The Beastie Boys are embroiled in a brewing legal matter involving the use of one of their earlier tracks, “Girls.” A start-up company in California used the song without permission, then filed a suit against the group claiming a right to use the song. The Beasties and their legal team have responded, adding an interesting wrinkle to the case.
GoldieBlox, a San Francisco-based toy company that makes toys for young girls, crafted an ad using the Beasties’ “Girls” track from their 1986 debut, License To Ill. The lyrics were cleaned up to reflect the girl-positive image of the company, and the parody video has since gone viral. However, GoldieBlox filed an “injunctive relief” last Thursday against the Beasties, Def Jam, Sony Records and Rick Rubin.
In the court filing, GoldieBlox asserted its right to use the song because their song empowers young girls saying that the Beasties limited girls to “to household chores, and are presented as useful only to the extent they fulfill the wishes of the male subjects. The GoldieBlox Girls Parody Video takes direct aim at the song both visually and with a revised set of lyrics celebrating the many capabilities of girls.”
In an open letter responding to the lawsuit obtained by the New York Times, the surviving Beastie Boys Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond say they never sued the company but did mention their well-known policy of not allowing the use of their music for commercial and advertisement.
From the open letter:
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.
The Beastie Boys appreciated GoldieBlox’s good intentions, but the rules are the rules. GoldieBlox reps have been silent on the matter since the introduction of the letter.
It was revealed after the passing of Adam “MCA” Yauch last year that he did not want the Beastie Boys’ music to be used to sell products according to his will.
Hit the following pages to see the video for GoldieBlox’s “Girls” parody and a photo from the clip.