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Beastie Boy, GoldieBlox Settle Lawsuit Over ‘Girls’ Ad

A contentious legal battle over fair use comes to an end.

A contentious legal battle over the use of the Beastie Boys’ 1987 song “Girls” has come to a close with a settlement. 

Toy company GoldieBlox, in a preemptive attempt to declare “fair use” of the track in a viral video, took the Beasties to court in Nov. 2013 to which the band responded with a countersuit asserting copyright and trademark infringement, unfair competition and misappropriation of publicity rights.

Toy Company Pulls Beastie Boys’ Song in Ad, Attempts to Make Amends

The lawsuit proceeded into the new year, during which GoldieBlox pulled “Girls” from its video featuring three girls playing with a Rube Goldberg-type contraption (it’s still viewable elsewhere on the internet) after it had already garnered tens of millions of views.

The band further asserted that GoldieBlox demonstrated a systematic campaign of infringement, having used well-known songs from “popular artists in an effort to achieve the company’s primary goal of selling toys.” According to the counterclaims, GoldieBlox has produced videos exploiting the works of Queen, Daft Punk, Kaskade, Krewella, Avicii, Slam, k.flay and Trevor Guthrie.

The company aired a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl.

Beastie Boys vs. GoldieBlox: New Countersuit As Universal Music Watches Closely

The debate over fair use was a topic discussed at last week’s South By Southwest music conference where Amy Rosen, VP Music Licensing & Supervision at Grey Worldwide, joined Leslie Frank, partner at King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner, LLP, Songs Music Publishing’s head of creative services Tom DeSavia and artist Rhett Miller on a panel titled Fighting For Their Rights: A Discussion on The Beastie Boys, Fair Use, and Copyright.

In agreeing to a settlement, the terms of which are unknown, the case is dismissed without prejudice.