The much-buzzed copyright battle between GoldieBlox and The Beastie Boys could soon be over.
On Wednesday, GoldieBlox founder and CEO Debbie Sterling posted a letter addressed to the hip-hop group, announcing that her company had removed the parody of the the Beastie's song "Girls" from its enormously popular viral video, which promotes the company's mission to inspire young girls to become engineers. On Tuesday, the company also posted a new video with a different score that doesn't have any lyrics at all.
"We don’t want to fight with you," the letter begins. "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 take a song we weren’t too proud of, and transform it into a powerful anthem for girls."
A spokesperson for GoldieBlox declined to comment on the letter, which you can read in full here.
Both the original GoldieBlox video and the new one features an elaborate girl-engineered Rube Goldberg machine in action. However, the first version had its builders declaring things like "We are all more than just princess maids" to the soundtrack of the 1987 Beastie Boys hit -- a song with original lyrics such as "Girls to do the dishes/Girls to clean up my room." The video had amassed millions of views on YouTube before Wednesday's removal.
Earlier this week, there were several rumors circulating about what happened exactly between GoldieBlox and The Beastie Boys. As Andy Baio points out on Waxy.org, The Beastie Boys did not sue GoldieBlox. In a statement issued on Monday, the band said, "We tried to simply ask how and why our song “Girls” had been used in your ad without our permission."
According to GoldieBlox's new statement, they heard those questions as threats, and felt as though they had no choice but to file a pre-emptive lawsuit, claiming the video falls within the realm of parody and fair use.
The wrinkle is that Beastie Boy Adam Yauch (aka MCA), who died last year, stated in his will explicitly that their music could not be used to sell products.
In the GoldieBlox letter, Sterling says, "... we were completely unaware that the late, great MCA had requested in his will that the Beastie Boys songs never be used in advertising [and] we would like to respect his wishes and yours."
"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," she goes on to say. For a toy company, who is out to teach girls important lessons, that sounds like an excellent plan.