Back in August 2012, the band requested $2.5 million in damages for copyright infringement of several songs—along with false endorsement—all arising from a promotional video Monster made for a Canadian snowboarding event, “Ruckus in the Rockies.” While Monster conceded that it did infringe the Beastie Boys’ work, it claimed the infringement was an accident and that damages should only be around the $125,000 mark. read more
Maybe it was in celebration of International Happiness Day, or maybe it was just coincidence, but this week saw three high-profile copyright cases all resolved through out-of-court settlements.
First, upstart toy company GoldieBloxsettled with Beastie Boys over the unauthorized use of a version of the Beasties song “Girls” with altered lyrics in an online ad video. As we reported in December, the case was framed initially as a question of whether the video qualified as fair use, but it also raised issues of trademark infringement, false endorsement, unfair competition, and misappropriation of publicity rights. In the end, the Beasties got what The Hollywood Reporteroriginally reported that they were after: a donation by Goldieblox to a charity of the Beasties’ choice, based on a percentage of revenue, and a more substantive apology:
The Beastie Boys’ recent battle with upstart toy company GoldieBlox is one of the most contentious copyright conflicts in recent memory. Although many of us thought the episode was winding to a close, it now looks like this was premature: last week, the Beastie Boys filed their defense and counterclaims in a California federal court. Here’s a recap of the story so far.
First, GoldieBlox created an online advertisement titled “GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & The Beastie Boys” that used the 1986 Beasties hit “Girls”—a song which expressed juvenile sexist attitudes, possibly with satiric intent. The GoldieBlox ad changed the song’s sophomoric lyrics to mock the way toys are typically marketed to girls, while promoting products that cultivate girls’ interest in physics & engineering. The video went viral, earning widespread media attention and racking up millions of views.
[…] The suit doesn’t surprise Kembrew McLeod, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Iowa, and co-author, with economist and researcher Peter DiCola, of the book “Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling.” “‘Paul’s Boutique’ and other albums of that era are like ticking legal time bombs,” says McLeod, who also co-produced the acclaimed documentary “Copyright Criminals.” “For instance, in 2005, Run DMC was sued by the Knack for using ‘My Sharona’ for its song ‘It’s Tricky.’ And they were sued 20 years after the fact.” read more
All of us at FMC were saddened to hear of the passing of Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys. A pioneering musician, rapper, filmmaker, and activist, Yauch was hugely influential in connecting music and social change.