Update: Beastie Boys Settle with Goldieblox: More grace than Goldieblox deserved

“Put all your eggs in one basket, and then WATCH that basket.”

From Pudd’nhead Wilson and Other Tales by Mark Twain

At the intersection of “Too Cute By Half” and “Stupid Stanford Tricks,” we find Silicon Valley darlings, Goldieblox.  What do they teach them at Stanford, anyway?

In a gracious–and supremely undeserved–act of kindness, the Beastie Boys agreed to dismiss the lawsuit (Goldieblox Dismissal) that Goldieblox brought against them.  If I had to guess, I would guess that the paying party was probably not just Goldieblox, but that’s because I always thought that Goldieblox was engaged in marketing by lawsuit and got extraordinarily bad advice.

The unanswered questions in this case are many, but I think they’ll just have to go into that mysteries of life pile unless Goldieblox just cannot keep it buttoned and there’s a better than 50/50 chance of that.

First, what did Intuit know and when did they know it?  My hunch?  A lot, and early on.  Another question is what did YouTube know, when did they know it, and who was in on the early viral activity of the Beastie version of the video on YouTube.  My hunch?  A lot, early on, and many, many YouTube executives.  You know, marketing by bot.

Another question:  Who is paying the legal fees of the Google legal team that suddenly appeared when Goldieblox decided to change their lawyers.  Who fired whom and over what?

But here’s the question that will produce repeat usage for artists and songwriters in the future, particularly in California (where Google loves to sue):  Does the typical Google DMCA safe harbor shakedown work against right of publicity, unfair competition and implied endorsement claims?

My hunch?  It doesn’t.  Google definitely did not want anyone making any law about that.  And that’s why I noted in a 2006 post on these pages that the DMCA is Google’s Maginot Line.  They’ve put all their eggs in the DMCA basket.

And they’re going to WATCH that basket.


Goldieblox published an “apology” on their company website.  Was it above the fold?  No.


Was it on the second page?  Nope.


How about page 3?


No–after you scroll through all of the Goldieblox products, then you see a proper post labeled “APOLOGY TO BEASTIE BOYS” or something like that so you’d know what it was.

No, no, no, no, no, children.  This is GOLDIEBLOX we are discussing, this is DARALYN DURIE, this is SILICON VALLEY where money means only having to say you’re sorry.

Page 4 looks like this here:


That block of text there with no heading, no identifier, no reference point, buried 4 pages down–THAT’s the apology.


And in case you can’t read it, here’s what it says in case you ever wondered what the gnashing of teeth LOOKS like:

We sincerely apologize for any negative impact our actions may 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.
And this, you see, is the final screw you to the Beastie Boys because that very last sentence is the killer:
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.
For those of you reading along, the very worst thing that any Silicon Valley company can do is acknowledge that asking permission is even a concept that touches them.  Remember how the little EFFers and CCIA tykes went absolutely batty when David Lowery said that asking permission and doing unto others are the foundations of civilization?  While they may not be in the form of the Ten Commandments or the Gospel According to Luke, I would bet that you will find these concepts in the core belief systems of every race and creed on Earth.  (The Golden Rule?  Maybe they heard of it.)
But note they say “we advise any other young company to do the same.”  Because when you grow up to be big and strong like Daralyn Durie’s client Google, you can jack anybody around who you choose, starting with authors and artists.
Bad people, bad, bad, bad human beings.

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