Last year, GoldieBlox, a toy company that specializes in non-princessy toys for girls, made an online commercial that used a parody of the Beastie Boys’ 1986 lunkhead nugget “Girls,” flipping the lyrics to turn them feminist. You’d think this would be the sort of thing that the now-enlightened Beasties might appreciate, but there was a major problem: This was a commercial, and the Beasties have a longstanding no-commercials policy; late Beastie Adam Yauch even wrote it into his will. The Beasties accused GoldieBox of copyright infringement, GoldieBlox removed the ad and wrote an open apology letter, and the Beasties still filed a lawsuit. And now the story has finally come to an end. GoldieBlox’s founders have settled the lawsuit and written a final apology.
According to The New York Times, a spokesperson for GoldieBlox has claimed that the terms of the settlement are as follows: “(A) the issuance of an apology by GoldieBlox, which will be posted on GoldieBlox’s website, and (b) a payment by GoldieBlox, based on a percentage of its revenues, to one or more charities selected by Beastie Boys that support science, technology, engineering and mathematics education for girls.” This seems like a pretty great way to wrap everything up!
GoldieBlox has already posted that apology on its website (albeit the very bottom of its website), and here it is:
We sincerely apologize for any negative impact our actions have had on the Beastie Boys. We never intended to cast the band in a negative light and we regret putting them in a position to defend themselves when they had done nothing wrong.
As engineers and builders of intellectual property, we understand an artist’s desire to have his or her work treated with respect. We should have reached out to the band before using their music in the video.
We know this is only one of the many mistakes we’re bound to make as we grow our business. The great thing about mistakes is how much you can learn from them. As trying as this experience was, we have learned a valuable lesson. From now on, we will secure the proper rights and permissions in advance of any promotions, and we advise any other young company to do the same.
GoldieBlox, it should be noted, is doing fine. The company bought a Super Bowl ad this year, building it around a (presumably cleared) parody of Slade’s “Cum On Feel The Noize.”