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Beastie Boys settle with toy maker over parody ad

By | Published on Tuesday 18 March 2014


The Beastie Boys have settled their legal dispute with toy company GoldieBlox, though terms of the settlement are not known.

As previously reported, the surviving Beastie Boys objected when GoldieBlox used a reworked version of their 1987 song ‘Girls’ in a video promoting the firm’s toys, noting that while they respected the toymaker’s mission to make toys for young girls that break down gender stereotypes, they had long held a resolve to never licence their music for ad sync.

Although GoldieBlox reps insisted that they were Beastie Boys fans and hadn’t wanted to offend the group, the company then claimed that it felt its rework of ‘Girls’ constituted a parody, and therefore the company didn’t need permission to post the new version online under American fair use rules.

The toy company then filed legal papers seeking judicial confirmation of that claim, though reportedly told the Beastie Boys’ reps that they’d withdraw that lawsuit if the group pledged to take no action against the company over its use of their song.

The Beastie Boys subsequently filed their own litigation against the toy firm citing copyright infringement, unfair competition and misappropriation of publicity rights. Although the group’s legal claim covered various grounds, had it got to court it would have tested the American copyright system’s parody exemptions, and whether the use of a parody in a commercial context like this has any impact on the fair use right.

GoldieBlox’s legal case in this particular dispute wasn’t without merit, though it has been noted that the toy firm has posted promotional videos featuring a number of pop reworks some of which probably wouldn’t constitute parody.

Both parties’ lawsuits will now be dismissed.