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Beastie Boys
photo: Beastie Boys

Toy maker GoldieBlox’s decision to turn a sexist rap song into a girl power commercial touched off a lawsuit last fall and led to a debate about the limits of parody and fair use. While GoldieBlox had used the Beastie Boys’ song in a clearly transformative fashion, the company also appeared to be acting with blatantly cynical and commercial motives. Alas for copyright scholars, who had hoped a court ruling might shed more light on the issue, the two sides have quietly settled the issue on undisclosed terms.

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  1. 6StringMercenary Thursday, March 20, 2014

    Well, you got about half the story. They did settle, and the monetary terms were not disclosed, but there was definitely a public aspect to this settlement. You should update this story to reflect that:

    1) GoldieBlox now has a statement admitting they were wrong on their website. They expressly note that they aggrieved the Beastie Boys and framed them in the wrong light, as being the bad guys for looking out for their property. They admitted they did not follow the rules. They pay the price in integrity.

    2) GoldieBlox must legally donate a portion of its revenues to charities involved in the mission from which they espouse to be supporting – girls in the STEM fields. Beastie Boys aren’t financially going to benefit. They pay the price financially.

    In short, this did offer a very clear message that the technique employed by GoldieBlox was not one that would be successful when tested. Many musicians saw this from miles away, as Weird Al isn’t making parodies to sell Weird Al Brand Wigs. Frankly, the only people who defended GoldieBlox were people who don’t understand art, creativity, and the law regarding derivative works. Good outcome overall for commerce, but this article is pretty weak and could use more oomph to get the correct message across to your readership…you know, that warning GoldieBlox gives to other young companies at the end of their apology?

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