Beastie Boys Prevail in Copyright Dispute with GoldieBlox

Remember the toymakers who used a Beastie Boys song without permission and then filed suit against the band when they were asked to stop using the song? (see "GoldieBlox and the Three Beasties").

GoldieBlox had argued that their usage of the Beastie Boys' song "Girls" was fair use because it was a "parody" - actually, that they intended it to transform the song into "a powerful anthem for girls" (with an accompanying video that, conveniently, features little girls playing with GoldieBlox products).

The two surviving Beasties argued that the song wasn't a parody, it was clearly an advertisement, and that their late member Adam Yauch had specified in his will that the band's songs not be used for advertising purposes.

In December, the GoldieBlox folks removed the song from their viral video, admitted they were "huge fans" of the Beastie Boys, and agreed to stop the lawsuit "as long as this means we will no longer be under threat from your legal team."

Now that lawsuit has been settled, and we can all speculate on whether the GoldieBlox gals really made an honest mistake in thinking their use of "Girls" was fair use, or whether it was a brilliant legal gamble that garnered them a whole lot more attention than they were likely to get otherwise - and right in the middle of the holiday shopping season to boot!

A spokesperson for GoldieBlox told Rolling Stone that the lawsuit settlement "includes (a) the issuance of an apology by GoldieBlox, which will be posted on GoldieBlox's website, and (b) a payment by GoldieBlox, based on a percentage of its revenues, to one or more charities selected by Beastie Boys that support science, technology, engineering and mathematics education for girls." Well played, Beasties.

Stay tuned, though, because there may be other lawsuits in GoldieBlox's future: The Beastie Boys' countersuit, which they filed in December, pointed out that they weren't the only ones whose music got the alleged "fair use" treatment. GoldieBlox also used music by Queen, Daft Punk, Avicii, Slam, k.flay, Trevor Guthrie and others to sell their toys. It seems that copyright infringement is the company's most successful publicity strategy.