Beastie Boys Awarded $1.7 Million in Monster Energy Case
Published Jun 05, 2014The Beastie Boys' two-year battle with Monster Energy over copyright infringement issues has come to a close, with a judge awarding the hip-hop group $1.7 million in damages.
Reuters reports that the eight-day trial concluded earlier today (June 5) in New York Federal Court. The suit had been filed by members Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, Michael "Mike D" Diamond and the estate of the late Adam "MCA" Yauch back in 2012, with the group taking issue over the beverage company's use of several songs in an online promotional video for its Ruckus in the Rockies event.
Tracks used in the clip included "Sabotage," "So What'cha Want" and "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun," and concluded with the message "RIP MCA." MCA had died of cancer the day before the video was posted online.
Beastie Boys had taken issue with Monster Energy, with Horovitz noting in court that "We [the Beastie Boys] don't license our songs for products."
The decision to not use their music had been cemented following Yauch's death in 2012, with the rapper's will stipulating, "in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes."
Cross-examination with the group had the defence team questioning Diamond's participation in a promotion for Nixon Watches, as well as the band's music having been used in snowboarding videos. Horovitz defended this by saying the owner of the related companies was a friend, that profits went to charities and that "We like sports… We come from a community of snowboarders, skateboarders, extreme sports world, so we're enthusiasts of that."
The group also revealed in court that they had halted the use of their 1994 single "Sabotage" in the recent Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same name, despite being offered "a lot of money."
In its defence, Monster Energy said the use of the Beastie Boys' music was a mistake. Apparently, DJ Z-Trip had been planning on spinning the group's music at a Ruckus after party, which led the company to believe it had permission to use Beasties tunes in the promo video. The clip had been seen roughly 14,000 times and was online for five weeks before being pulled down.
"We're happy," Horovitz said after the hearing. "We just want to thank the jury."
While the judge awarded $1.7 million in damages, the group had been seeking as much as $2.5 million in the case. Monster Energy has said they will appeal the decision.