The Beastie Boys and toy maker GoldieBlox have settled a lawsuit over an ad that the company debuted late last year parodying one of the band's hit songs. As part of the settlement, GoldieBlox will no longer be able to use its parody of the Beastie Boys song "Girls" and will publish an apology to the band, which should appear sometime later today on its company blog. The toy maker will also make a donation based on a percentage of its revenues to a charity selected by the Beastie Boys that supports science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education for girls — the very subjects that GoldieBlox's toy lines try to promote.
GoldieBlox will donate to STEM charities chosen by the Beastie Boys
The lawsuit was raised by the band last December after a public back and forth battle with GoldieBlox. GoldieBlox's ad, which replaced lyrics in "Girls" to promote girls succeeding in STEM fields, brought the toy maker a lot of attention — but some of that included pressure from the Beastie Boys to remove the parody, which the band had not approved of. GoldieBlox filed a preemptive lawsuit hoping to have the song ruled a parody — and thus fair use — but it ultimately chose to withdraw the ad. Shortly thereafter, the Beastie Boys countersued anyway.
Among the issues in the lawsuit were copyright claims over the song and GoldieBlox's use of the Beastie Boys' name. Some issues made the suit more contentious than others — in particular, whether GoldieBlox's version of the Beastie Boys' self-described "sarcastic anthem" would be counted as parody. What GoldieBlox said in its original open letter to the band has to some extent held up: "We don't want to spend our time fighting legal battles," it wrote. "We want to inspire the next generation." It may have lost some time and money, but at least the latter will end up in the hands of a cause it supports.
GoldieBlox's ad has since been replaced with a version featuring original music.