An open letter from the Beastie Boys to Goldie Blox:
“Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial “GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys,” we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad.
We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.
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.”
I am no expert on this situation to say the least. From what I gather, and I could be wrong– it’s happened– you are allowed to parody songs if you are not selling a product and making money off of the song. If you are making money, you can’t use someone else’s song to do it, even if you’ve created a parody. On top of that, in his will, founding member Adam Yauch left specific instructions that his music or image could not be used to sell products.
Goldie Blox is selling a product here, and, as I’ve written, though I love the ad, I don’t like what’s being sold, especially when the company claims to be ‘disrupting the pink aisle’ and then turns around and sells a princess-pageant themed toy.
And why didn’t Goldie Blox ask permission before making the parody? I know it’s easy to look back and see mistakes, but you would’ve thought the GB lawyers, who have already taken steps to file a lawsuit against the Beastie Boys now, would have advised them earlier: ask first.
If this ad were a public service message, it would be extraordinary. But instead, it looks like a song has been “borrowed” to make money by selling a product which IMO contradicts the ad’s message. This is all feeling more and more unethical to me.
Reel Girl’s earlier posts on the Goldie Blox ad:
Did you know the viral Goldie Blox ad is selling a princess themed toy?
I like the parody too, but they are selling something and in the will of the member who died, he said no selling. I think they should have asked.
I think they should get away with it because it’s parody