We want you to know that when we posted the video, we were completely unaware that the late, great Adam Yauch had requested in his will that the Beastie Boys songs never be used in advertising. Although we believe our parody video falls under fair use, we would like to respect his wishes and yours.It appears GoldieBlox has decided to call off the legal battle with the Beastie Boys—as long as the group decides not to sue them back. “We don’t want to spend our time fighting legal battles. We want to inspire the next generation,” the company says in an open letter. “We want to be good role models. And we want to be your friends.” The clip, which had gained nearly 10 million views since the copyright fight broke, is currently down. The PR battle started to get away from them after the Beastie Boys wrote an open letter of their own this week.
GoldieBlox did exactly what you’d expect an entitled and well-lawyered Silicon Valley startup to do, which is pick a fight. It’s the way of the Valley — you can’t be winning unless some household-name dinosaur is losing.
EDIT: For what it’s worth, Thom Yorke is in the Beasties’ corner here.
joshdierickx says: First off, how does this have anything with the Beastie Boys if they’re a “STEM” organization? Secondly how why this their signature crime for releasing a song about girls, is that why you’re implying? It’s all about not dating someone, not misoynist
» SFB says: On the first point, basically it’s a PR issue for the Beastie Boys. Whether or not it’s fair that it’s an issue for them is up to the reader, but it’s something they’re stuck dealing with. Which is why they responded. Their point: A noble cause can still be a commercial one.
As for the second part, I’ll let The New York Times take this one on for me:
In the original song, which appeared on the Beastie Boys’ 1986 hip-hop album “Licensed to Ill,” the band sings: “Girls to do the dishes/Girls to clean up my room/Girls to do the laundry/Girls and in the bathroom.”
In the online video, children build an elaborate Rube Goldberg device while singing: “Girls build a spaceship/Girls code the new app/Girls that grow up knowing/That they can engineer that.”
You can’t simply objectively say that’s about “not dating someone,” which is why the company parodied the lyrics. Even considering that, it’s not the full story to hit them with a broad brush: I specifically pointed out the era of the band in the post because the band famously shied away from this lyrical approach later in their career both by their lyrics and their actions. It’s something which The Nation's Jessica Valenti, a noted feminist writer, wrote about at the time of Yauch’s death. — Ernie @ SFB