A jury ruled in favor of the Beastie Boys deciding that Monster Beverage Corporation committed Copyright Infringement by using Beastie Boys music without a license in an online video. The music group was seeking $2.5 million from the suit, but settled for $1.7 million.
Copyright Infringement is defined as the use of work protected by copyright law without permission. This infringes on exclusive rights the copyright holder has been granted. The copyright holder has the right to reproduce, distribute, display, and perform their protected work.
In 2012, Monster Beverage Corporation used four different songs, “Sabotage,” “So What’cha Want,” “Make Some Noise,” and “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” in a YouTube video for the company’s energy drinks without permission or any proper licensing.
Surviving group members, Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz testified during the trial, honoring their passed member, Yauch’s wishes. Yauch left specific instructions indicating that the group’s songs never be used in any form of advertising or commercial purpose. He asked his group members to fight against any violations. The Monster Beverage Corporation’s YouTube video ended with a tribute to MCA, Adam Yauch, the band member who tragically lost his battle to cancer.
During the trial, Monster Beverage Corporation asked the jury to give the band no more than $125,000 based on common sense, but the jury decided on $1.7 million. Monster Beverage Corporation also claimed that the music was used because an employee thought the company had the necessary permission.
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