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Flashback Friday Music Minute: Beastie Boys Threaten Legal Action Against Toy Company

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Beastie Boys is reportedly threatening legal action against GoldieBlox, a toy company that makes engineering toys for girls, for using a parody of their classic single “Girls” in a new commercial for their products.

According to documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, lawyers for Beastie Boys have accused GoldieBlox of copyright infringement and asked them to drop the ad, while the toy company insists the parody of the song is fair use. GoldieBlox filed a lawsuit on Thursday with a California federal court to get declaratory relief that the commercial is not a copyright infringement.

In the lawsuit, GoldieBlox says the Beastie Boys accused them of creating the ad “with specific goals to make fun of the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company’s goal to break down gender stereotypes and to encourage young girls to engage in activities that challenge their intellect, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.” They add the video “has gone viral on the Internet and has been recognized by the press and the public as a parody and criticism of the original song.”

However, THR notes that a rep for Beastie Boys claims the band didn’t take any action against the group, saying, “there was no complaint filed, no demand letter — no demand, for that matter — when they sued Beastie Boys.”

The Beasties themselves responded to the allegations, noting that while the band was “impressed by the creativity and the message” of GoldieBox’s commercial, they are upset their music is being used without their permission to sell goods.  “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,” writes the band. “When we tried to simply ask how and why our song ‘Girls’ had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.”

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