Universal Music sues Monster over Beastie Boys music

Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:38pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Two Universal Music Group units sued Monster Beverage Corp on Wednesday for using music co-owned by the Beastie Boys in a promotional video, accusing the energy drink maker of copyright infringement.

The lawsuit, filed in New York federal court, comes three months after the Beastie Boys obtained a $1.7 million verdict against Monster over copyrights for the same music.

The latest lawsuit, filed by Capitol Records and Universal-Polygram International Publishing, seeks at least $1.2 million for the infringement of five Beastie Boys recordings and compositions.

Both lawsuits centered on an online video promoting an annual snowboarding competition that Monster organizes and sponsors in Canada called "Ruckus in the Rockies."

The video, which Monster had 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.

It also concluded with a sentence saying "RIP MCA." Adam Yauch, a Beastie Boys member who went by "MCA," died a day before the May 2012 snowboarding event, after a battle with cancer.

A federal jury in June awarded the Beastie Boys $1.7 million for copyright infringement and false endorsement. Monster has said it would appeal, and is seeking a new trial.

Songs at issue in both cases include Beastie Boys tunes such as "Sabotage," "So Watcha Want" and "Make Some Noise."

Representatives for Monster and the Beastie Boys had no immediate comment. A spokesman for Universal Music, a subsidiary of Vivendi SA, declined comment.

The case is Capitol Records LLC v. Monster Energy Company, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-cv-7718. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Richard Chang)