You've probably seen it on your Facebook feed this week: the latest inspiring ad from GoldieBlox, the toy company aiming to break gender stereotypes by releasing toys focused on engineering and science (as opposed to the color pink). In this ad, as a parody of the Beastie Boys hit "Girls" plays, the little girls in the commercial put together a Rube Goldberg-esque chain reaction machine. (Think lyrics like, "Girls—to build the spaceship/Girls—to code the new app/Girls—to grow up knowing/That they can engineer that/Girls—that's all we really need is girls," sung by little girls.) But the band isn't happy about the use of its song.
"The Beastie Boys have now threatened GoldieBlox with copyright infringement," says the toy company, which filed a preemptive lawsuit in California in an attempt to get a declaratory judgement that the video falls within fair use. As the Hollywood Reporter notes, to determine whether fair use applies, a judge will consider—among other things—"the purpose and character of the use." Which, inspiring though the video may be, is ... selling stuff. (Adam Yauch's will prohibits the use of any of his songs in ads, Rolling Stone notes.) But the video is certainly popular, having been viewed nearly eight million times, and "there's no doubt that this particular advertisement has earned some cultural cachet," writes Eriq Gardner.