It was only a matter of time before the lawsuit came about.  If you grew up in the 80's then you know about the Beastie Boys.  I like the Beastie Boys, but you haven't heard a whole lot of anything from them lately since one of their members passed away.  Last week Goldie Blox, a toy company for girls, hit the scene hard with a commercial that has gotten over 8 million views on YouTube.  The commercial used the Beastie Boys song "Girls."  So the question is, should they have used the song in the commercial.

The Beastie Boys are claiming copyright infringement and Goldie Blox is claiming fair use.

According to Copyright.gov:

Copyright Infringement

As a general matter, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.

Fair Use

(in US copyright law) the doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder.

One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the copyright law (title 17, U. S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of “fair use.” The doctrine of fair use has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years and has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

So  now that you know the definitions, do you think the Beastie Boys have a case or do you think Goldie Blox had fair use of the song?

I'm not sure but I am going to side with the Beastie Boys on this one, because I thought any time you used someones songs not matter how you use it, you had to pay for the rights to use it?

Here's the Beastie Boys "Girls"

Here's the Goldie Blox commercial.