Here's the Apology to the Beastie Boys That GoldieBlox Buried
You may have seen yesterday that the lawsuit between Beastie Boys and upstart toymaker GoldieBlox over the unauthorized use of the Beasties song "Girls" in a GoldieBlox commercial has been settled. As a GoldieBlox spokesperson told Rolling Stone, "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." (We wrote about the case in November.)
Late yesterday GoldieBlox posted the apology on its website -- but seems to have done so rather begrudgingly. For one thing, you have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the homepage -- below even the Frequently Asked Questions, Contact Us, Store Finder and Site Map links. The block of tiny type has no headline or other label, and, pointedly, it's not actually text -- it's an image of text that's embedded on the page. That means its contents are generally invisible to web spiders, such as those used by Google to index the contents of websites for search purposes.
When embedding an image, a webmaster has the option to include so-called "alternative text," via HTML tags, to restate or summarize the content of that image. This helps not just web-crawling bots but the visually impaired who may use assistive technologies that read web text aloud. But GoldieBlox hasn't included alt text for the image, and the name of the image is the inscrutable "announcement.png."
So here, for the record, is the content of that image, in actual text, which I begrudgingly retyped myself since I couldn't copy and paste it:
"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."
I exchanged email with a spokeswoman for GoldieBlox, pointing out that the apology seemed kind of buried, and asking if the image of the apology text, as posted on the GoldieBlox.com homepage, was the only place the apology would appear.
She wrote back, "Hi Simon - We cannot discuss the settlement further than the statement provided below. Thank you!" The statement she provided was identical to what was provided to Rolling Stone.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.