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The Beastie Boys Unhappy About “Girls” Viral Princess Machine Video

If you haven’t had a chance to this the video, they you probably just haven’t been using the Internet enough.  So stop playing outside and get back onto your computer.  If you have been surfing the net then you know Goldieblox, a toy manufacturer whose products help teach young girls about engineering and science, put out the video.  The Video feature three girls who construct an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine out of their stereotypical girly toys, while an altered version of the Beastie Boys song “Girls” plays in the background.  The song lyrics are in pointed opposition to the original lyrics of the song.

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Science and engineering is an industry lacking in female talent with only about a quarter of positions being filled by women. This video challenges that notion and has generated quite a discussion around the blogosphere.

From Wired Magazine:

 “Goldieblox is all about making engineering accessible and fun to girls at a young age, and a Rube Goldberg machine is something totally relatable because it combines everyday objects to do something whimsical and magical,” said Beau Lewis, the creative director of the video . . .

Unfortunately, the Beastie Boys are not too happy about it.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, the band is threatening the toy company with copyright infringement. Goldieblox responded saying that the song is a parody of the original, which is one of the defenses against copyright infringement. When someone parodies a work, they are imitating it for comedy or ridicule.  Also, the new work is very similar to the original; close enough for people to know it’s from the original work, but not so similar as to actually be a copy Saturday Night Live and Weird Al Yankovic are good examples of parody and the reason they are not constantly being sued.

Here is Goldieblox response to the potential lawsuit:

In the lyrics of the Beastie Boys’ song entitled Girls, girls are limited (at best) to household chores, and are presented as useful only to the extent they fulfill the wishes of the male subjects. The GoldieBlox Girls Parody Video takes direct aim at the song both visually and with a revised set of lyrics celebrating the many capabilities of girls. Set to the tune of Girls but with a new recording of the music and new lyrics, girls are heard singing an anthem celebrating their broad set of capabilities—exactly the opposite of the message of the original. They are also shown engaging in activities far beyond what the Beastie Boys song would permit. GoldieBlox created its parody video specifically to comment on the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company’s goal to break down gender stereotypes and to encourage young girls to engage in activities that challenge their intellect, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.  – Pitchfork.com

Goldieblox has a good argument.  The Beastie Boys may not agree, but we’ll just have to wait and see if they disagree enough to actually file the lawsuit.

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About the author

Steve Schlackman

As a photographer and Patent Attorney with a background in marketing, Steve has a unique perspective on art and law. Should you have any questions on Intellectual Property contact him at steve@orangenius.com. His photography can be seen online at Fotofilosophy.com or on display at the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery in New York City.

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