlox Files Preemptive Lawsuit Against Beastie Boys, Group Responds

Despite previous reports that the Beastie Boys are threatening to sue U.S. toy company GoldieBlox for using their song ‘Girls’ in a recent viral video, the hip-hop group isn’t filing a lawsuit. However, GoldieBlox is taking the rappers to court.

“There was no complaint filed, no demand letter (no demand, for that matter) when [GoldieBlox] sued Beastie Boys,” a representative for the group told the Huffington Post Sunday (Nov. 24).

A week after GoldieBlox premiered a video featuring a parody version of the Beastie Boys 1987 track, ‘Girls,’ last week, news hit that the group was accusing the company of copyright infringement for unauthorized use of the song.

GoldieBlox filed a preemptive lawsuit against the Beasties and their lawyers on Thursday (Nov. 21), which is where the mixed message of who’s suing whom occurred. The toymakers claim they didn’t use the actual song but a new parody of it that may have been inspired by the original tune but is “protected under the Fair Use Doctrine.” They also say that they are just taking a song that is “highly sexist” and changing it up to inspire girls to get into the science, technology and engineering fields.

While this might be true, the company may have forgotten the fact that after Adam Yauch died in 2012, his will stated, “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes.”

However, since Mike D and Ad-Rock didn’t make any of these accusations, only time will tell how this case pans out.

The Beastie Boys did release an open letter to GoldieBlox, giving their opinion on the use of ‘Girls’ in the video. The letter was initially released by the New York Times in parts. Read the entire missive, courtesy of SPIN, below.

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.

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