Music Business

Goldieblox Paid $1 Million To Charity To Settle Beastie Boys Lawsuit

image from www.hypebot.comLast November, toymaker Goldiebox got into a legal spat over the use of a Beastie Boys song in a viral video. Should Goldiblox be protected under fair use? There was no clear answer, but rather than fight it out in the courts, Goldibox settled; and now thanks to an unrelated lawsuit we know for how much. 

In another lawsuit, this one between the Beastie Boys and Monster Energy Drink, the parties are arguing about what is "reasonable" licensing compensation. New filings, shared by Eriq Gardner,  reveal the terms of the Beastie's settlement with Goldibox:

image from www.cityofhewitt.comThe GoldieBlox Settlement granted GoldieBlox a retroactive license to use the musical composition of “Girls” between November 18, 2013 and November 28, 2013…. In exchange, GoldieBlox agreed to make annual payments of 1% of its gross revenue, until the total payments reached $1 million, to a charitable organization chosen by the Beastie Boys and approved by GoldieBlox which supports “science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics education for girls.” … The parties also agreed to make certain, specifically worded public statements… and to keep the settlement confidential, with certain exceptions, including its use in litigation. (via Techdirt)

Whatever your position on Fair Use, a $1 million settlement for a viral video that was up for 10 days reinforces just how broken our digital copyright system is.


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  1. Ανακαινίσεις- Design Lab – Έκθεση Τεχνόπολις, Γκάζι
    Το Design Lab, η γιορτή της Αρχιτεκτονικής και του Design, με νέες ιδέες και λύσεις για τις ανακαινίσεις κατοικιών, ανακαινίσεις καταστημάτων επανέρχεται για τέταρτη συνεχή χρονιά φιλοδοξώντας να αποτελέσει για μια ακόμη φορά σημείο αναφοράς, συνάντησης και ενημέρωσης για όσους αγαπούν το σύγχρονο design στην Τεχνόπολις στο Γκάζι. Η είσοδος είναι δωρεάν Σάββατο – Κυριακή – Δευτέρα 26-4-2014

  2. Actually, the license was not available so what is the right price for something you can’t have? Leaving aside copyright altogether and focusing on claims for right of oublicity and implied endorsement alone.

  3. I’m not sure you completely understand the legal issues. As previously stated by another commentator, this is not entirely about fair use. The song was not available to be licensed, so therefore by using it, GoldieBlox created an implied endorsement by the Beastie Boys in its products which it had absolutely NO legal right to do. Plus it misappropriated the Beasties rights of publicity. This is not about a viral video. This about all of the profits GB made because it choose to illegally associate itself with the Beasties. But for the implied endorsement and misappropriation, would anyone have purchased these GB products? In my opinion, I think $1 million was a reasonable and perhaps cheap settlement. GB should be overjoyed.

  4. I completely disagree with Stacey K and MusicTechPolicy regarding the merits of the litigation but agree wholeheartedly with their conclusion.
    The Beastie Boys had a very weak case. The right to parody music (even for commercial reasons) has been consistently protected by the Supreme Court. One of the most famous examples involves another rap group — the 2 Live Crew “Pretty Woman” case brought by Roy Orbson’s estate. It seems impossible to believe that 2 Live Crew would be constitutionally protected to make a dirty parody of “Pretty Woman” but GoldieBox would be infringing by making an empowering version of Girls.
    That said, this is a great result benefiting both parties. GoldieBox clearly gets a benefit by donating to a charity that supports its corporate brand, and the Beastie Boys go on record has having defended their intellectual property, even though they likely agreed with the sentiment of the GoldieBox version. Plus, defending the litigation probably would have cost GoldieBox at least $1 million in legal fees. It’s a win-win.

  5. @stacyk
    Goldieblox got screwed here. While the settlement probably was less than the cost of litigating fair use, this was clearly fair use. Copyright doesn’t give you the right to stop people from using your material even if it’s not fair use. There was clear precedent for this being fair use, but because courts are inept when it comes to fair use, goldieblox definitely made the rational decision in the face of the Beastie Boys’ IP bullying

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