The recent lawsuit between the Beastie Boys and the toy company Goldie Blox has gotten some attention as of late. See the Gothamist article here.
There are so many ways lawsuits could be avoided and people given credit where credit is due.
Goldie Blox, with all good intentions wants to inspire young girls to build things—that’s super. But actually they are inspiring girls—and all of us—to violate fair use when it comes to art and inventions. And to take it one step further: they teach us all to plagiarize others’ work. At least give credit where credit is due.
Yes, it’s a great commercial, and what good media and creative should be - but shame on you!
The lawsuit with the Beastie Boys song that they have blatantly used is a “remake” and not the parody that the company claims. But another aspect of it not mentioned, is the engineering feat of a Rube Goldberg machine that is pictured. Actually, one could make an argument that it is a rip-off of the artist team Peter Fischli and David Weiss who made this beautiful video, The Way Things Go, in 1987. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MF1fh7V5ivY
(I’m gonna make a guess that most of the creatives at the agency who made the commercial watched this in art school.)
So what is the remedy? Or what would have been proper practices in this matter?
Goldie Blox should have gotten permission from the Beastie Boys as well as Peter Fischli and David Weiss and made an arrangement with them for fair royalties contingent upon success of the advertisements. Wouldn’t that have all been cheaper than the law suits?
One of the prime reasons why the video is so successful, is because of the iconic nature of the song–it was a popular anthem during the formative years of current parents. We all know how strong music for our memory and emotions, and that is the magic secret sauce of viral media. And my generation, who loved the song are the ones holding the purse strings for those toys.
On the subject of the original song not having the most uplifting and empowering lyrics for women? C’est la vie. Even with my feminist eye, I didn’t notice it then and to remake it now is even better.