For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

GoldieBlox v Beastie Boys: It's Not Over Yet

Two weeks ago, toy company GoldieBlox, which promotes and sells toys that encourage girls to explore male-dominated fields like engineering, sued the Beastie Boys in a declaratory action.  [Details in the Kat's prior post here.]  Through its suit, GoldieBlox was seeking judicial confirmation that its commercial video, which features three young girls singing alternative lyrics to the the Beastie Boys' song Girls, while playing with a Rube Goldberg-style contraption, constitutes fair use as a parody of the original song.

However, just days later, GoldieBlox changed its commercial to remove the Beastie Boys' song Girls and issued a press release directed at the Beastie Boys stating:
We don’t want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans. 
When we made our parody version of your song, ‘Girls’, we did it with the best of intentions. We wanted to transform it into a powerful anthem for girls. Over the past week, parents have sent us pictures and videos of their kids singing with pride, building their own Rube Goldberg machines in their living rooms and declaring an interest in engineering. It’s been incredible to watch. 
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. 
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. 
Since actions speak louder than words, we have already removed the song from our video. In addition, we are ready to stop the lawsuit as long as this means we will no longer be under threat from your legal team. 
We don’t want to spend our time fighting legal battles. We want to inspire the next generation. We want to be good role models. And we want to be your friends.
It seemed the parties had made peace with each other.  Or not....

On December 10, the Beastie Boys filed an Answer and asserted counterclaims including copyright infringement, trade mark infringement, unfair competition, and misappropriation of right of publicity (under California state law). 

The Beastie Boys state in their Answer that,
The GoldieBlox Advertisement posted on the GoldieBlox website and Youtube.com, as well as substantially all of GoldieBlox's social media posts promoting the GoldieBlox Advertisement, used and explicitly referred to the Beastie Boys' name and identity. [....]    
Unfortunately, rather than developing an original advertising campaign to inspire its customers to create and innovate, GoldieBlox has instead developed an advertising campaign that condones and encourages stealing from others.
The Beastie Boys are seeking damages, including GoldieBlox's profits from sales generated from the commercial.

This Kat suspects that this dispute will be resolved through a settlement, but watch this space for further updates.

Singing Kitty here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fun as it may be for bloggers, if you really want to settle a dispute you don't "press release" your response to the complaint. The Court of Public Opinion is being over exploited for IP disputes. Its good to make the world more aware of IP but the teaching is not always as clear as an educationalist would like.

Californian litigation lawyers seem some of the hardest to appease.

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