November 24, 2013 AT 12:00 am

Beastie Boys, ‘Girls’ Viral Video in Copyright Infringement Fight

Beastie Boys, ‘Girls’ Viral Video in Copyright Infringement Fight.

This week, a toy company called Goldieblox ignited a chatterstorm with a video of three girls playing with a Rube Goldberg-type contraption and singing alternative lyrics to the Beastie Boys song “Girls.” Since the video went up on Monday, it has been viewed more than seven million times and fueled discussion about how to get young girls interested in pursuing scientific careers.

But apparently not everyone is thrilled with the viral video.

According to a lawsuit filed on Thursday by Goldieblox, “the Beastie Boys have now threatened GoldieBlox with copyright infringement. Lawyers for the Beastie Boys claim that the GoldieBlox Girls Parody Video is a copyright infringement, is not a fair use and that GoldieBlox’s unauthorized use of the Beastie Boys intellectual property is a ‘big problem’ that has a ‘very significant impact.’ ”

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  1. the moment i heard the song i thought it was not only a poor choice but that they shouldn’t have done that

    but also, it’s kind of odd that the beastie boys would even care considering they’ve made a career out of sampling other people’s work

  2. I’m not sure wether the Beastie Boys themselves are suing or wether it’s their record label. At any rate, I’m sure Adam Yauch’s, will has something to do with it as it apparently states that his image or music can’t be used for advertising purposes. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/adam-yauchs-will-prohibits-use-of-his-music-in-ads-20120809

    I don’t think this video falls under fair use as it’s clearly promoting a product in the last portion.

  3. Now leaving aside Right of Publicity laws (ie the things that restrict using other people likenesses, etc). Let’s have the obligatory link to Fair Use: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

    IANAL: But I think the problem is that the song in the GoldieBlox commercial — which is what it is, a commercial that happened to go viral — isn’t an end unto itself, as it is with most parody songs of the Weird Al, et al group; but is being used to promote a product.

    They may still be able to argue fair use, but they have put themselves in very murky waters.

  4. If you are playing a Nintendo game and giving advice on a game, Nintendo gets the advertising and the royalties from your work on YouTube because you are playing their game.

  5. I think its lovely how skewed this story became (I’ve seen it multiple places, and it keeps spreading.. But the reality of it is that they used a song that already did what their so called parody does (creates a conversation), and did so as an advertisement, to sell products, and not to create solely to create a statement.

    Don’t know the date that the article was updated was, but here is the update quoted from it (as it is the only important piece in the article):

    UPDATE: On Monday, the band released a letter saying while it was “impressed by the creativity and the message” of the Goldieblox video, “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."

  6. Overactive lawyers? http://badassdigest.com/2013/11/25/the-beastie-boys-did-not-sue-goldieblox/

  7. More, apparently from an actual expert on the topic:

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