News

Beastie Boys beat Monster to the tune of $1.7M

Beastie Boys beat Monster to the tune of $1.7M

THE BOYS: Beastie Boys member Adam Horovitz, a.k.a. "Ad-Rock,", exits the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Lower Manhattan with his wife punk singer Kathleen Hanna, May 27. Photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Beastie Boys’ fight for their right to not let Monster Beverage Corp use the hip-hop group’s music without their permission resulted in a verdict of $1.7 million on Thursday.

A federal jury in Manhattan issued the verdict on the eighth day of trial in a copyright dispute between members of the Brooklyn-born band and the energy drink maker over songs the band says Monster used without a license in a 2012 promotional video.

The Beastie Boys had sought up to $2.5 million for copyright infringement and false endorsement.

Monster countered that it owed no more than $125,000, calling the case “illogical” and saying an employee had mistakenly believed the company had permission to use the music.

Beastie Boys members Adam Horovitz, or “Ad-Rock,” and Michael Diamond, or “Mike D,” attended much of the trial and both testified. After the verdict was read, Horovitz hugged his wife, musician Kathleen Hanna.

“We’re happy,” Horovitz said after the hearing. “We just want to thank the jury.”

Reid Kahn, a lawyer for Monster, said the company would appeal.

Filed in August 2012, the lawsuit centered on an online video promoting an annual snowboarding competition the company organizes 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.” Adam Yauch, a Beastie Boys member who went by “MCA,” died a day before the snowboarding event, after a battle with cancer.

The Beastie Boys complained to Monster in June 2012 and subsequently sued, saying the Corona, California-based company did not have permission to use its music.

“It stole the Beastie Boys’ right to say no,” Paul Garrity, a lawyer for the band, told jurors at the start of the trial.

Monster acknowledged it had infringed the Beastie Boys’ copyrights, but contended it was not done willfully.

“The plaintiffs try to take the undisputed evidence and spin some tale of an insidious corporate conspiracy,” Kahn, Monster’s lawyer, told jurors Wednesday during closing arguments.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York and Bernard Vaughan in New York; Editing by Gunna Dickson)

Recent Headlines

1 hour ago in Election 2016, National

Christie expected to end 2016 White House bid

Fresh
Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie embraces his son Patrick during a primary night rally in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. At left is Christie's older son Andrew and wife Mary Pat at right. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Christie had banked his presidential prospects on a strong finish in New Hampshire, but finished behind most Republican rivals.

2 hours ago in National

Yellen: Fed not likely to reverse course on rates despite risks

Fresh
U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies at the House Financial Services Committee in Washington February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Chances are slim the Federal Reserve would need to reverse the rate tightening cycle it began in December.

2 hours ago in Lifestyle, National

Twitter to change homepage to customize tweet displays to individuals

Updated
A 3D printed Twitter logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration picture made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

By Yasmeen Abutaleb (Reuters) – Twitter Inc made a dramatic product change on Wednesday, saying it will recast the way…

6 hours ago in National

Senate to vote on hitting North Korea with tougher sanctions

northkorea

The Senate is considering legislation to hit North Korea with more stringent sanctions.

6 hours ago in Entertainment, National

Shkreli is sued over his $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album

Updated
Pharmaceutical chief Martin Shkreli listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, during the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on his former company's decision to raise the price of a lifesaving medicine. Shkreli refused to testify before U.S. lawmakers who excoriated him over severe hikes for a drug sold by a company that he acquired. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Shkreli has bragged that he had no plans to listen to the album, but bought it to "keep it from the people."