March 18, 2014


Beastie Boys Settle Lawsuit Over Viral "Girls" Toy Commercial

Roger Kisby/Getty Images
Roger Kisby/Getty Images

Late last year, educational toy company GoldieBlox filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against the Beastie Boys after the rap outfit accused them of copyright infringement.

The issue began when GoldieBlox released a commercial parodying the group's 1987 hit "Girls," changing misogynistic lyrics like "Girls to do the dishes / Girls to clean up my room / Girls to do the laundry" to "Girls to build the spaceship / Girls to code the new app / Girls to grow up knowing / That they can engineer that."

The original lawsuit against the Beastie Boys argued that GoldieBlox's version of the song was a parody and therefore not theft: "Lawyers for the Beastie Boys claim that the GoldieBlox Girls Parody Video is a copyright infringement, is not a fair use and that GoldieBlox's unauthorized use of the Beastie Boys intellectual property is a 'big problem' that has a 'very significant impact.'" 

The suit argued against the sexist nature of the original song, claiming the company was attempting to "break down gender stereotypes and to encourage young girls to engage in activities that challenge their intellect, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math."

After the commercial went viral (it's no longer available on YouTube) the band sued, but reached an agreement with the toy company earlier today.

As per the agreement, GoldieBlox publicly apologized for using the song without first seeking to "secure the proper rights," saying, "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."

The toy company will also pay "a percentage of its revenues to one or more charities selected by Beastie Boys that support science, technology, engineering and mathematics education for girls."

While the surviving band members recognized the positive feminist message of the video, they've always been against the use of their music in ads. Adam Yauch, who passed away two years ago, stipulated in his will that "in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes."

Watch the commercial here.