Beastie Boys fight for rights to songs in trial vs. Monster

Tue May 27, 2014 7:15pm EDT
 
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Beastie Boys hip-hop group turned to the courts on Tuesday to fight for their right to not let energy drink maker Monster Beverage Corp use their songs.

A jury in Manhattan federal court heard opening statements in the case stemming from the popular Brooklyn-born band's attempts to hold Monster to account for unauthorized use of its music in a 2012 promotional video.

Paul Garrity, a lawyer for the Beastie Boys, said the Beastie Boys had made a choice years ago to not license their music to promote commercial products like the caffeine-filled drink sold by Monster, which was required to seek a license.

"It stole the Beastie Boys' right to say no," Garrity said.

With members of the band in attendance, Garrity urged the four men and four women on the jury to award at least $2 million for copyright infringement and for false endorsement.

Reid Kahn, a lawyer for Monster, called that sum "illogical" and said the company should pay at most $125,000. He acknowledged Monster infringed the copyrights, but only because an employee thought the company had permission for the music.

"In this case, it turns out to have been a mistake," he said.

Filed in August 2012, the lawsuit centered on a video produced for an annual snowboarding competition Monster organizes and sponsors in Canada called the "Ruckus in the Rockies."   Continued...

 
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, 2014.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid