28 May 2014Copyright

Beastie Boys and Monster begin trial over alleged copyright infringement

Rap group Beastie Boys and energy drink company Monster begun their trial yesterday, May 27, over Monster’s alleged copyright infringement.

The case centres on a promotional video posted online in 2012 in an advertising campaign by Monster. The video was a review of the Canadian snowboarding competition called “Ruckus in the Rockies”, which Monster sponsors every year.

Beastie Boys have claimed the video violated their copyright on nine counts.

They are seeking damages for “unauthorised reproduction” as well as an implied endorsement of the energy drink company.

The soundtrack to the video was a remix of Beastie Boys songs produced by the musician Z-Trip and included well-known tracks such as “Sabotage”, “Pass the Mic” and “Make Some Noise”.

Monster claimed that it entered into a licensing agreement with Z-Trip, but that claim was rebuffed by the musician, who stated he did not have the authority to do so. He added that his correspondence with Nelson Phillips, director of marketing at Monster, did not constitute an authorisation to use the copyrighted material.

The video was online for five weeks before a request from the rap group to take it was complied with by Monster. The company later put the video back up online with music from rap group Swollen Members instead.

The trial at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York is expected to last five days.

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