What at first seemed like a cute and even well-intentioned video advertisement has spiraled into a legal mess for one startup company.
The Beastie Boys have joined a lawsuit filed by Def Jam, Sony and Rick Rubin against toymaker GoldieBlox over its unauthorized use of the song "Girls" in a YouTube video ad that went viral in a matter of days.
The pioneering punk-turned-rap trio accused the toy company of acting "intentionally and despicably with oppression, fraud, and malice toward the Beastie Boys," and, that the company's massive sales increase was a direct result of the use of "Girls."
The song was used without permission in a YouTube video that quickly garnered more than 7 million views in about a week. After the Beastie Boys inquired about the use of their song in the video, GoldieBlox filed a lawsuit for "injunctive relief" against the Beastie Boys, Def Jam, Sony, Rick Rubin and Adam Horovitz.
"Lawyers for the Beastie Boys claim that the GoldieBlox Girls Parody Video is a copyright infringement, is not a fair use, and that GoldieBlox's unauthorized use of the Beastie Boys intellectual property is a 'big problem' that has a 'very significant impact,'" the lawsuit said.
In response the Beastie Boys wrote an open letter to say that wasn't the case.
"When we tried to simply ask how and why our song 'Girls' had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US," the letter said.
The Beastie Boys' lawsuit notes that the company has created similar ads with unauthorized music from Daft Punk and Queen.
In an important precedent noted by Reuters, Campbell vs Acuff-Rose Music, the judge ruled that "the use of a copyrighted work to advertise a product, even in a parody, will be entitled to less indulgence" than "the sale of a parody for its own sake."
Either way, there's no arguing that GoldieBlox has drummed up a ton of publicity -- both positive and negative -- from the situation. You can read the full Beastie Boys legal complaint below.