Beastie Boys, Toy Company in Tangled Legal Dispute

Our NYC and Miami Entertainment Law Firm advises and represents clients in all legal matters related to music, sports, television/film, visual and literary works, modeling, online matters, and intellectual property.

Licensing is a big money-maker for many artists, but there is more at risk with merchandising and licensing than money. Some artists feel that by licensing their creative work to a commercial purpose, they are cheapening it and harming their artistic integrity. Some of them feel that when they license their work, they appear to be offering a personal endorsement of the product or service, and therefore their personal integrity is at stake, as well. With all these concerns, some artists choose not to license their work at all. Among these artists are the surviving members of the Beastie Boys.

The Beastie Boys’ reluctance to license their songs for commercial use came to public attention recently in a legal battle with a toy company that used an altered version of one of their songs in an online video. The video, produced by GoldieBlox, a maker of toys marketed to girls, uses the Beastie Boys’ song “Girls” (a sexist song from early in the band’s career) with lyrics altered to convey a message that is more supportive of girls. The video quickly went viral, with many people sharing it on social media and remarking on its positive message.

The Beastie Boys and Universal Music Group were less impressed with the video. According to an open letter the Beastie Boys sent to GoldieBlox, they sent a letter to the toy company asking how it came to use their song, noting the band’s longtime reluctance to license their song for commercial use. GoldieBlox responded by filing a claim in federal court asking for a declaratory judgment that its use of the song was permissible through the fair use provision of the Copyright Act. However, days later the company pulled the video from the Internet.

Fair Use is a complex and widely misunderstood concept in intellectual property law. It has been used in the past to defend parody versions of songs against claims of copyright infringement. However, it is far from clear that the court will consider the use of the song in this case as fair use, especially considering the fact that GoldieBlox used the song in a commercial effort to sell toys.

It’s important for artists and athletes to think carefully before signing a merchandising or licensing deal. Qualified attorneys with experience in Florida’s sports and entertainment industries can help them to understand the terms of the deal and their possible consequences.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “Beastie Boys, ‘Girls’ Viral Video in Copyright Infringement Fight,” Eriq Gardner, Nov. 22, 2013

The entertainment industry can be a complicated field to navigate. As a trusted leader in Miami entertainment law, ChaseLawyers can help. With over 40 years of experience, Our Miami based lawyers have helped individuals in nearly every area of entertainment law in Miami, including sports, music, film, television, modeling, literature, and more. We understand the unique challenges you face as a creative, and we’re prepared to protect your interests.

As an artist in Miami, you must navigate the intricacies of copyright law, trademarks, contractual agreements, and much more. It is critical you choose a qualified Miami entertainment lawyer with expertise in the nuances of the entertainment world. ChaseLawyers has built a stellar reputation among our clientele for honest, professional representation that produces effective results. We have extensive experience in the unique legal elements you must navigate as an artist, and our attorneys can provide you with indispensable career advice and expertise over the course of your entertainment career.

When you work with ChaseLawyers, you are more than just a client. We care about your well-being and can provide essential advice on the issues you face in the Miami market, such as intellectual property issues, negotiating service agreements, publicity rights, and much more. We also have an extensive network of resources available for our clients to connect with, and those connections can enrich your career in countless ways. Our team understands the complex world of entertainment law and will take care of your legal needs so you can focus on doing what you do best—sharing your talent with the world!

When you’re ready to take the next step in your career, our Miami entertainment lawyers are ready to help you. We are passionate about helping creatives with all of their legal needs, and you won’t find a team more dedicated to your success in all of Miami. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!