back to article Beastie Boys settle with toy maker over Girls copyright dispute

The remaining members of the Beastie Boys have quietly settled their curious legal spat with US toy maker Goldieblox. The hip-hop stars bowled a sueball at Goldieblox in December last year, after the toy San Francisco-based company - which specialises in building blocks purported to get little girls interested in engineering - …

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Anonymous Coward

Creativity declining? one of your band members dead? no need to worry, just sue everyone off the face of the earth.

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Go and produce something, copyright it, and then see how you feel when it runs on a tv advert and you get squat.

Just because its a creative piece of work, why should they not see a benefit?

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You're missing some of the story AC. The Beasties came to an agreement that none of their music would be used in advertisements. With one of the band now dead, that agreement is probably going to assume more importance in the minds of the surviving members; mixed as it is with bereavement. That bit is pure speculation, of course.

Possibly not knowing about this, the toy company used the music; but whether they knew or not, they still didn't ask permission.

The Beasties heard about this and sent them a (polite for Beasties) "cut it out" note.

The toy company replied with a lawsuit.

The Beasties countersued. And it looks like they won. I'm glad for them.

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"see how you feel when it runs on a tv advert and you get squat"

They wouldn't be getting squat though, they'd be receiving royalties from the use just as expected. It was the usage itself, not payments for, that was their problem, since they'd specifically stated that they never wanted their music used to sell product.

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>Creativity declining? one of your band members dead? no need to worry, just sue everyone off the face of the earth.

Yeah too bad the surviving members of the band have made more off royalties this year than you will make in your entire life probably. The last thing they need is cash as evidenced by the fact they refuse to allow their music in commercials. Besides as the article shows they didn't sue they countersued and won.

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No, can't steal...

...but do nick those VW car badges though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No, can't steal...

I wonder if the toy company hold IP over the products they make??

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Beastie Boyz are cool kids, I like their some of their music ... I have all their albums (I paid for them).

I usually side with the perpetrators of copyright "theft", but here, I side with Beastie. I hate it when ads use music without asking permission, worse, when they use a cover - covers in ads usually suck.

Besides, ads convey an image - that image is then reflected on the band.

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Happy

"Beastie Boyz are cool kids"

Aren't they knocking on about 50 now?

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Anonymous Coward

Knocking on 50?

Yeah maybe, and so are some of their fans! What of it?? ;-)

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Who sued who?

Does anyone else have trouble understanding this story? It says that Goldieblox sued ("dropped a lawsuit on") the Beastie Boys after using one of their songs in a TV ad. I know the law's an ass, etc, but that strikes me as a curious thing to do.

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Re: Who sued who?

Timeline -

1. Goldieblox run advert pimping their somehow not-sexist "Lego for girls".

2. Beasite Boys send letter requesting (not demanding) that they stop using the song "Girls" on it in accordance with Adam Yauch's last wishes.

3. Goldieblox sue Beastie Boys. I know but that's what happened.

4. Beastie Boys countersue under legal advice.

5. Media go batshit crazy.

6. Goldieblox retracts unwinnable bizarre lawsuit.

7. (This article) - Beastie Boys drop countersuit.

My take-home from all this was "if the next one's a girl, she gets Lego. Fuck gender-specific toys".

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Re: Who sued who?

It gets quite confusing now that some El Reg authors have started using the word 'drop' and 'dropped' in an illogical way which can make a sentence at best ambiguous but often incoherent.

However in this case you are correct that the author was exclaiming that Goldieblox was the antagonist in the original lawsuit. They sued because the Beastie Boys, or more likely their representatives, had threatened to sue due to their unlawful use of their music.

Goldieblox sued in an attempt to get a summary judgement that their use was fair use (presumably it is advantageous to be the plaintiff in a suit rather than a defendant).

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Re: Who sued who?

It's exactly what happened. The toy makers preemptively sought "Injunctive Relief" to stop the Beastie Boys from sueing them for using their song. The Beastie Boys obligingly did follow up with a lawsuit.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/28/goldieblox_apologises_to_beastie_boys_over_girls_parody/

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Re: Who sued who?

Iirc, Goldiebox had been advised that they were about to be sued by the Beasties. So they pre-empted it by suing first.

