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GoldieBlox Apologizes to Beastie Boys — Is It Enough?

GoldieBlox Apology - is it enough?Earlier this week GoldieBlox posted a public apology to the Beastie Boys. Four months ago the toy company enjoyed the spotlight from a viral video featuring the music from the Beastie Boys with re-tooled lyrics. There was just one big problem with their video: They never asked the Beastie Boys if they could use their song.

Attorneys from the Beastie Boys contacted the creators of GoldieBlox and in response to that, GoldieBlox filed a civil action suit to attempt to declare their video, which they are calling a parody, protected under the Fair Use Doctrine. Instantly things became a battle of boys vs. girls. Supporters of GoldieBlox didn’t understand why the Beastie Boys couldn’t just let the company use their song and attempted to paint the band as anti-feminist.

On November 25th last year, the Beastie Boys issued a statement which read, in part, “As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads. When we tried to simply ask how and why our song ‘Girls’ had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.”

The lawsuit between the Beastie Boys and GoldieBlox has been settled. Rolling Stone reported the terms of the settlement:

“That settlement includes (a) the issuance of an apology by GoldieBlox, which will be posted on GoldieBlox’s website, and (b) a payment by GoldieBlox, based on a percentage of its revenues, to one or more charities selected by Beastie Boys that support science, technology, engineering and mathematics education for girls.”

The apology now appears on the homepage, below the fold, of Goldieblox. It reads:

“We sincerely apologize for any negative impact our actions have had on the Beastie Boys. We never intended to cast the band in a negative light and we regret putting them in a position to defend themselves when they had done nothing wrong.

As engineers and builders of intellectual property, we understand an artist’s desire to have his or her work treated with respect. We should have reached out to the band before using their music in the video.

We know this is only one of the many mistakes we’re bound to make as we grow our business. The great thing about mistakes is how much you can learn from them. As trying as this experience was, we have learned a valuable lesson. From now on, we will secure the proper rights and permissions in advance of any promotions, and we advise any other young company to do the same.”

This apology, forgive me, but it feels so incredibly insincere. I feel like this was a complete missed opportunity for GoldieBlox to step up. When my son makes a mistake, he sometimes still needs to be prompted to give an apology. As moms I think we all know the difference between a no eye-contact “sorry” and a genuine apology. This apology is a mandated apology and every inch of it seems shrugged off. It reads more like, “Sorry you guys got upset.”

I’m disappointed in GoldieBlox for sighing their way out of this. They were not only in the wrong in the first place, but they had the audacity to try and sue the Beastie Boys after being called out on their wrongness. I know we can’t demand sincerity, but it would have been nice. It really would have been a great opportunity to teach and own up.

What do you think? Was their apology sincere? Does that even matter to you?

Image Credit: GoldiBlox homepage

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