Parody of Beastie Boys' 'Girls' lands in court

The company behind a ‘Girls’ parody that went viral is asserting that the clip is fair use of the 1987 Beasties single.

This week, a two-minute ad for educational toy company Goldieblox went viral, garnering over 7 million hits. The company, which builds “games for girls to inspire future engineers,” flipped the Beastie Boys‘ ‘Girls’, one of the lowlights of the group’s impish, misogynistic phase, into an anthem for girls to demand better toys and a future in the sciences. The video (designed by Brett Doar, the man behind OK Go’s ‘This Too Shall Pass’ clip) sees a trio of girls turn all things pink and frilly into a Rube Goldberg-styled contraption.

However, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday by Goldieblox, lawyers for the Beastie Boys have threatened the company with copyright infringement, an unauthorized use of the group’s intellectual property that has a “very significant impact.” Now, like Robin Thicke and company before them, Goldiebox are going to federal court to get declaratory relief that the video is not copyright infringement.

The judge will determine if the Goldieblox ad is fair use by examining four factors: the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion taken and the effect of the use upon the potential market. While it is for a commercial purpose, Goldieblox may have a case based on the original ‘Girls’ lyrics and the ad’s non-commercial goals.

“GoldieBlox created its parody video 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,” says the lawsuit. “The GoldieBlox Girls Parody 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.”

Watch the video below and decide for yourself. As The Hollywood Reporter points out, the Beastie Boys are still defending a copyright suit involving Paul’s Boutique. The band has also sued Monster for copyright infringement.

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