.

Beastie Boys Fire Back at Toymakers Behind 'Girls' Lawsuit

Rappers assert they made a decision long ago not to allow their name or music to be used in advertising

The Beastie Boys perform in Dayton, Ohio.
Joey Foley/FilmMagic
November 25, 2013 11:05 AM ET

The Beastie Boys shared an open letter directed at toymaker GoldieBlox with The New York Times this morning, addressing the company's use of the rappers' song "Girls" in a viral video ad. Last week, the toy company had filed a lawsuit claiming that its use of the song in the video, which features a reworking of the Beastie's 1986 track with rewritten lyrics that play off the original version's sexism, constituted fair use. Where the original went, "Girls – to do the dishes/ Girls – to clean up my room/ Girls – to do the laundry/ Girls – and in the bathroom," the ad's went, "Girls build a spaceship/ Girls code the new app/ Girls that grow up knowing/ That they can engineer that." GoldieBlox claimed that it made the "parody video with specific goals to make fun of the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company's goal to break down gender stereotypes." The rappers, however, boiled usage of the song down to "an advertisement that is designed to sell a product."

See Where 'Licensed to Ill' Ranks Among the 100 Best Debut Album of All Time

In their letter, the Beastie Boys said they were "impressed by the creativity and the message" of the video. Moreover they voiced support of tone of the ads, saying, "We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering."

Despite their support of the company's mission, the Beastie Boys said that usage of the song goes against their own. "Make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product," they said, "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."

The toymakers have yet to comment on the Beastie Boys' letter. The ad has now gotten over eight million views.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com