You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Fair Use

December 5, 2013Article
Law Law Land Blog

Launched by toy company GoldieBlox, Inc., an aspiring retailer of science-based toys aimed at little girls, the video quickly went viral.  In fact, after only a week post-release, it exceeded 8 million views.  It’s easy to see why.  While the video is essentially a commercial for GoldieBlox, its message is pretty easy to get behind – that little girls should have more play options, including toys that promote girls’ participation in science, math, and engineering.  Featuring three cute, precocious engineers singing out against conventionally gendered toys, what’s not to love?

Well, for starters, the original soundtrack of the ad (i.e., the one shown above) was set to the music of, and had lyrics that played upon, the Beastie Boys’ hit song “Girls.” And neither the Beastie Boys nor their record label knew anything about it or granted their permission for its use in a GoldieBlox advertisement.  As they own the rights to the work, they didn’t hesitate to threaten GoldieBlox with copyright infringement, describing the unauthorized use of their intellectual property as a “big problem” with “very significant impact.”