There has been a lot of discussion in the media recently regarding the unauthorized use of another’s art. From accusations that the Lensa app used artists’ works without permission to Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene using Dr. Dre‘s music in a political video, patent and copyright law is shaping up to be a major issue in 2023. Now, the Black Eyed Peas have entered the fight with a lawsuit against toymaker MGA Entertainment, the makers of the Poopsie Slime Surprise toy, used the group’s 2006 hit “My Humps” without permission.
The lawsuit was filed by the group’s label, BMG, in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Amongst other things, it alleges that MGA Entertainment displayed “willful copyright infringement” and “exploited, without authorization” the group’s art as part of its promotional campaign for its “Poopsie Slime Surprise” product line, which featured “a unicorn doll that excretes sparkling slime.” BMG is seeking $10 million in damages, as well as requiring that MGA destroy all copies of “My Poops.”
A YouTube video shows animated unicorns dancing to digitally-altered lyrics where they showcase the toy’s “pooping” features.
Legal experts state that MGA’s primary defense will be that the song was used as a parody, since using art for the purpose of parody is protected by free speech law. However, there are legal limits when it comes to whether or not MGA exploited the song to make a profit.
“My Humps” was a major hit for the group in 2006 and continues to remain popular today, accruing over 700 million views on YouTube. The video also won Best Hip Hop Video at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. The original video is shown below.