GoldieBlox, an Oakland-based company that makes science and technology themed toys for girls, parodied the Beastie Boys' song "Girls" in a commercial.
The parodied video had changed the Beastie Boys' "Girls" lyrics to the following to reflect the company:
"Girls to build a spaceship/
Girls to code the new app/
Girls to grow up knowing/
That they can engineer that
Girls, that's all we really need is girls/
To bring us up to speed, it's girls/
Our opportunity is girls/
Don't underestimate girls."
Band members criticized the ad for copyright infringement, saying the company did not have rights to the song.
The Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch, who died from cancer in 2012 at the age of 47, famously wrote in his will that he prohibited the use of his image or music in an advertisement ever.
In November 2013, GoldieBlox preemptively sued the Beastie Boys, citing "fair use" for the rights to the song, but they also pulled the commercial from the internet.
After the company pulled the commercial, it put up in its place a new one with the same video, but a different song:
Before the parody video was pulled it reached more than eight million views, and the "Princess Machine" became one of the most popular toys on Amazon, Variety reported.
In December 2013, the Beastie Boys issued a counterclaim lawsuit against GoldieBlox for using a version of the 1987 hit.
The counterclaim from the band pursued copyright and trademark infringement, false advertising, false endorsement, unfair competition, and other claims.
"Unfortunately, rather than developing an original advertising campaign to inspire its customers to create and innovate, GoldieBlox has instead developed an advertising campaign that condones and encourages stealing from others," the counterclaim stated.
The suit also claimed that GoldieBlox had committed copyright infringement many times before, having used well-known songs from "popular artists in an effort to achieve the company's primary goal of selling toys," including Queen, Daft Punk, Avicii, Slam, k.flay, Trevor Guthrie, and others.