GoldieBlox, a company that makes toys that encourage girls to become engineers, has stopped using a Beastie Boys song in its ads and has dropped its suit against the music group.

The toy company had been using a parody version of the Beastie Boys song “Girls” in a video ad that went viral and gained over seven million views.

The Beastie Boys threatened to sue the toy company for copyright infringement. In response, GoldieBlox’s own copyright lawyers filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment that their parody was a “fair use” of the song.

Shortly thereafter, however, the company founders dropped the suit and posted an open letter to Beastie Boys Mike Diamond and Adam Horwitz, referencing the will of the late Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch, who died in 2012 at the age of 47.

The letter said:

We don’t want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans….

We want you to know that when we posted the video, we were completely unaware that the late, great Adam Yauch had requested in his will that the Beastie Boys songs never be used in advertising. Although we believe our parody video falls under fair use, we would like to respect his wishes and yours.

The original version of the 1987 Beastie Boys song has lyrics like, “Girls — to do the dishes. Girls — to clean up my room/ Girls — to do the laundry/ Girls — and in the bathroom/.”

The new version has more empowering lyrics about girls who want to “build a spaceship” and “code a new app.”

GoldieBlox founder and CEO Debbie Sterling has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Product Design, and is concerned that women make up only 24% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering, and math.

The toy company video is one of four finalists in the “Small Business, Big Game” advertising contest run by Intuit. The winner will receive an ad, worth millions of dollars, to run during the Super Bowl.

How Can I Help?

If you have questions about copyright law, parody, and fair use — especially in the context of advertising — contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

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