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Re: Who sued who?

You might want to have a look at this story for the full details - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/13/beastie_boys_sue_goldieblox_right_back/

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Re: Who sued who?

And both get a nice bit of free advertising (for a given value of free, depending on quite what the undisclosed figures were and who paid what to whom), and the lawyers get their usual percentage...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who sued who?

> My take-home from all this was "if the next one's a girl, she gets Lego. Fuck gender-specific toys".

I'll just leave this here:

http://friends.lego.com/en-us/

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Headmaster

Re: Who sued who?

Dogged remarked ' Fuck gender-specific toys.'

Indeed. There's an industry based on people doing just that.

(BTW; it's 'Who sued whom?' Just sayin')

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Re: Who sued who?

>I'll just leave this here:

>http://friends.lego.com/en-us/

Bloody hellfire, AC! Is nothing sacred? Is nothing immune to dickwads from marketing and their obsession with pink?

Fine! Meccano, then!

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Pint

Re: Who sued who?

What's that dogged, you want pink? I'll bet the marketing wads can do this all day. The only wager that makes sense -->

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WTF?

Re: Who sued who?

Well, I could live with the pink, but Meccano made out of plastic? WTF? That really is outrageous.

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Facepalm

Re: Is nothing immune to dickwads from marketing and their obsession with pink?

Looks like mauve and cyan to me.

And I'll give you these ones for free...

http://brickset.com/sets/3933-1

http://brickset.com/sets/41002-1

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Re: Who sued who?

so one lawyer firm persuaded goldiebox to sue, and another lawyer firm persuaded the beastie boys to counter-sue.

A settlement is /sabotage

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Silver badge

Re: So let me get this right...

Sadly, you got it wrong.

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Thumb Up

Re: So let me get this right...

time to update the quote about it will be a just world when the last lawyer is hung with the guts of the last banker ....

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Re: So let me get this right...

Hanged Jimmy, hanged... The imagery you have conjured up there is just macabre.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So let me get this right...

I'll take your grammar over the other guy any day. Past tense is hung in my mind, right or wrong. No one says "hanged", it just doesn't sound right unless you are pronouncing sentence on a felon.

Besides, you have to fight for your right to paaaarty!

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FAIL

The hidden beauty of U.S. copyright law.

Parody use doesn't require permission. It's fair use and not subject to copyright claims.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The hidden beauty of U.S. copyright law.

I suspect there's a difference between "parody" and "using modified lyrics for a commercial advertisement".

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Re: The hidden beauty of U.S. copyright law.

I can see how you can parody a song a la that Weird Al wotshisname. However, using the melody as backing for an advert, even if the words were "reworked" is definitely not parody.

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Re: The hidden beauty of U.S. copyright law.

This explains it

http://www.legalzoom.com/intellectual-property-rights/copyrights/2-live-crew-weird-al

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Re: The hidden beauty of U.S. copyright law.

>The hidden beauty of U.S. copyright law.

Umm its not US Patent Law. It still sucks because it get extended anytime Disney gets a hair up its ass and thinks Steamboat Willie will become public domain like all the old fairy tales ole Walt ripped off to get rich.

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Re: The hidden beauty of U.S. copyright law.

Tthe parody needs to exist for the sake of satire itself. Al Yankovic typically manages to go a little further and parody not just the original song but satirise a topical subject at the same time. Now promoting a fictional product to mock a real one, or real advertising, is parody. Promoting a real product is not.

But this toy genuinely looks a bit rubbish. Someone's punting a sub-standard construction system at girls in the hope that they won't notice.

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Alert

Re: The hidden beauty of U.S. copyright law.

This is about advertising. I don't think advertising should qualify as protected free speech, never mind as parody.

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Let this be a lesson

If you use someone's creation without asking permission and they decide to be nice and politely ask you to stop instead of immediately executing their legal options then the proper response is not to sue them. If you do they're going to countersue and win.

What do I get out of this whole thing? First, the Beasties have a little more respect from me (since they sent a polite letter saying 'please stop infringing our stuff' instead of a DMCA demand). Second, my daughter will never have Goldieblocks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let this be a lesson

Mine had proper Lego and Meccano. Just been appointed senior development manager.

