Journal of Critical Incidents
January 01, 2015
GoldieBlox posted a video to its website that depicted young girls creating an elaborate and entertaining Rube Goldberg device. The only audio in the video is a performance of the Beastie Boys song “Girls” with the original misogynistic lyrics changed to be empowering to girls and women. The musician believed that the use without their permission of the music was an infringement of their intellectual property rights. GoldieBlox argued that the use was permissible as a fair use, specifically that the song GoldieBlox created was a parody of the original song. Because fair use is a defense to a copyright infringement claim and is only asserted once a copyright owner has proven that claim, there was inherent uncertainty in whether GoldieBlox’s use would be protected. Accordingly, GoldieBlox had to evaluate its legal risk and decide whether to continue to assert its rights to the song in the video.