It seems that parody will get you nowhere with the Beastie Boys. The hip-hop group is not amused by the use of its song “Girls” in a viral advertising video by GoldieBlox, a San Francisco-area start-up that designs toys encouraging girls to explore science and engineering. (You’ve probably seen the video — it’s the one with the adorable little girls who built an incredibly cool Rube Goldberg contraption.)
GoldieBlox, say the Beastie Boys in an open letter, has the right to fight to encourage girls to become engineers, but not to use their music for commercial purposes.
The toy company, on the other hand, thinks it has every right to put out a parody version of the song, whose original anti-feminist lyrics speak of girls who do the dishes and laundry (in the GoldieBlox version, the girls build spaceships and code apps).
It seems the start-up knew Beastie Boy members Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz (third member Adam “MCA” Yauch died in 2012) would not approve of its use of “Girls.” The company filed a preemptive lawsuit last week against the Beastie Boys, their record label and producer, asking the California federal court to classify the video as an example of fair use.
Here’s some of what the musicians had to say about GoldieBlox’s actions: