Beasties Boys 'happy' after £1m copyright case win against Monster Energy
The hip hop group fought for their rights, not to party, but to damages
The Beastie Boys have fought for their rights, not to party, but to damages from an energy drinks manufacturer that used their songs without permission or payment.
The Eighties hip-hop group were awarded $1.7m (£1m) in a copyright infringement case against Monster Energy, which admitted making
unauthorised use of their music in a video that appeared online for five weeks.
Adam “ad-Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond, the two surviving members of the rap trio, testified at the eight-day trial in New York after the defendants insisted that no more than $125,000 should be owed.
The pair said they would never agree to their songs being used in commercial advertising and are protective of revenue from their music.
Since the third member, Adam “MCA” Yauch, died in May 2012, they cannot tour or make recordings, Horovitz said. Plus, Yauch left instructions in his will ordering: “In no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes.”
Jurors decided that $120,000 should be awarded to the Beastie Boys for each of 10 copyright violations. Monster was ordered to pay another $500,000 for using the group's persona without permission, wrongly suggesting that they endorsed the drinks products.
The band had sought up to $2.5m for copyright infringement and false endorsement. Monster called the case “illogical”, saying that an employee mistakenly believed the firm had permission to use the music.
After the verdict was read, Horovitz hugged his wife, the musician Kathleen Hanna, and then, speaking outside the Manhattan courtroom, said he and Diamond were “happy” with the verdict. “We just want to thank the jury,” he added.
Reid Kahn, a lawyer for Monster, said the company would appeal the ruling.
Filed in August 2012, the lawsuit concerned an online video promoting an annual snowboarding competition the company organises and sponsors in Canada called “Ruckus in the Rockies”.
The video, which Monster uploaded to YouTube, featured the competition and an after-party attended by DJs, including Z-Trip. It included a remix by Z-Trip of Beastie Boys songs, including “Sabotage”, “So Watcha Want” and “Make Some Noise”.
The four-minute video concluded with a sentence saying “RIP MCA.”
The Beasties Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 after scoring four number one albums and shifting more than 40 million records worldwide
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