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Beastie Boys vs. Goldieblox: Who has the right to use "Girls"?

Vanessa Mazal

The Beastie Boys are suing Goldiebox, makers of a toy geared at teaching young girls about engineering, for re-appropriating their classic '80's anthem, 'Girls', for a sales campaign. Sure, artists should be able to determine how their creative material is used. But perhaps the Beastie Boys should consider this a teeny step toward redemption for having benefitted from such an absurdly misogynistic hit song long ago?

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  • Liz Dwyer

    Goldieblox actually filed suit against the Beastie Boys. Whatever one thinks of the lyrics to the original "Girls" song, there's no denying that MCA prohibited use of any of their music for commercial purposes. I love Goldieblox but I don't think we can say that just because the Beastie Boys made a misogynistic song back in the day that it's fair game on their creations.

  • thelightgetsin

    "A teeny step toward redemption"? Please. The Beasties are a rare example of artists who've matured in public and disowned a lot of their youthfully stupid lyrics. On that front, they've been redeeming themselves since Ill Communication came out in 94.

    Not to mention, over the years, they've consistently lent their voices and work to humanitarian causes ... of their own choosing. I don't think their "redemption" depends on them allowing a toy company to use their music in an ad to sell a plastic made-in-China consumer product (that is still pretty gender normative, by the way), just because people like the underlying message.

    • Vanessa Mazal

      I completely agree that Beasties have more than redeemed themselves in other ways, but as someone who happened to be both a Beastie fan and a girl in 1986 (one with a sense of humor who fully appreciated the irony in the lyrics, even in the 5th grade, BTW) I can't help but see "Girls" as a dark spot on their otherwise positive record. (I've done a lot of good things, but it doesn't erase bad things I've done that I should take responsibility for.) And you're right, Goldiebox may not be the highest example of an opportunity to reappropriate the song, but nevertheless, I appreciate intention and the conversation!

  • Ben Goldhirsh

    hahahahahahaha. this is sort of the opposite of when a band gets after a crappy politician for using their music as theme music. the one thing I do think they have going for them is that I'm pretty sure when MCA passed away, as part of his will, he and the other members agreed to never license a song for any commercial use. given the awesome nature of Goldiblox, I figured this wanted rise up, but I guess it is what it is. nonetheless, I think everyone is going to come out winning on this one, and i think the point you make on the penance is a damn good one.

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      Ya I say this was a chance for the Beastie Boys to reshape their image a bit. But- maybe they're just over it?