GoldieBlox, a toy company, wrote a parody of the song "Girls" by the Beastie Boys to use in this ad.
Technically, you don't need permission from a band/artist to do a parody of their song, but the Beasties argued there's a gray area, because it was being used in advertising. Besides that, the members have made it clear time and time again that they never want any of their music used in ads. It was even highlighted in MCA's will.
The band wrote an open letter to the company asking them why they used the song without permission, and also to commend them for the message of empowering girls. GoldieBlox sued the Beastie Boys, but finally changed the ad to not include the song.
The founder of GoldieBlox said:
"Dear Adam and Mike,
We don’t want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans.
When we made our parody version of your song, ‘Girls’, we did it with the best of intentions. We wanted to take a song we weren’t too proud of, and transform it into a powerful anthem for girls. Over the past week, parents have sent us pictures and videos of their kids singing the new lyrics with pride, building their own Rube Goldberg machines in their living rooms and declaring an interest in engineering. It’s been incredible to watch.
Our hearts sank last week when your lawyers called us with threats that we took very seriously. As a small company, we had no choice but to stand up for ourselves. We did so sincerely hoping we could come to a peaceful settlement with you.
We want you to know that when we posted the video, we were completely unaware that the late, great Adam Yauch had requested in his will that the Beastie Boys songs never be used in advertising. Although we believe our parody video falls under fair use, we would like to respect his wishes and yours.
Since actions speak louder than words, we have already removed the song from our video. In addition, we are ready to stop the lawsuit as long as this means we will no longer be under threat from your legal team."
Here's the new ad: