Copyright Infringement Universe Collapses In On Itself As Beastie Boys Sue Monster Energy Drink

So here’s a copyright infringement lawsuit involving the makers of Monster Energy Drink in which they are the ones being sued and not the ones claiming ownership of an incredibly common word. Instead, the beverage company is the target of a lawsuit brought by the Beastie Boys, who claim Monster cobbled together dozens of their tunes to create promotional videos.

According to the suit, filed yesterday in a U.S. District Court in Manhattan:

[Monster], without plaintiffs’ consent, synchronized and recorded certain of the Beastie Boys Musical Compositions and Beastie Boys Sound Recordings together with visual and other material in the creation ofpromotional videos for defendant Monster’s products, including a promotional video for Monster’s promotional event “Ruckus in the Rockies 2012” (the “Video”). The soundtrack of the Video is comprised substantially of excerpts from the Beastie Boys Sound Recordings and the Beastie Boys Musical Compositions totaling more than three minutes in duration.

On information and belief, defendant Monster has used the Video and similar promotional videos to create an association with the Beastie Boys and the Beastie Boys Musical Compositions and Beastie Boys Sound Recordings and defendant Monster’s products, promotional events, and marketing, including on Monster’s website and in various social media websites such as Facebook.

If the video weren’t bad enough, the complaint alleges that in May of this year, “Monster caused a link to a downloadable audio recording (the “MP3″) embodying a 23-minute medley of excerpts from the Beastie Boys Sound Recordings, the Beastie Boys Musical Compositions and the sound recordings and musical compositions comprising the additional Beastie Boys MP3 Copyrights to be posted on various websites [including Monster’s website and YouTube] in conjunction with the Video, together with an offer that the MP3 was available for free download.”

And it doesn’t help Monster’s case that the text accompanying the “Beastie Boys mega mix” reads, “With tracks from the Beastie Boys putting you in the vibe and a sponsorship from Monster Energy, this edit will make you want to ride and party like no other.”

The Boys are seeking an injunction against Monster’s use of the group’s songs, as well as “a trebling
of defendant Monster’s profits and actual damages sustained by plaintiffs, prejudgment interest, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.”

Speaking of copyright infringement, an urban legend surrounds the Beastie Boys’ seminal 1989 album Paul’s Boutique, claiming that the group swiped all or most of the more than samples used on the album. The Boys have denied these rumors, saying that they did pay for the use of the samples — just not very much, as it was still a somewhat new way of producing an album at the time.

You can read the PDF of the lawsuit HERE.

The lawsuit comes as news outlets report that the last will and testament of Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch, who passed away in May, clearly states that the music he wrote and his image could not be used in any sort of advertising.

Huge thanks to Keith for the tip!

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