Beastie Boys Win $1.7M in Lawsuit Against Monster Energy Drink
The Beastie Boys have repeatedly proven themselves to be masters of litigation and Monster Energy Drink is learning the hard way after a judge has ruled them to be nearly $2 million poorer.
A 2012 commercial featured five Beastie Boys songs–“Sabotage,” “Pass the Mic,” “Make Some Noise,” “So What’cha Want” and “Looking Down the Barrel Of a Gun”–without the consent of the group. Following the death of founding member Adam “MCA” Yauch in 2012, the group honored his wishes of never allowing their music to be licensed for promotional use, an infringement Monster owned up to.
The suit, brewing for two years before the trial began last Tuesday in New York Federal Court, centered around Monster Energy’s use of a Beastie Boys “megamix,” put together by DJ Z-Trip, who gave Monster Energy representative Nelson Phillips the OK to use to use his mix for the soundtrack of a four-minute-long recap video of a snowboarding competition sponsored by the company.
Additionally, the second-to-last shot of the video featured the words “RIP MCA” with a design reminiscent of Monster Energy’s green logo, which the Beastie Boys argued implied the band’s endorsement.
Since Monster Energy had admitted its fault in infringing on the Beasties’ work from the outset of the trial, at issue was the amount the company would pay the band for doing so. Diamond and Horovitz were seeking $1 million for the infringement of their song licenses and another $1 million for the implied endorsement. Throughout the week, Monster Energy brought forth witnesses to bolster their contention that $125,000 was a more equitable rate for their copyright toe-stepping.
The jurors in the case disagreed.
The Beastie Boys recently collected another payday, courtesy of toymaker Goldieblox after their song “Girls” was infringed upon in March of this year.