Beastie Boys Win $1.7 Million In Copyright Lawsuit Against Monster Energy

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Beastie Boys have won a $1.7 million verdict in their copyright lawsuit against Monster Beverage over the company’s use of the group’s music in a promotional video, according to Reuters.

The group sought up to $2.5 million for copyright infringement and false endorsement, though Monster countered that the maximum amount it owed was $125,000. The company called the case “illogical,” admitting that it had infringed the group’s copyrights, but stating that an employee inadvertently believed Monster had permission to use the music.

“Although Monster Energy has great respect for the verdict of the jury, we strongly disagree with it,” Reid Kahn, attorney for Monster, tells Rolling Stone. “We will make an application to the Court to set aside the verdict and we intend to file an appeal. From the inception, Monster Energy has been willing to resolve this matter in a fair and equitable manner and we will continue to make additional efforts to reach a just resolution of this dispute.”

Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz made a brief statement, noting, “We’re happy. We just want to thank the jury.”

When Ad-Rock took the stand, he traced the Beasties’ career, saying the trio were “very lucky” and explaining their lengthy artistic process. Billboard notes that the proceedings were filled with awkward smiles and explanations of terms (like “dope”) used in hip-hop culture; but Ad-Rock was reportedly quite amused when the defense asked him to identify Mike D (dressed as a sailor) in several images used in a watch ad.

The group initiated the lawsuit in 2012 following the death of Adam “MCA” Yauch. The suit, filed by Mike Diamond, Adam Horovitz and Yauch’s widow Denchen, claimed that Monster included parts of “Sabotage,” “So What’cha Want,” Make Some Noise” and “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” in a promotional video posted on Monster’s website, along with a 23-minute medley of Beastie Boys songs made available for download as an MP3. The songs were taken from footage of a live set by DJ Z-Trip at the Monster-sponsored Canadian festival Ruckus in the Rockies, held a few days after Yauch died in May. Yauch’s will specifically prohibits any company from using the group’s music for advertisements.

Because of Monster’s unauthorized use of the Beastie Boys’ music, the complaint said, “The public was confused into believing that plaintiffs sponsored, endorsed and are associated with defendant Monster in promoting defendant Monster’s productions and promotional events.” The band claimed that Monster’s use of its music will cause “irreparable damage” and sought the removal of the video and MP3 from Monster’s website.

Source: Rolling Stone


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