Being a shirt designer in the realm of pop culture based designs, I have had a lot of time to learn about intellectual property and trademarks and copyrights. And while I do understand that protecting your intellectual property is important, you have to realize that there are some fights just not worth pursuing.
Goldieblox recently came under fire by The Beastie Boys because of a commercial that showed girls bucking the pink plastic kitchenware toys of the 1950s-2010s and turning to ingenuity, creativity, and science to show just how smart and cool they are. They did it to the tune of the Beasties’ “Girls”.
This was brilliant as a OK Go / Rube Goldberg themed ad with the catchy tune in the background with the lyrics changed. The problem is that The Beasties have a policy of not letting companies use their music in ads, and like most artists this includes music used without their permission. But the Beasties and Goldieblox battled over who sued who first and, in the end, Goldieblox complied with replacing the music in the ad with an instrumental, you-get-it but-it’s-not-infringing-on-anyone, tune that still manages to evoke the idea of “Girls”.
What the remaining Beasties fail to realize is that this is the age of the Internet and social media and they simply invoked the Obi Wan Kenobi Threat. “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” How? GoldieBlox’s YouTube channel took down the other ad but you can still find it.
Not to mention, every news outlet’s own YouTube channel and story that picked up on the commercial shows the original video or a full story about the lawsuit, featuring the original commercial with the original song.
But... the story takes another twist.
Remember how I said the commercial was reminiscent of OK Go? That’s because the mechanical marvel was designed and built by Brett Doar, GASP “a stinky boy with cooties.” Who built the Rube Goldberg device for OK Gos “This Too Shall Pass” video.
So… who is the loser in all this mess?
Is it the Beastie Boys, who lose an ounce of respect from fans, especially females, for picking on little girls? (Which they didn’t. They went after a company who neglected to follow intellectual property rules. The girls were the face of the story and thereby collateral damage.)
Is it Goldieblox, who got beat down by the establishment for trying to promote girls are equally as smart and creative as boys and got slapped for not following intellectual property rules? (Which doesn’t matter because the consciousness of what they tried to do lives on in the form of undying Internet pixels and increased sales due to awareness.)
Or is it girls who are, once again, relegated to being an object. The company wanted to promote the idea that girls are equally creative and smart as boys and in executing this plan, hired a man to do all the work while they just looked cute and cool.
Or is it the public who rises up and shares “LOOK AT THESE GIRLS!” “GIRLS RULE. BOYS DROOL.” all over social media while neglecting to understand intellectual property rules, marketing to the masses under the guise of promoting gender equality, or simply creating buzz by social engineering.
Me, I’m just here showing a cool video in the face of the man… because the Internet is forever and we’re all stupid to believe we are in control.
You gotta fight for your right. Know what I mean?