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Re: Let this be a lesson

Please lay off the spin.

Seeking declaratory judgment is the appropriate response to someone threatening a lawsuit that you believe to be merit-less. We have all heard of situations (often involving patent trolls) where part of the game plan is to drive up the costs of a "potential infringer" so that the "potential infringer" finds it easier to settle than fight. Seeking declaratory judgment is the appropriate and most practical way to get a simple answer to the key question: is the supposedly infringing use an actual infringement or fair use?

Now, regardless of whether you or I think it was (or wasn't), if the toy company believed that they were covered by the parody exemption (and remember, the lyrics were heavily modified and the "plain meaning" of the result was the complete opposite from the original), then having some "intellectual property rights management" company come the heavy hand (which is what happened) may legitimately result in a desire to get a court to say that no, actually you're on safe ground.

To their credit, when the artists (as opposed to the "IP rights management" company) started talking to the toy company, the toy company responded very differently (pulling the ad). Possibly in order to protect their position in case it all went pear shaped, the artists subsequently filed suit... but this seems as reasonable a position as asking for declaratory judgment, i.e. an appropriate step based on their position (right or wrong).

(The above comment is factually erroneous in the assertion that the original contact to the toy company was "nice" or "polite" or indeed from the Beasties).

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Mushroom

Re: Let this be a lesson

You talk like an ambulance chaser. Must be nice being able to put an innovation tax on every other profession. Keeping on leeching and pretending you are anything but a tick on the ass of humanity.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let this be a lesson

Except the meaning wasn't "the complete opposite" of the original and they obviously did no fucking research whatsoever regarding the BB's position on this type of use. So take your spin and sit on it.

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Windows

I can't stand it, I know ya planned it.

The Beasties will always have a place in my heart for making Rap an acceptable occupation for grumpy old white guys. Any adman messing with their legacy gets what he deserves.

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Anonymous Coward

It all starts with one creative use of one of your tunes and before you know it you're down the slippery slope doing a "Snoop Dog" and doing the backing music for one of the worst ever car insurance adverts on foreign (for him) TV....

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Anonymous Coward

Don'tcha know?????

It's Snoop Lion now (until somebody changes his mind again).

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Re: doing a "Snoop Dog"

Actually, I think it's quite a neatly done advert; it's just the product it's advertising is a pathetic embarrassment.

I mean, the latest Lynx ad is a genuinely heart-in-the-mouth moment of television when you see it for the first time; the fact that it ends with a promotional message for teenage rutting-gas shouldn't detract from some masterly (not to mention highly topical) short-form film-making.

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Anonymous Coward

When they parody an artist or band it's called

pastiche. Just to inform the ignorants. When they parody a song it's called a ... (you guessed it) "parody".

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Paris Hilton

Re: When they parody an artist or band it's called

Is it wrong that when I read "pastiche" it sounds in my head like "piss-take"?

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"encourages stealing from others."

I really like the hipocrisy in that statement, since stealing from other works one of the fundaments of rap music. Does "Amen Break" ring a bell? "Millions" of songs use that sample. BB also used it, yet the guy who played it on the original record didn`t receive one lousy cent although a lot of people made a healthy profit on his work.

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Windows

Re: "encourages stealing from others."

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/permission-sampled-music-sample-clearance-30165.html

The BBs sampled anyone they could reach, the nature of Hip Hop is to canabalise any other music to make a fresh new sound, ripping off another artist's work without permission is very likely to attract legal attention.

Weird Al Yankovic always asks permission before recording and distributing parody versions of other artist's work. He has never released any of his Prince parodies because Prince refused to let him.

If you respect an artist you should act the same way. Lack of respect leads to litigation.

Go ask the Justified Ancients of Mumu who had to burn the entire stock of their first album 1987 just because ABBA took exception to their baby voice synth version of Dancing Queen, used without permission.

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Alert

Re: "encourages stealing from others."

"I really like the hipocrisy in that statement, since stealing from other works one of the fundaments of rap music."

There's a big difference between using others' work to make derivative works for art's sake and using others' work in (spit) advertising.

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