6 June 2014Copyright

Beastie Boys awarded $1.7m in Monster trial

US hip-hop band Beastie Boys has been awarded $1.7 million following a copyright lawsuit against energy drinks company Monster.

California-based Monster Energy Co admitted using Beastie Boys songs in a promotional video but argued over the amount of money it should be forced to pay.

The jury at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York awarded $120,000 for each violation of copyright despite Beastie Boys’ initial demand of $2 million.

“We’re happy,” band member Adam Horovitz reportedly said outside the Manhattan-based court.

The case centred on an online advertising campaign by Monster showing a review of a Canadian snowboarding competition called “Ruckus in the Rockies”, which the company sponsors.

The soundtrack to the video was a remix of Beastie Boys songs, including the tracks Sabotage and Pass the Mic.

Monster acknowledged it had infringed copyright but thought it had permission to use the music.

In a statement released prior to the trial Monster said it thought it had obtained “in good faith” the rights to use a compilation of certain Beastie Boys music.

“When Monster was notified by the Beastie Boys that the company was mistaken in its belief that it had the proper authorisation, Monster immediately removed the video from the internet,” it said.

“In Monster’s view the Beastie Boys are demanding sums that are far beyond any reasonable fair market value.”

Monster did not respond to immediately to a request for comment but, according to the BBC, is planning to appeal against the ruling.

It is not the first time Beastie Boys have taken issue with a company using its music without permission.

Last year, it accused California-based toy company GoldieBlox of ripping off one of its songs in an online advert.

During that dispute, which ended in a settlement, the band referred to the late band member Adam Yauch, who had requested in his will that the band’s music not be used in advertising.

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More on this story

9 December 2014   Drinks producer Monster Energy has failed to overturn a court ruling that said it infringed copyright belonging to hip hop band Beastie Boys.
17 June 2015   Former hip hop band Beastie Boys has been awarded almost $700,000 in legal fees in its copyright dispute with drinks company Monster Energy, though the sum is less than the $2.3 million the band had originally requested.