The ongoing scuffle between the Beastie Boys and startup GoldieBlox doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon. The hip-hop group filed a countersuit Tuesday in New York that claims the toy company’s use of its 1987 song “Girls” in a recent hit commercial did not constitute fair use. In addition to an injunction preventing GoldieBlox from using “Girls,” the Beastie Boys are also requesting GoldieBlox fork over any profits generated from the commercial that featured the song without the group’s permission, damages, and lawyers’ fees, among other things. (You can read the legalese here.)
A brief refresher: The spat between the Beastie Boys and GoldieBlox began several weeks ago, after the toy company’s commercial, which features a version of “Girls” with different lyrics, became an Internet hit. When the Beastie Boys’ lawyers reached out to the toy company, GoldieBlox filed a preemptive lawsuit against the rap group, its record label, and producer, asking the California federal court to recognize its commercial use of the song as an example of parody, which constitutes fair use. Although the advertisement features rewritten lyrics that poke fun at the Beastie Boys’ original song, the hip-hop group has a well-known policy of not allowing their music to be used in advertisements.
Though not directly relevant to their case, the Beastie Boys point out in its countersuit that GoldieBlox has a history of using popular musical works without permission, including songs by Queen and Daft Punk. However, when Fast Company reached out to EMI/Walt Disney Records to ask about GoldieBlox’s use of Queen’s “We Are The Champions” in another commercial, a spokesperson said the company was not using a master copy, and thus would not need its permission to use the song, according to the label’s head of licensing.
We’ve reached out to GoldieBlox and will update this post if we hear back.