If you've seen the "Princess Machine" video from toy company GoldieBlox (embedded below), you'll probably agree with me that it goes beyond fair use of the song "Girls" given the opening music and the overall construction. The court will decide but this seems like a clear case where licensing should have been sought and, on that level, The Beastie Boys are correct in challenging a for-profit enterprise's use of the music. However, I believe The Beastie Boys should work something out and keep the video available to the public because they long ago disavowed the sexual/gender politics of their early music, even asking Prodigy not to play "Smack My Bitch Up" at the Reading Festival. If they're serious, the surviving members of the group should tell the lawyers to back the fuck up because this is the kind of video/ad real girls need to see.
GoldieBlox is a toy company working to give girls alternatives to the soul-numbing bullshit and pink cages our society subjects them to in a socialization process that the truly conscious spend the rest of their lives attempting to unravel. Women and men feel the effects of such programming and, in a capitalist society, a business like GoldieBlox can help move things forward at a time when public dialogue about gender issues is stunted and generally seems to be repeating or attacking the advances of the late 20th Century over and over again.
GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg, & Beastie Boys "Princess Machine"
(a concert for little girls)
The Beastie Boys song "Girls" was perfect for their early act. Juvenile, stupid, dismissive of young women except as sexual objects and house cleaners.
Eventually they disavowed much of their assholery, especially the late great Adam Yauch, and even went so far as to venture into a bit of censorship by asking Prodigy not to play "Smack My Bitch Up" at the 1998 Reading Festival.
If you consider what GoldieBlox is addressing, you can see they're actually attempting to create the conditions for young women to see alternatives to the bullshit propaganda that they can't get into tech because science and math is for boys.
This is particularly important as more and more power shifts to the tech sector which, demographically speaking, looks like IBM in the fucking 50s except skewed a bit younger and not wearing ties.
So, yeah, I understand why this is going to court but I think it's awesome that Goldie Blox filed a preemptive legal request because this message needs to get out there and the longer it stays up, the more little girls will see it.
I seriously hope the remaining members of The Beastie Boys will recognize the power of what GoldieBlox is doing and find a way to come to an agreement that allows the message to spread.
I'm tempted to close by invoking the spirit of Adam Yauch but that seems a bit cheap.
Besides, supporting this message is the right thing to do and The Beastie Boys simply need to man the fuck up and make it happen.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is building a writing hub at Flux Research. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.