Beastie Boys Threaten US Toymaker With Legal Action

US toymaker GoldieBlox, who manufacture toys designed to spark creativity and scientific thinking in young girls, have been threatened with legal action by the lawyers of legendary hip-hop group Beastie Boys, after the company used a cut from their debut album in one of their advertisements.

The so-called ‘Princess Machine’ ad, which has since gone viral online, amassing over 8 million views on YouTube, features a parody of the track Girls, a jingle-like cut from the band’s seminal 1986 album, Licensed to Ill, and depicts a group of girls following a Rube Goldberg contraption.

UPDATE: Beastie Boys write open letter to GoldieBlox, set the record straight — full details here!

GoldieBlox said they were looking to subvert the Beasties’ “highly sexist song” by using it to spark an interest in science, technology and engineering in young girls, but the motivation means little to the rap crew’s lawyers, who are following the final requests of one of the Beasties’ late members.

As per the will of member Adam Yauch a.k.a. MCA, who died in 2012, the band is prohibited from using their music in advertisements. Wrote the late MC, whom the surviving members often described as the creative and moral core of the band:

“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes.”

This led to the group subsequently suing energy drink manufacturer Monster for using several of the band’s songs without permission, and on Thursday, to GoldieBlox filing a preemptive lawsuit against the Beastie Boys, claiming their attorneys threatened to sue for copyright infringement.

GoldieBlox said their ad, directed by Sean Pecknold, brother of Fleet FoxesRobin Pecknold, and reportedly a finalist to air during the 2014 Super Bowl, is “fair use” due to it being a newly recorded reworking intended for parody, while the band’s lawyers labeled it a “big problem.”

Readers can check out the ad and the original song, below.

(Via The Guardian)

Watch: GoldieBlox “Princess Machine” Commercial

Listen: Beastie Boys – Girls

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