Beastie Boys Win $1.7 million Copyright Lawsuit


Today, after over 2 years of legal haranguing, a US court decided in favour of the Beastie Boys, ruling that energy drink Monster had illegally used the hip hop pioneers' music in an online promo vid. Over the last couple of years the court case has veered from the noble to the weird – one moment detailing how the late Adam 'MCA' Yauch's will expressly forbade his music to be used in any advert, the next holding a furrow browed debate on the meaning of the word dope -surely they could have just checked the urban dictionary?

Eventually the judge ruled against Monster, deciding that their posting of a video featuring DJ Z-Trip playing a bunch of Beastie's tracks live at a Monster sponsered event was in clear breach of copyright. The exact meaning of 'dope' became a crucial point in the trial – a Monster employee had sent Z Trip the video before posting, to which the DJ had replied 'dope' – he later insisted that this did not mean he was giving his go ahead to post the video, merely that he liked the footage he'd seen. The mistake has cost the company $1.7 million, although inevitably they're appealing what they call an 'illogical' verdict.

As one of the few bands who still refuse to allow their music to be used in advertising, this is a vital win for the Beastie's, and an interesting precedent for an industry that increasingly sponsers events as a form of 'soft' advertising. Feel free to insert a dodgy 'fight for your right to party pun' at this point…