It started simply enough with a commercial for a small Rube Goldberg toy that came with a parody song for Beastie Boys. It was positive, adorable, and empowering — three important keys for anything to go viral. And viral it did go. The GoldieBlox company manifesto said they wanted “to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math…By designing a construction toy from the female perspective, we aim to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of female engineers.” Then things got complicated.
In the will and testament of Adam Yauch (aka, the late MCA), he is abundantly clear about the intentions of the Beastie Boys music. He states, “…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 purpose.”
Much like the Robin Thicke/Marvin Gaye fiasco, Goldieblox decided to stand up for itself and sue the Beastie Boys estate first, in anticipation of a suit from them. In response to this, Beastie Boys members Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz wrote an open letter.
“…As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads…When we tried to simply ask how and why our song ‘Girls’ had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.”