The Beastie Boys, a 1980s Jewish American hip hop band from New York City, with Michael “Mike D” Diamond (vocals, drums), Adam “MCA” Yauch (vocals, bass) and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz (vocals, guitar), have won an important court ruling which upheld a $1.7 million jury verdict over a copyright infringement.
Manhattan US District Judge Paul Engelmayer ruled that a verdict in favor of the surviving Beastie Boys, Adam Horovitz, Mike Diamond and Adam Yauch, from last June would stand.
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The suit was brought by the band against Monster Beverage Corporation for using their “The Beastie Boys All-Access Megamix” by DJ Z-Trip in a four-minute snowboarding competition video without their permission. They claimed an unauthorized use of their music in a YouTube promo video published by the company and at the time sought $2.5 million in damages. Band members could clearly be seen in the video. Monster did not dispute the copyright infringement claim, only the sum sought in damages. The company argued that the amount sought was “illogical”, declaring the maximum it could be liable for was $125, 000.
Its appeal was not based on the facts of the case, merely on the amount of money that the jury had awarded the band.
In his 69 page ruling Judge Engelmayer wrote, “The Beastie Boys are featured as prominently in the video as Monster — where Monster is dominantly featured pictorially, the Beastie Boys are dominantly featured aurally. The Beastie Boys’ music fills almost all of the video.”
“Z-Trip did not have the right to sell or license the remix, or to authorize third- parties to use it. Nor did he obtain any rights to the underlying Beastie Boys songs.” It adds, “However, Z-Trip did not have the right to sell or license the remix, or to authorize third- parties to use it. Nor did he obtain any rights to the underlying Beastie Boys songs.”
Monster intends to appeal yet again.