GoldieBlox quits Beastie Boys fight


You’ve got to fight!
For your right!
To publicity!


I really can’t resist the troll here, so… “Dear Beastie Boys, now that our marketing goals for GoldieBlox have been accomplished, we took the video down. Also, we call no-tag-backs and have reached gool.”


Wow, the tone of this:

“Please big mister rights owner, I didn’t know I was doing anything bad, but I’ll stop even though it inspires cute little girls and is pure and good, please don’t threaten me big mister rights holder!”

They’re still playing the victim and I just don’t buy it. I don’t think they could actually be fans as they claim and be unaware of the BB’s feeling on commercials. I don’t think they can have been taken by surprise that there would be a reaction from lawyers. I don’t think they could have exercised reasonable diligence as a company with capital and a marketing budget does and be unaware of anything they claim to be unaware of.

If their goal is to empower young women with agency, their “Gee whiz, don’t hurt me” whole shtick is counteracting any positive model.

They’re playing a PR game and have been from the start, and I for one don’t like games that try to rile up anger and cast someone as the bad guy for not wanting their work to be in commercials. It’s dishonest and frankly, it’s mean and ugly.


Why don’t companies want to dig into their pockets and pay for original material? Dozens of brilliant songwriters could have come up with something new and exciting and yet… Are we supposed to pity the company that did this? Using someone else’s song without permission? Yeah, I’ll make my blog look and feel like Boing Boing, hell I’ll even say you wrote it… let’s see how fast I get a cease and desist. I’m sorry Boing Boing but you are just enabling cheap skates.


Boing Boing’s design and templates are under a Creative Commons license permitting free use with attribution.


What the fuck, Goldieblox?


I’d say that really all GB needed to do was truncate that advertising part the very end in respect to MCA. If there was a baby with the bathwater, they certainly didn’t care about it.

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Great piece here:

Sorry Rob, but if I called it Boing Boing then wrote a “parody” I’d be super disappointed if you didn’t ask me to politely stop, as the Beastie Boys did. It was GB SUING THEM.


They took a juvenile song and turned it into a positive anthem for girls. It’s a great example of the benefits of a remix culture. Too bad they didn’t fight for it, too bad the Beastie Boys fought it.


It’s nice when you get to choose how others use your work, isn’t it? :slight_smile:


Realistically, both sides backing down and the ad being withdrawn and replaced with one that doesn’t have this issue attached to it is probably the best outcome we could hope for.


As long as they’re writing their own lyrics, what they really should have done is licensed the melody from the Isley Brothers.


As others have said…I don’t care for this. IANAL, but as best as I can tell, Goldieblox was most likely completely within their rights, since this was clearly a derivative work that didn’t harm the original. This would not have been a lawsuit worth pursuing for the Beastie Boys. Goldieblox could’ve dug in their heels, looked like the small girl being victimized, stuck it out and won the suit, and gotten damages. In theory.

I’d like to see the Beastie Boys original letter to them. If it was just an inquiry, that’s reasonable for them to ask. A lawsuit threat? Scuzzy, but still reasonable.

Goldieblox suing for judgement? Also reasonable. Everything’s fine.

But the immediate backing down now with that saccharine note? That just makes this whole think reek of manipulation for publicity to me. I don’t like that, and I’m much less interested in their products now. That’s a shame.


I’d say Girls is about as serious as If You Wanna Be Happy

Heh…was thinking:

You gotta fight!
For your right!
To parody!

Borrowed that from a friend’s graduate thesis many years ago.

Our hearts sank last week when your lawyers called us with threats that we took very seriously. As a small company, we had no choice but to stand up for ourselves. We did so sincerely hoping we could come to a peaceful settlement with you.

Oh, FFS…


Well, there’s one more toy I’ll never need to buy…

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In case anyone else feels the need to contact those folks, here’s the letter I just sent them at

Hi there- just wanted to let you know you’ve lost another potential customer with your thinly-veiled marketing attempts using the Beastie Boys. First, using their song in a commercial without consent; second, claiming “fair use” despite it clearly being an advertisement; third, suing the band when they asked you what you were doing, and fourth, ending the entire episode with a ridiculously sappy letter in which you cast yourselves as the victims who were merely trying to spread a little light in the world.

Perhaps some people bought it (just in time for Christmas, no less!) but plenty of us didn’t. I have a daughter, aged 3. I am pretty liberal. One would think I am your perfect demographic. Not so much!



I wouldn’t have bothered, anyway. Maybe, maybe now they’ll spend the time making a toy that kids will actually want to play with.

Incidentally, it should be noted that GoldieBlox’ founder is only an “engineer” in the sense that she’s got an engineering degree. Since she graduated in '05, she’s been doing all marketing/branding work.

And really… do you need a pretty toy to get your daughter interested in engineering? Don’t be afraid to buy “boy toys” that look fun and interesting. Play with her, build stuff with her. Let her swing your hammer. Give her your old Legos, or your old Erector set. Cuddle with her on the coach and watch “How It’s Made” and “Build It Bigger.” I don’t understand how any kid (boy or girl) is going to start liking math and engineering because they made some plastic puppy dogs spin around.

To my eyes, GoldieBlox looks like a firm that’s going to make a metric sh*tton of money (especially after they win that free Super Bowl ad) based on parents’ collective guilt.

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