A closely watched parody case turns out to have resulted in a potential $1 million payout — but, as with everything else in the case, there’s more than meets the eye.
Toy maker GoldieBlox’s decision to turn a sexist rap song into a girl power commercial touched off a lawsuit last fall and led to a debate about the limits of parody and fair use. While GoldieBlox had used the Beastie Boys’ song in a clearly transformative fashion, the company also appeared to be acting with blatantly cynical and commercial motives. Alas for copyright scholars, who had hoped a court ruling might shed more light on the issue, the two sides have quietly settled the issue on undisclosed terms.
Toy maker GoldieBlox is using mass media to empower little girls to pursue science and engineering. But what about the artists whose songs the company is using to spread its message?
A famous rap group says in a new court filing that GoldieBlox, a maker of girls toys, had no right to use its song as part of a clever marketing campaign about girl empowerment. The group may be right.
What has gotten lost in the Beastie Boys vs. GoldieBlox hysteria is that fair use is an important principle when it comes to copyright, and we would be better off as a society if we supported it rather than chipping away at its effectiveness
A fuss over a girl-power video makes the Beastie Boys look like copyright bullies. Don’t judge too quickly — the case is not cut and dried, and the video maker’s own legal tactics leave something to be desired. UPDATED with Beastie Boys response.