Entertainment News

  • 6 June 2014, 9:17

Beastie Boys Win Energy Drink Copyright Fight

The Beastie Boys have won £1.7m (£1m) in a copyright violation case against the makers of an energy drink.

Monster Energy Co had admitted wrongly using Beastie Boys songs in a video that was online for five weeks.

During the case, which was heard in New York, the two surviving members of the band testified about their opposition to the use of their music in commercials.

The beverage maker had insisted it should owe no more than $125,000 (£74,000). The Beastie Boys had sought $2m (£1.1m).

RappeRapper Adam "ad-Rock" Horovitz clasped his wife's hand tightly as the judge read aloud a verdict in which jurors found Monster had committed willful copyright infringement involving five songs: Sabotage, So Watcha Want, 'Make Some Noise, Pass the Mic and Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun.

Jurors chose to award $120,000 (£71,000) for each of 10 violations of copyright.

The jury also awarded an additional $500,000 (£297,000) after finding that Monster used the bands' persona without permission, suggesting a false endorsement of Monster's products.

"We're happy," Horovitz said outside the Manhattan courtroom after the federal court jury returned its verdict.

Lawyers for Monster said the company would appeal.

The eight-day trial featured testimony from Horovitz and bandmate Michael "Mike D" Diamond, who both attended the trial most days.

Another member of the band, Adam 'MCA' Yauch, died in May 2012, aged 47, after battling cancer for nearly three years.

Horovitz had testified that the legendary hip-hop group would never license songs to endorse commercial products.

Diamond testified that the band is protective of and dependent for revenue on its existing catalogue of music since Yauch died.

"We cannot tour. We cannot make recordings," he said.

The Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. They have turned out four number 1 albums and sold more than 40 million records as they helped bring hip-hop to the mainstream over the last three decades.

In 1986 they topped the charts with their debut, Licensed to Ill, which included the anthem (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!).

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